Not many artists can say that they’ve jolted awake in the middle of the night to record a song.
But sporadic songwriting has become a winning process for Meg Mac — so much so that she came up with hits like Never Be while driving on her way home.
“My phone was about to die, so I had to sing it all the way home,” she recalls.
“I think that’s why it’s so repetitive because I was chanting it all the way home.
“But songwriting for me, I can’t just sit down and be like ‘I’m writing a song’. It’s always in the middle of the night where I have this idea and I’ll sing something into my phone.
“So little pieces will come to me. And when I’m touring, I’m singing so much and almost every night I get super excited about being able to do music so I always end up coming up with ideas. So it’s more like collecting little snippets and turning them into something later when I get time.”
Between promoting her latest album Hope and gallivanting around the globe touring the US, UK and Europe, it’s no wonder Mac relies on her spur-of-the-moment songwriting process.
“I guess when I started songwriting, I didn’t even know they would turn into songs,” she says.
“I was just singing about whatever was going on with my life or my friends or the people in my life. They kind of just became songs and I started recording. It always takes something from my life to make me feel something and make me want to sit down and sing about it.”
Reflecting on her recent tour across Europe, Mac says she performed in a string of sellout shows in places she was visiting for the first time.
“So I played these shows in places I’d never been to before. And I think the weirdest part is, when I played in Berlin, I realised I was like ‘How am I going to introduce myself’,” she says.
“So I was trying to learn little bits of German before I went on stage and that’s when it hits you, when you’re in a place where they don’t speak English. How did I get here all the way from Australia? It’s a bizarre kind of feeling.”
“I’d never been to Berlin, Brussels, Amsterdam ... but it’s so frustrating when you’re on tour but you’re there for like one night and you end up not being able to fully experience what it’s like, not to go back. Now that I’ve seen little parts of it, I want to go back and explore.”
Tonight the 28-year-old is set to return to her old stomping ground in Perth (she studied at WAAPA) where she will perform songs from her new album, Hope, along with her chart-topping hits, during her sold-out gig at Astor Theatre.
“The Astor is on Beaufort Street and that’s a street that I spent a lot of time on. I used to walk past it every day,” she says.
“Same with the Rosemount — I used to live around the corner. It’s always weird, it’s like going back in time to see where I spent so much time.”
But does she have any favourites she loves performing on stage?
“I really like singing the new songs which I’ve never done on tour before,” she says.
“I really like singing the new songs which I’ve never done on tour before.”
“But then each night, a different song might have that moment for me, so playing Grandma’s Hands is one song that is such an epic song and it just starts with handclaps and a cappella ... so that one is always one of my favourites. It would be weird to do a show and not play that song.”
After winding up her Give Me My Name Back Australian tour in Perth tonight, the Sydney-born Melbourne-based singer-songwriter is gearing up to perform at Splendour in the Grass next month.
“My album will be out at that point, so I’ll have a whole new album for people to listen to,” she says.