Featured Image: Cheryl Zimmerman
The quality of music being released during this stressful lockdown period continues to amaze us, and Brighton-based singer-songwriter Meg Lawrenson’s latest single, ‘Use My Body’, is no exception. With uplifting choruses and thrilling guitar riffs, Lawrenson combines pop, rock and country music to create a spectacularly hopeful track. However, it contains an underlying darker theme of losing control of your body, which is told through the poetic lyrics of a creative writing student. ‘Use My Body’ is the first single to be released since her second EP, Swallows, which came out last summer. Her band have only increased their skills and confidence since then. Her soulful singing clearly comes from the heart and will undoubtedly take her far.
We caught up with Meg Lawrenson over email to discuss the inspiration behind her latest single, staying productive during lockdown and her plans for future releases.
What inspired you to take up singing, piano and guitar?
“For as long as I could remember, I always wanted to be an author. I loved writing stories and writing journals etc… so it wasn’t until the age of 14 when I picked up a guitar for the first time that I started getting into music. When I picked up this guitar, I had no idea how to play, so I made up my own songs to go along with these new chords, and it very quickly became my favourite thing.”
At what point did it become something you wanted to do as a career?
“I don’t think I’ve ever been afraid to dive into a creative industry; I think I knew as soon as I fell in love with songwriting. It wasn’t until the year I joined University I realised how much hard work I would have to put into it to try and make it a full-time job. But I love it. It’s always worth it.”
What music surrounded you as a child and still influences your style today?
“I was the biggest Swifty fan – and still am! Hearing her songs from a young age really influenced my way of writing. If it wasn’t for her, I’m not sure I would write as honestly and authentically as I do.”
What bands and artists have you fallen in love with since childhood?
“Paramore was a massive turning point in my choice of style. They made me want to play in and start a band… and again write honestly and authentically. Hayley Williams, Carrie Underwood and Alanis Morrsiette made me the singer I am – the power behind their voices is unreal!”
How does your religion inspire your music?
“I think being brought up in a Christian household implanted the idea of hope into me from a very young age. I don’t believe every song has to be explicitly about hope, but I do think even the loss of it is a conversation that needs to be had.”
Has your time at university changed the way you approach songwriting or has it largely stayed the same?
“It was the people I met through university who helped me develop my music. I found each member of my band there, and truly, they are my biggest influence yet.”
Your lyrics appear to discuss serious personal issues. Is this a combination of your own experiences or a wish to help others when they are feeling down?
“Both, but I don’t believe the two are mutually exclusive! Music is healing. Connection is healing. Honesty is healing. I think sharing experiences is healing for both the writer and the listener.”
Your latest track, ‘Use My Body’, appears to be more upbeat than your previous tracks. Was this the intention from the beginning or did the music evolve that way?
“I love writing a mixture of both upbeat and slower songs. My band have a knack of creating such an atmosphere for my songs, and they definitely brought the energy it needed for this one!”
The track also seems more richly textured. Is this a result of becoming more confident as a band?
“I think my band and I have not only grown stronger in our playing, but working together with our incredible producer Phill Mardsen has just made it possible. I love watching the band get involved in our recording sessions… all the new ideas and experiments we try to get the best sound we possibly can, like layering instruments and adding new harmonies… I always have the best time when we record.”
What was the inspiration behind this track and how did it originate?
“The song is a confession of not respecting your body the way you should. I think so many people have been through this. I want to bring hope to people who listen to it, I want to inspire them to use their body the right way.”
Your songs all appear to have very dramatic choruses. Is this a starting point for you when writing new music or something which comes naturally later on?
“I think I have always done this…. It’s something Paramore do, Taylor Swift does, Carrie Underwood does… I just love a big chorus!”
Have you found it difficult to stay productive during lockdown or has time alone been helpful for discovering new ideas?
“It is certainly hard to stay motivated, for sure! In the beginning, I think I put a lot of pressure on myself to write loads of amazing songs during this time… however, I think that was one of the worst things I could have done, looking back! There is no point in writing a song for the sake of writing. When I write something I care about, that’s when my best work comes out.”
Do you have any plans to feature this track on an upcoming EP or album?
“We’re actually going to be releasing a series of singles over the coming year! I’ve really enjoyed creating EPs before, but I think I’m being called to release singles for the near future!”
What are your goals for the future?
“I would love to do this as my main career, my main income, my main focus of my life! I want to write for the rest of my life.”
‘Use My Body’ is available on all streaming services