#CMchat Exclusive Interview: Megan Katarina

Singer/songwriter Megan Katarina is busy, inside and outside of the studio. In the spring of 2015, she purchased a 1968 Airstream Tradewind and is currently working to renovate it and turn it into a tour bus.

A bus that will be put to good use because her first full-length album released last Friday. The album, Being Crazy Ain’t for the Weak, was produced by Jared Anderson and recorded live at OmniSound Studios.

The first single, “He’s Seen Me Naked,” is, in her own words…

“the most vulnerable song that I’ve ever written and being that vulnerability and transparency has kinda become my thing, it only makes sense that this be the first.”

The LP is a ‘coming of age’ one – divided into two parts: “Anchor” and “Wings.” Pages from her diary became the lyrics. It is based on true experiences, especially past relationships and her battle with anxiety and depression.

Here’s a video of Katarina singing “Anchor 

How did growing up in Florida influence your music? 

“I grew up right next to the St. Johns River. So we would go out on the boat every weekend and all the rednecks were always playing their country. Of course, as I got older and started to go out I really enjoyed the reggae and soul bands that we have an abundance of on the beach. Reggae/punk rock and traditional country were my biggest requests when I played out. So I developed a really diverse set list and taste in music.”

As a young child, you began writing poetry and music, ala Shel Silverstein and Martina McBride. What poems/songs of theirs inspired you? 

“The first song I ever learned and sang the whole way through was ‘Concrete Angel‘ by Martina McBride when I was in first grade for the talent show. I literally remember my mom helping me studying her lyric sheets from the CD Case! I love the storytelling. I can’t pick a favorite Shel Silverstein poem because I absolutely adore all of his poems still to this day, but one particular poem of his that inspires me is called “Magic”. Everything he writes seems like children’s literature because it’s so surface but almost all of it has an underlying moral or story and that is so beautiful to me!”

Can you remember the first time you wrote a song?  

“Yes! I was 6 or 7 years old and I believe it was about my Dad!”

Who gave you the support to keep writing in the beginning? Who did you play the early songs for? 

“My parents, definitely. They have always been my biggest fans and supporters. My Dad gave me my love for lyrics and storytelling and we could go on and on for hours about good music. He’s always been very fascinated and proud of my abilities and I think that’s why he’s always wanted to support my career wholeheartedly!”

Putting your heart and soul into your lyrics can be cathartic and daunting at the same time.

What are the backstories to the songs on your upcoming album, “Being Crazy Ain’t For the Weak?” 

“That’s very true! There are a lot of stories, and all of these songs are based on true stories. But collectively, I guess, I wrote most of these songs about a time in my life where I used relationships to distract me from my own issues. Toxic relationships, usually. I was struggling badly with anxiety and depression, and the recovery was long and hard. It took hitting rock bottom and finally accepting being alone. And it was just so brutal. I fought my destiny so hard. I felt very misunderstood. I would do impulsive, reckless things because I literally didn’t care what happened to me. That’s why the album is divided into parts ‘Anchor’ and ‘Wings.’ ‘Anchor’ was that long, hard part with all the messiness and darkness. ‘Wings’ was/is about the redemptive part of life, the recovery, the ‘Oh, so that’s why that happened’ and the time I found my worth. I will say that about 7 out of the 10 songs are inspired by one particular relationship and it feels kind of good to make this art that I’m so proud of inspired by something that put me through so much BS!”

He’s Seen Me Naked” The song placed third out of 2,500+ submissions in the 2017 NSAI songwriting competition and third in the country division of the 2017 John Lennon Songwriting Contest.

What do you think draws in listeners with this song?

“For one, that song was a work tape. It is crazy rare for a work tape to make it in the top 10 in a contest. So I think that definitely set it apart. Also, it is incredibly vulnerable. Talking about someone ‘calling your demons by name’ is not something you hear all the time, but I think everyone has loved someone who knows them that well to the point that when it’s over, there’s this feeling of embarrassment and fear that you let someone in that deeply. Also, the title usually perks people’s ears up!”

You’ve co-written songs for other artists, including Tyler Rich, Ryan Robinette, and Tana Matz. Is the songwriting process different when you’re writing for others?

“Yes, it’s very different! You have to feel out the other artist’s writing style and go with it. I find myself often saying ‘Are you okay with that?’ or something like that to the artist because I don’t want to write a song that they don’t even want to record. You have to let them lead and just humbly offer up your ideas with no ego. And keep in mind that what you think would be the best isn’t always going to be what they think will be. No one’s wrong. It’s just art. That’s the point!”

If you could open up for any artist on tour right now who would it be?  

“It’s a tie between Kacey Musgraves and John Mayer. (I’m basic, haha)”

What’s your motto or the advice you live by? 

“My favorite quote by Paulo Coehlho, which I quote all the time-

‘Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.'”

What is your favorite song to belt out in your car? 

“Right now it is ‘Learn To Let Go‘ by Kesha. I love her!”

Connect with Megan KatarinaWebsite, Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram

Author: Donna Block

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