Friday 30 September 2016

Nashville novice Meg sings a tale of twisted love

Published 20/12/2015 | 02:30

Megan O'Neill: 'Nashville was a beautiful experience, but I had some lonely times out there' Photo: Conor Clinch
Megan O'Neill: 'Nashville was a beautiful experience, but I had some lonely times out there' Photo: Conor Clinch

'I walk upon the river like it's easier than land," sings much-touted Kildare chanteuse Megan O'Neill. "Evil's in my pocket and your will is in my hand/And I'll throw it in the current that I stand upon so still/Love is all, from what I've heard, but my heart's learned to kill."

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Ouch.

The cherubic looking twentysomething is singing Love Is All by The Tallest Man On Earth for The Windmill Lane Sessions on Independent.ie because "that song in particular has a really important meaning to me - when I first started seeing the man I'm with now, he introduced me to that album, and to that song."

She's referring to The Wild Hunt, the second album by super Swede Kristian Matsson.

"So it is very close to my relationship and how I feel about him. I think the way The Tallest Man On Earth as an artist writes is very twisted. So that song is about love, but maybe not the best parts of it."

A complex young woman with an old-school country voice, Megan is based in London. She has divided her time between Los Angeles (there's talk of a song for a Disney movie) and Nashville (her song Don't You was selected for the ABC TV show Nashville in 2014).

She says it was "lonely" in Nashville, before adding that we live in a world where everything looks very glamorous when you're on Facebook and when you're online.

"Nashville was a beautiful experience," she adds. "I learned so much - but I definitely had a lot of lonely moments over there."

Perversely, Megan got songs out of her pain in Tennessee.

"I did. I did!" she exclaims. "I was in a long-distance relationship while I was there. I was also away from my family and everybody I know and love from here," she says, meaning Ireland. "I wrote a lot about that - about that distance and about feeling lost in what I was doing."

I say to her that she used the past tense in terms of the relationship. So did she have your heart broken?

"Not by that one. I am still with that one. But I've definitely had my heart broken before. That's never easy for anybody."

Megan wrote a song about it, the aforesaid Don't You from her EP called Coming Home. Does he know that the song is about him?

"Probably. But I think love is great that way because everyone gets knocked down and everyone gets hit hard sometimes," she explains, "but it is such inspiration."

Vulnerability is an essential tool for being a songwriter, though, isn't it?

"Definitely. That's what Adele said. She wrote a great album because her boyfriend broke her heart. So maybe I need that for my next one!" she laughs.

Megan credits her mother as being one of her biggest influences as a singer. "Music has been in our family for generations. My mother played to me and sang to me when I was a child."

Her mother also played her a lot of Irish music - Mary Black, The Corrs - and introduced her to American country music, like Trisha Yearwood, Dolly Parton - "all the old classics," she says.

"I just grew up loving those songs - songs that told a story."

For people that don't know her, the story of Megan O'Neill is, she explains, of a young girl who "left Ireland quite a while ago. I guess I feel proud to be from here but also quite separated from here. I just left to do what I love, to learn how to song write, to go to Nashville..."

To catch the full interview with Megan O'Neill, plus enjoy two exclusive songs, see The Windmill Lane Sessions on Independent.ie You can now also watch Independent.ie/Windmill Lane Sessions on TG4.

A charity CD - 'Forever Young/The Windmill Lane Sessions' - in aid of the Irish Youth Foundation - is now also available to buy in Centra nationwide, Starbucks and HMV

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