Meg Berry is a singer-songwriter, producer who has been nominated for 2 New Music Awards – AC Female Artist of the Year and AC Breakthrough Artist of the Year. Praised everywhere from Billboard Magazine to Refinery 29, Meg’s song “Colored Balloons” spent 3 weeks at #1 on Top 40 radio in the summer of 2021 and her “The Thanksgiving Song” spent two weeks at #1 on the Holiday Radio Charts that fall to mark a triumphant conclusion to her first year on radio. Meg’s radio ride began when her “Happy Holiday Song” debuted in November 2020 at #3 on the Holiday radio charts
Published on 03/21/2022
Live, Meg Berry made her solo artist debut at the CBGB’s Music Festival headlining the reopening of the infamous Bar 13 in Union Square to a packed house. Meg lives and records for her record label Farm to Table Sounds in a big ole barn in South Orange, NJ with her family. Meg has written an alt country body of work in her signature Gotham Country style that tells the very personal story of the man who goes to war and brings the war home.
Today we are lucky, Meg took a moment out of her busy schedule this month to chat with Colin and Anna from MX-Fusion:
(mXf//Colin) Cool, OK, so I’ll just jump right in. I wanted to start out with just to say congrats! You’re getting a lot of recent popularity. And that’s awesome to see like Spotify, those numbers are going up. The “Happy holiday Song“, of course, was great timing for holiday season last year. And then even I just stumbled on it over the weekend your single “Built To Lose“. And that one I really liked! It’s my new favorite. I like “Colored Balloons“ too, but yeah. So wanted to say congrats there. And I was curious, like, on the music side; the music is also very genuine. I like the acoustic, the piano. Do you play some of those instruments yourself or do you have bands or people that play with you?
(Meg) Yeah, I write on piano. And thank you so much. I love that you love “Built To Lose“, it got a little steamrolled by the Thanksgiving song with the timing of everything coming out. It was sandwiched between colored balloons, which went to number one on top 40 radio, and it was the follow up single. And then the colored balloons stayed on radio for 33 weeks. And so I think “Built To Lose“ was only out for six or so weeks before “The Thanksgiving Song“ came out. And yeah, it just got pummeled by by “The Thanksgiving Song“ and a “Happy Holiday Song“. So it it makes my heart smile to know that you discovered that song. And there are a lot of people who love that song because they they went through something similar themselves that that song is a true story that I wrote about a friend for a friend to help them get over that situation. But yeah, so I write on piano, and I can play guitar. But I know so many amazing musicians that, you know, I’ve done a fair number of gigs in New York City where it’s just me and a piano. But I really don’t do that anymore. Because I like to focus on performing for the audience, because I really, it’s not about me, it’s about the people there that I’m there to connect with. And so I like to focus my whole self on performing and connecting with the audience, and bring in great musicians like Matt Beck, who plays in Matchbox 20 and who’s the lead guitarist on “Built To Lose“. And Lee Nadel, who’s played with, gosh, Regina Spektor and some just great artists. And he’s the bassist, and they love playing with me! So yeah, that’s all many hands make light work I guess.
(mXf//Colin) There you go. Awesome! And it’s really nice; it gives us, you know, it’s real music. It’s not like synthesized or whatever, that’s awesome.
(Meg) And isn’t that amazing that we even talk about that, you know that there are so many different flavors of music, that the fact that it’s real music that’s actually played by humans? That’s not auto-tuned. You know, it makes me very unique in many of the circles that I’m swimming into right now. They’re like “Oh, you actually play?“ It’s like, yeah. They’re like “Is that your voice?“ I’m like, yeah.
(mXf//Colin) Yeah the auto-tune is a big controversy too, so that’s interesting you bring it up. And I like that you have, you know, you’re using more your genuine voice. I think that’s really great. Something I really admire.
(Meg) Thank you
(mXf//Colin) And so your background is also really interesting. I like that you mentioned, I didn’t know until just now, “Built To Lose“ being based upon a true story.
And it seems like a lot of your music. I’m reading between the lines a bit, getting to know you from a little bit of research we did, that a lot of your music comes from real world experiences, even going back to your younger days? Is that true?
(Meg) One thousand percent! I like to say I write music like I exhale. You know, I’ve never tried to write a song in my entire life. And if, and there are certain kinds of songwriters who can deliberately write a song and I admire them, I could never do their job. Because I, I don’t think, I’m not sure I could try to write a song for me the songs just happened. So “The Thanksgiving Song“, I was dancing around the kitchen, sipping vanilla rum, listening to Patsy Cline, making sweet potato pie getting ready for Thanksgiving. And, you know, like the true story “Built To Lose“, I took care of my friend’s autistic son, and their partner, Pat while their partner passed away, and kind of really was very close to my friend during that period of mourning and loss and pulling yourself up by the bootstraps and going, okay, maybe I’ll try dating again. And the person they went out on there, they were very excited to date this person that they had actually known for a long time. Both parties had been married to other people, and this was their very first date. And the person did pass out. You know, like, everything that I write about in that song literally happened. And so it was just my, it was my sonic hug. You know, it was my way of sonically wrapping my arms around my friend and saying, you know, can we add a rhythm and a melody to this and, you know, move it through our, our system, because it’s just a moment, it’s just a song, it’s just a date. And just like the next song comes on the record, the next date will be different, you know, and it was just my kind of desperate attempt to make my friend better. So yes every single, you know, “Colored Balloons“ I was literally waking up on a couch the morning after a party watching the balloons that had been filled with helium, slowly descend and slowly sway and move towards the ground, and I’m lying there in bed going, coming down colored balloons. Right? By the time brunch was done, that song was finished. And there was actually a wonderful, wonderful hip hop producer who I will not name. I like to protect people’s identities. And he spent three years barking at me that that song, you know, benevolently he loved that song. There are a number of people in the hip hop community that love that song. And it’s been mixed into DJ sets live around the world by some pretty huge DJs. And he’s spent years telling me if I just added a third verse, there would be a hit. And I’m like, dude, not gonna happen. He’s like, just add a third verse. It’s gonna be a hit. I’m like, no, he’s like, why? I’m like, because it’s a complete thought. And he’s like, yeah, but it leaves you wanting more. And this is like, you know, before Lil Nas X pulled out “Old Town Road“, right? That leaves you wanting more, right? And I’m just like, yeah; but that’s the point. The point of the song is that it’s about this. You know, the day after the contemplating the longing right at last night’s party. The strings caught my hair, you know, and you wake up the next morning thinking about that moment. You know where you caught eyes with someone across a crowded room. And what does that mean, right? I was like that’s the point. So when the song went to number one I texted, I’m like so what was it? Number one? Not a third verse. Yeah. So there are moments in there, actual moments, but instead of capturing them in a photograph, I captured them in a sonic photograph. Yeah, go ahead and steal that one.
(mXf//Anna) Yes. I wanted to dig deeper when it comes to your background, as I was preparing myself for this interview I read that you often moved as a child, and as a young adult. And I wanted to ask how this actually shaped you as a person. And as an artist, and how this influenced you? Right now?
(Meg) That’s a wonderful question. And I thank you for asking that. And I’m impressed that you guys found so much information on me. The new website is coming out in a few days. And it’ll make it look like you’ve all you guys did was went to went to my new website, but I know the truth. I know how hard it was to find references like that, pre the new website. Yeah, I went to 13 schools in 14 years. And actually, if you count college, I think I went to 15 or 16 schools and, you know, 16 years or something. And I was bouncing between being in the Northeast of the United States, in a household run by a single working mother, which was extraordinarily taboo. It was very, you know, we like to think in America that, you know, we live in this post prejudice era. But you know, waves of prejudice are deep and profound and vicious. And, you know, I do see forward progress. But life as a single mother was, I could tell you stories for hours about the stupid ways that we were prejudiced against just because my mother was not married. So I bounced between her and my dad, whose second wife was Thai, and she had four Thai daughters. So I had four Thai stepsisters, and we were living in Asia and Africa, and also in Greece. And so we spoke Thai at home and I was raised Buddhist. So it was kind of like multiculturalism, within multiculturalism, within multiculturalism. You know, like, any way you sliced it. I was always in the minority in the United States, I was living in a predominantly Jewish area with a single mom. And that was extraordinarily taboo and shocking to be the product of a single parent and abroad. You know my Thai was mostly, excuse me my family was mostly Thai. We spoke Thai at home. And we were always foreigners expats living in, you know, somebody else’s country. So I think it absolutely shaped my music for sure. One of the things I call my music Gotham Country, and I’ve always had my own sound, and I think this is why. You know, I learned to love country music riding horses, on the Serengeti plains of Kenya, while listening to Kenny Rogers, and John Denver. But to me, that’s just intuitive to put, you know, African drumming behind a song that sounds like Johnny Cash wrote it, right? Which is actually something I’m about to do. And so when I play, what I hear over and over again [from the audience] is “You know what I always hated country music, but for some reason I like your music.“ Or the other thing I hear is, particularly from people who maybe don’t feel very welcoming to country music culture for whatever reason, they, you know I get a lot of people coming up to me and saying, “You know I always wanted to love country music, but I never felt I was welcome until I heard your music and you make me feel like I’m included“. Right? And I just think that those pre-verbal years where I spent in a blender of diversity and multiculturalism, you know, my senses were being fed by spices from literally all over the world. My sense of sound, you know in those pre-verbal, you know, pre-nine/pre-seven years, you know, was being fed by different scales and different tunings. And, you know, I actually at one time in my wife spoke seven languages. My first language was actually Tagalog because I hung out with all the Filipinos when I was a toddler, and learning to speak, and so you know these kinds of things affect your sense of rhythm, they affect your intuitive sense of intonation. And I do think it just comes out in my Americana. I actually have huge followings in different parts of Europe and Southeast Asia. And the people in Southeast Asia, finding my music and becoming fans have no idea that I actually grew up there in a partially Thai family. Like it’s just coincidental. And yet, on some level, there’s something about me that makes them feel like I’m offering a flavor of Americana. That feels like home to them. Right? So I hope that answers your question, a big yes to your question.
(mXf//Anna) Yes! And I have another one actually, because I found your story very inspirational. And also I wanted to ask, because I read about that pandemic, affected you a lot? And would you maybe you share the story with us?
(Meg) Sure, absolutely. Yeah so, you know, I mean I think you guys know, the beginning of the story I grew up around the world, I wanted to create rock music, to create these spaces to really give Americans in particular a place to kind of remove the taboo and the kind of exoticism from intense emotional experiences. Because what I found growing up around the world is that emotionality and rich sensory experiences was something that was celebrated everywhere. And yet, when I came, came back to America, I felt like we had so much to celebrate in this country. And I found people to be very afraid of their humanity in a way that was unique to all the different cultures I grew up in. And so, you know, I was very successful, but I went splat against the success stress wall. I had no idea success just existed, and no idea that I needed to retrain my nervous system for that kind of stimulation. And so, in my brokenness I became a functional fitness expert, and opened a studio and had a very successful career. As a functional fitness expert, I started off teaching classical Pilates at very shishi studios in New York City. And then I added different functional fitness techniques to it and made it my own thing in my own studio. For the first time in my career, working with over 10,000 people, all of a sudden, you know, on March 6 2020, I kept getting all these text messages from my clients. Literally overnight, about a quarter of them had pneumonia. And well over half had some kind of respiratory flu. And two of them were trying to get tested. And they literally couldn’t get tested. That was back at the time where unless you had traveled to China, or been around someone who had traveled to China, you could not get access to a test through the CDC. And I had so many people in my studio, literally the next day I had a mother coming in with a newborn baby for the first time in the studio. And there was so much that we didn’t know about COVID. And you know, I have older people fighting immuno-suppressive conditions, I have several cancer survivors who are my clients, the only thing I could do in good conscience was to shut my studio down. And I’ll never forget, I’m standing in the cereal aisle at Target, trying to stock up on cereal for my kids. And I’m texting with my clients like this whole drama about not being able to get tested. And I’m texting with multiple clients about multiple dramas about this. And finally I just looked up at the cereal, and I was like you know what, I can’t do this. I just have to make a decision. And so I made that decision there. And I sent an email out to my entire clientele standing in front of the Cheerios. You know, tomorrow the studio is going to go online. It’s all right. We’ll still have our sessions. They’ll all be on Zoom. They’ll all be free. Don’t worry about it. Right?
The next day, I knew I was going to send another email saying hey, that was so much fun having free sessions online. We’re going to do it for the next week, and just see how things play out. My studio has been closed ever since. So what I ended up doing was the next week the schools closed I have three kids. I know from an evolutionary biology perspective, just how powerful a threat of isolation is, let alone actual social life. Isolation takes over, it overrides your conscious mind. And it just pours so much stress on your nervous system. So one of the things that my methods do is they not only raise your capacity to handle stress, but they also settle you down in your nervous system. So I ended up offering free classes to everybody for like a month. And then I realized that it was gonna, like literally kill me. So I set up a bunch of pre-recorded stuff for my adult clients and said have at it, have fun, you’re on your own, I know you can do this. And I focused on teaching kids and teens five days a week for free. And I did that for four months, I taught well over 100 classes for free teaching kids and teens. And because they were the most vulnerable to be suffering from this sudden isolation.
So then, you know I’ve written this alt country musical. And I’m very blessed to have the support of several Broadway producers who are wonderful producers. One of them hooked me up with a bunch of Broadway actors. And I created an online summer camp, with Thayne Jasperson from Hamilton, and a slew of other Broadway actors award winning wonderful actors. And we worked with kids on five continents. Over the summer, we worked with kids in three different Middle Eastern countries. We had all these Muslim girls logging on from different Middle Eastern countries with a little boy, a Jewish boy from from Israel, with a kid who had just moved to Nicaragua, an American who had just moved to Nicaragua. We had a little girl in India, we had a kid in Italy. It was incredible. And we had a great time. So then I was turning Zoo Core into a TV show, which is the kids program. And Paul Loggins, Kenny Loggins cousin who’s been working in the music industry, obviously for decades. Paul in Nashville had told me a couple of years ago that my holiday songs were were not only hits, but they were new American classics. And I’m not sure what he thought of the fact that he told me that. And I went away and never did anything with it. But the reality is that I was so busy taking care of people through my studio, transforming their lives. With this work it was an easy escape for me to not face the remaining pain that I didn’t realize I was holding on to about my original breakdown in the face of success, to be honest with you, I did not trust myself, that I wouldn’t let down myself and everybody else if I came back to the music industry. I was complimented by the feedback, I think I was desperate to not believe it. Because if it was true, then if things didn’t work out it would be my fault. And that’s very hard to face, right? So he told me that a couple years ago, and I just disappeared. And so I was working on the TV show, and I got an email from someone on his staff who was like, hey, about those holiday songs. And I just looked at the email. And I realized that I was starving. I was literally starving to have that experience of connecting with people of being able to make them move and sway their hips and laugh and smile and, you know, put a spring in their step. And because I make people laugh in all of my sessions, I make people laugh in all of my shows. But my workout sessions are just like my shows, you know it’s the best core workout in the world to laugh while you’re trying to do a sit-up. Right? I put my clients in the most challenging position and then make them laugh. So I was I was just starving for that experience of being able to make people’s day better. And I was like, you know what maybe I can reach people through the airways, you know, maybe I can turn radio into my studio, and give them that boost, that lift that way. So I was like, What the heck, you know, life is already turned upside down. What’s a little more strangeness for the pile? So I was like, yeah sure, pick a song. Let’s do this. What I did not know. Because he didn’t tell me. Smart man, since the major labels had been holding their content and not releasing it because their artists couldn’t tour in support of it. And they make their money back from promoting records through touring. So the radio airwaves were wide open. So there’s a handful of us independent artists who released songs to radio during the pandemic during this period. And we had the ability to chart in places that usually independent artists don’t go near those places. Because, you know, the options are just full with well supported major label options. So the “Happy holiday Song“ was a hit. He was like, listen, people love you, do you have anything else? And at first, I was like, No. And then I thought about it. And I was like, You know what, in my producers, mind “Colored Balloons“ is not done. I always wanted to add cello to it. But “Colored Balloons“, what I say about colored balloons is, you know, it’s shabby chic. There’s a little crack in the paint. And if you think back to life in January of 2021, right, I think that, you know, I remember I was talking to Paul, I think I gave Paul “Colored Balloons“ to listen to in January, late at night on January 5th. And I expected to wake up the next morning, and just check my email to see what he thought of “Colored Balloons“. I don’t know about you, maybe it’s just in America, but I felt so broken. I felt like cracked paint. And what I had noticed over the holidays is that if a song was too polished, it sunk to the bottom of the charts. If it was like, you know, but it was everything that had like a little edge, a little bit of that raw humanity that went right to the top. So I was like, you know, maybe “Colored Balloons“ fits the zeitgeist, let me see what Paul thinks. I woke up January 6th, to watch the riots unfold. And I was like oh my God, what is happening? And Paul got back to me, because Paul works 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. And he’s like, yeah, it’s a hit. So I was like, OK let’s do it. You know, let me know. Like, I had no idea if United States was even going to exist the next week, you know what I mean? Like, as this whole thing unfolded, who knew whether we were going to be heading into civil war. And I just, I hoped that it would bring people some peace, because what people say to me about “Colored Balloons“ is that it makes them feel peaceful. So in fact, “Colored Balloons“ has an organic following in Russia and Ukraine, and Poland. And some people have reached out to me. And the reason they like colored balloons is because it makes them feel peaceful, right? So that was my prayer, is that it would bring people a moment of peace during a time of tumult. So yeah.
(mXf//Anna) Thank you so much, as I said before, like your story is very inspirational for and can be very special for many people, especially for those who struggled during this pandemic, and who’s trying to find motivation and inspiration daily. And especially as an artist, because, you know, as an artist yourself, like how much musicians struggle these days when they can’t actually play music right?
(Meg) Yeah. Well, thank you, you know, hearing that moves people, actually motivates me to continue to tell my story. So thank you very much, thank you.
(mXf//Colin) For sure. And it’s definitely true what you say about “Color Balloons“, the peaceful, I mean that’s what resonates with me as well. And I think it’s interesting to like, I was curious about and you just, you really touched on it here about your connection with fans and with art. I was curious if you have like, values, you know, a manifesto for lack of a better word, and how that relates to up and coming fans or artists. Do you work with newer artists or anything like that?
(Meg) That’s a great question. I am thrilled that this Friday, I get to work with the students in the theater and dance department at Auburn University. And, Anna, to your point, and to your question, the reason the director of that department asked me to come work with them is they this professor wants those students to hear the story of my COVID pivot. They want the students to hear from a real life human, that in the moment where everything was shutting down, I managed to leverage the breakdown for a breakthrough, right? Now, I managed to leverage the breakdown of the music industry for a breakthrough because that’s the career that I built in wellness, right? That’s what I teach people to do in their lives, I teach people to leverage weakness in their physical, mental, emotional health. And see that that sense of weakness is really a pathway to claiming a new strength. That’s what I did every day. So, you know, I’ve done it for over 10,000 hours. So I embody it, I live it, I breathe it; it’s no surprise to me that it just intuitively came out in my expression of the business of music, right? Did I sit down and go, OK now I’m going to take the breakdown of the music industry and leverage it into a breakthrough? No, I had no idea. If you go back and look at my social media from Thanksgiving Day of 2020 through, I don’t know, August of 2021, you’ll see there are days where I’m literally on social media, bawling my eyes out, because I cannot believe how my world is being reordered. You know, it’s one thing for someone to say that your songs are hits. It’s one thing for a lot of qualified people to say that they’re hits, it’s another thing to watch them become hits, right? It changes you. So all I can say is, I saw the role of rockstar as a servant leader, before servant leadership existed, OK. I’m not at all surprised that I attracted three major labels into a bidding war. While it still saddens me to this day, because it didn’t have to be that way. I’m not surprised that from a commercial level, given the phase, you know, of commercialism that American business was in then, servant leadership didn’t exist in the business sector at all, let alone in the music industry. It’s sad that it didn’t work out between me and the music business period, the end but it didn’t. You know, I approached, I approach everything I do as a servant leader. Now that servant leadership has been born in conventional business, while it’s not de rigueur in the music industry, it’s no longer as alien and strange as it was when I approached things from a servant leadership position, when I approached things from a sound healing position, when I was really seeking to utilize popular culture as a distribution system for what I call sound healing. You know, cultural experiences that enrich your life and make you a stronger, happier, healthier person. You know, that’s how I was approaching things, because I grew up in war zones, right? And I knew how much The West had. And yet, we managed to enjoy so little while we had so much. So I just wanted to increase people’s enjoyment factor. You know, thankfully, the science has grown these years and the science backs me up. Thankfully, servant leadership is now a known entity. So while it’s new for someone to approach the business of music from a servant leadership standpoint, it’s possible now, and all I’ll say is that I have a very small support system of people who are icons in the business of music. And I get to together with them, I talk with them almost every day, because they understand what I’m doing. They understand that I’m filling a need, that has always been there. But because of the algorithms of YouTube, and Spotify and the rise of things like authenticity marketing, it is actual actually possible now for people to understand, you know, pushing that button and fulfilling that need that I’m going for. Does that make sense? Or is that too much of a geeky answer to you, for you?
(mXf//Colin) For me, it really resonates and makes sense back to what, you know, the whole thing just about being genuine in the first place? Yeah.
(Meg) Yeah, you know, I call the new music business, the love economy. Because the reality is, is if you don’t love what you’re doing, it’s not going to get done. You know, I’m a very multifaceted person. I’m very right brain and left brain I bring them together. When my journey with the business of music started, that was very threatening. Women weren’t supposed to be multifaceted. You know, if I had been Willie Nelson, God bless him, they would have thought that was awesome. If I had been Jon Bon Jovi, God bless him, that just would have made me more of a man. You know, I was literally told by somebody attached to one of the labels. He was like “Do you know what Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton and Madonna have in common?“ I was like, they’re all bottle blonde with blue eyes. He’s like, yes. And he’s like, just like you. They’re all geniuses. And he’s like, just like you they’re all incredibly smart. Then he said “But unlike you, they’re smart enough to know that if they want to be famous, they need to be so smart no one can know how smart they actually are.“
(mXf//Colin) Interesting. I never knew that about them.
(Meg) Yeah, yeah, actually, a couple of them. I think Paris Hilton is a member of Mensa. So my response to that was to go to Harvard. And then he had to chase me at Harvard, to explain to me why I should take his record deal. Instead of graduating cum laude from Harvard University. You know, it takes two to tango. You know, I could have just talked to him in a perfect world, and been like Hey, dude, I find that to be thoroughly offensive and wrong. And let me talk to you about why that is. And instead, I just took action and showed him where he could shove it as opposed to telling him where he could shove it. And that was my choice. And that choice had consequences. And those consequences ended up hurting a lot of people who really believed in me in the music industry. And it hurt me too. Because I never stopped writing songs. I never stopped having this vision. I just stopped living the life that felt like it fit me. Right, so anyway, the music industry has evolved, I didn’t believe in a million years that would ever happen, in part because people like me were threatening, then and now. The major labels can only afford to sign people like me, they can only afford to sign people who are self starters who can run their own businesses, who can manage their own startups to the point where they can be bought out by a major corporation. So the very attributes in a personality that rendered you incompatible with the music industry before are the same attributes that you must have in order to be compatible now, and anybody who’s in any position of power will tell you straight up. But it’s true, so in this new reality where if you’re going to be an artist you’re really being an entrepreneur, setting up a startup and you’re going to try to build that startup brand to the point where it can be bought out.
Because labels don’t do artist development anymore. Period, the end. If you don’t love it, it’s literally not going to get done. And part of that is just pragmatic reality. Part of that is Harvard Business School has done multiple studies to show that what predicts success in startups is when the person loves what they’re doing, right? So that’s the single largest predictor of startup success is when the founder reports having an inexplicable passion driving them. And that’s true everything from going for it with music to the actual song that I choose to produce or get produced. If I don’t love it, if I’m not on fire about it head to toe, it’s just not going to get done. So I call it the love economy.
(mXf//Anna) I wanted to ask you for your advice for young artists, but actually you just answered that question. So good, I wanted to say that you actually answered the question by what you said just before, so yes, thank you so much for this.
(Meg) You’re so welcome.
(mXf//Colin) Yeah, that is awesome. really insightful, too. And it’s interesting, like from a business perspective, I hadn’t thought about that before. Even like in the tech world, you know, there are a lot of parallels so that makes a lot of sense.
(Meg) Yeah, I think the love economy cuts across all sectors quite frankly, for for multiple reasons.
(mXf//Colin) And the other big question I had is about how you write songs. Do you view writing songs and performing differently? Or as a kind of one in the same? Because you do write on a piano when you write from real world experience, is it the same thing? Or do you see them as two different things? And do you like writing versus performing better? And how does that fit into your future?
(Meg) Well, a common thread between the two of them is I love to connect with people. I think the fact that I grew up flying around the world every six weeks to three months for the first 20 some odd years of my life, I was constantly exposed to a diversity of people. And luckily, that just created something at the core of my being where I love people. And I love to connect with people, right? So whether I’m writing a song, or whether I’m performing, to me those moments are all about creating a space for connection, right? And creating a space for core connection. Now that being said, when I’m writing I’m really connecting to the moment. It’s almost a kind of functional meditation. It’s almost a kind of musical meditation. The very first day. The very first day we went out after the COVID shutdown. All right, we hadn’t been out to any restaurants, hadn’t been out to any stores except for grocery stores, certainly had not been out as a family. My youngest really missed going to see Santa. We used to go every year to Santa land in New York City to like every year and get a picture with Santa. So we went to the local mall because Macy’s Santa Land in New York City was closed. And even if it wasn’t closed, there’s no way we would have gone. You know, because we just didn’t know enough about COVID. So we went to the mall. We got our picture with Santa. My daughter and my my youngest son and I did a little TicTok. They taught me how to do TicTok. I did my very first TicTok of the “Happy Holiday Song“. The mall was literally about to close, it’s Christmas Eve, and I’m standing there in line, you know, there was not much to get. So I got everybody warm socks, and I found some great chocolate. And we’re standing in line. And of course you have to stand six feet apart. And so and so you’re standing in line for like ever. And I hear this woman and her daughter walked by me talking. And because there was no one there, it’s like you could hear people a mile away. So I heard most of their conversation. And I heard them talking about the fact that as COVID was shutting life down, she had met this person on an online dating app. And they had spent the entire COVID shutdown, virtually corresponding and they had fallen completely in love with each other. And they were going to see each other for the first time on Christmas Day. They were going to meet for the very first time on Christmas Day. And she was like, Mom, what do I get him? And so they’re like talking about all the finer details of how do you figure out what to get this person because they fallen deeply in love with each other, but they’ve never met because of the COVID shutdown in person, right? So I’m like, ooh, that’s an interesting puzzle. What, you know, what would I tell my daughter to get? And I looked down and I see my arms literally full of piles of warm socks and chocolate. And I was like, socks and chocolate. That sounds good to me. So I’m standing there:
Socks and chocolate, on my mind, Socks and chocolate, so divine. Simply the socks and chocolate I’ll get for you, on our first holiday for two. Not a necktie, not a shirt. Not a valet, not a skirt. Silky socks and chocolate. And it’s all for you, as we celebrate onto new
By the time I left Macy’s, I have written that entire song:
‘Cause when you strip it down, no gift is better greater than right now, that gift of life with you around. So let’s strip this down, let naked truth ring out. Socks and chocolate, on my mind. Socks and chocolate, so divine. Silky socks and chocolate. And it’s all for you, bring on the celebration for two
So was I performing for anybody? No.
(mXf//Anna) Yes, yes, awesome! Thank you so much!
(Meg) But I was in a pure moment of connection, right? With myself, with my senses, with the moment, with a world. That kind of pure presence is why we meditate. That kind of pure presence is exactly what comes from a meditative state, from your mind being connected to your body, from you being in your whole self, right? So I wasn’t performing for those people. I wasn’t like “Hey, great story let me write you a song“. Oh, not at all. I was just being in the moment. Now, I’m going to record that song and release the next holiday season because I love it. And you know, when I go to perform it, that moment, even though the song came from me, it came through me, it captures a moment of pure embodiment and presence. When I go to perform it, that performance is not going to be about me. And it’s not going to be for me, it’s going to be for every single person in that audience receiving that song, which is no longer mine, right? It’s for you. That’s what it means to release it: I give it to you to make it your own.
(mXf//Colin) So interesting. Yeah. Not thought about that way before.
(mXf//Anna) Yeah, I got into listening to your singing at this point, like I was just listening to your singing. So yeah, again, thank you!
(Meg) Sure! I know, it makes me like an endangered species that I can like hop on a Zoom and just start singing to you, right?
(mXf//Colin) Awesome! I appreciate you being very open with us today. And really, the depth has been awesome. I love, getting into depth about your history, your story, and your perspective. Is there anything that you wanted to add?
(Meg) Oh, thank you so much. Yeah, the one thing I would say is, after we hang up if it’s okay, I will send you a pre-save link to my next song “The Pizza“. And I’ll send you some details about that.
But one thing people don’t really know about me is that I’ve written well over 50 songs. And I’m starting to record them, either producing them myself, or with wonderful producers like Ari Blitz. So “The Pizza“ was actually produced by Blitzturo, which is the partnership between Ari Blitz and Arturo Kahan. I think Ari Blitz might be the most streamed producer alive right now. He’s worked with Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and Sophia Ray as his latest album for her just went platinum. So Ari and his partner Arturo Kahan produced this. It was terrifying for me to let somebody else produce my song, but it was great. Yeah, I haven’t had let somebody else produce my stuff since I had a one song deal with Sire Records. So yeah, it’s totally like my baby for sure. So it was great. And I love the song. I’ve written a bunch of country, a bunch of country pop, a bunch of country rock, country grunge, country hip-hop. What people don’t realize about me is that several of my songs off of SoundCloud have been mixed into DJ sets by very famous DJs including “Color Balloons“ and a couple others around the world. And I actually have written some kind of more dance pop. And so it’s wonderful that Dolly Parton just came out with the extended remix of Jolene. Because we were working on “The Pizza“, which is a, you know, country EDM. Basically, it’s country dance pop. So it showcases a very, very, very different side of myself. I love it. I’m very proud of it. And it’s a total earworm. Like everybody’s like, I can’t stop singing the chorus. To celebrate “The Pizza“, for the music video we’re asking people to go to their local mom and pop favorite pizza places. And I’m really trying to elevate as a small business owner, who lost her business shuttered her business due to COVID. I am so grateful for this success in the music industry, do not get me wrong. But when you build a business with your own bare hands, getting up at 5am to teach clients and finishing teaching clients at 11pm, six days a week for 10 years, you feel it. When you close your business overnight there’s a mourning period that has to happen. So part of how I’m grieving the loss of my business is helping to amplify and elevate other small business owners. So I’m asking people to pre-save the link to go to their favorite locally owned, God bless the chains I love them, but no chains. This is about small businesses. Go to your favorite locally owned Mom and Pop pizza place around the world. I’m asking my friends around the world because I grew up eating pizza in the Philippines and all all all over pizzas everywhere. And to just take a little selfie video of them enjoying pizza dancing around to their favorite part of the song and send it to me. And I have a wonderful music video editor who’s going to edit all these clips into an incredibly hilarious entertaining music video. That’s going to have some some wonderful celebrities in it to who are my former clients or friends. So it’s going to be like one big Mom and Pop pizza potluck in my music video. So I will send you that information. And if you can ask your readers to go enjoy some pizza and support their their local business that would make me feel so happy.
(mXf//Colin) Love it. No, that’s awesome. Mega. Absolutely looking forward to that, excited to see it come together! So yeah, we’ll definitely do that. Awesome.
Thank you again, it was really, really pleasure to meet you, really inspirational, and really appreciate your passion and inspiration. And I look forward to “The Pizza“ coming out!! And of course, continued success on your end. And hopefully we’ll get to meet again sometime in the future too!
(Meg) Yeah. Wonderful. Thank you. Thank you, Anna, do you do you eat pizza there in Poland?
(mXf//Anna) No, but if I made good keto pizza, I will picture myself. So maybe I’ll send it to you.
(Meg) Yes, I would love that. I would love that. Because, you know, obviously my heart just breaks for what’s happening in Ukraine. And I’ve written 10 years ago, I wrote a song called “Sunflower Lady“. And it’s on my list of songs that I’m going to do and my jaw hit the ground when I found out that the sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine. I was like oh my god, this song has a whole other meaning. Now people are gonna think I wrote it after the invasion. And I did not you I wrote a 10 years ago. But anyway, I was watching the coverage at the Polish border and somebody walked by in front of the camera with about 12 pizza boxes stacked up. And and I was like, wow, even at the refugee areas for the Ukrainian refugees they’re eating pizza. So yeah, nothing would mean more to me if you would go find some pizza, so I can put that in the video. All right, I will let you go. Thank you so much. Don’t hesitate to let me know if you need anything as a follow up. And it’s been such an honor and such a pleasure. Thank you. Thank you so much, bye-bye.