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Early in my meeting with rising alternative rocker Meg Myers at her quiet home in South Pasadena, I use the word “juxtaposition” in a description of her work. “I love that word,” she tells me excitedly, taking on a wide-eyed, highly-engaged energy that characterizes our time together.
“I just feel like that’s me in so many ways,” she continues. “Really extreme light and dark. I like incorporating extremes like that.”
On her sophomore album, Take Me To The Disco, Myers relishes in her ability to oscillate between influences, aesthetics, and even vocal deliveries. The album can sound like a throwback to ’90s alternative radio on the single “Numb,” can shake with intimacy and immediacy on the subdued title track, and explores electronic textures on “Little Black Death.” None of these temporary rabbit holes find Myers completely disappearing from view. She’s always there, peeking her head out, casting her distinct point of view at the center of all her explorations.
Raised in Tennessee in a strict religious household, Myers moved to Los Angeles at 20 to pursue her musical dreams. On her debut album, 2015’s Sorry, Myers quickly found success both on the airwaves (both “Sorry” and “Desire” cracked the top 20 on the alt charts) and for her kinetic live persona. But in the years since she parted ways with her label Atlantic Records in order to release this new collection that delves into the parts of herself she’d long kept out of the spotlight.
“In the past, I was so connected to pain and that was it,” she tells me between puffs of her American Spirit as we sit in her backyard during a particularly brutal Los Angeles heat wave. “But because of the work I’ve been doing, I’m connected to myself in a deeper way. I’m starting to understand some of the pain and transform it into beauty or creativity.”
Her newest effort is exactly that, beautiful and creative. It’s the work of an artist that has looked at herself in the mirror and dared to examine her past in the hopes of a healthy and happy future. It’s not so much self-absorbed as it is self-aware, as she has collaborated with producer Leggy Langdon on music that is less concerned with what other people expect her to sound like and more concerned with accurately representing herself. She puts her secret pretty frankly: “The deeper you are able to connect with yourself, the deeper you can connect to other people.”
I spoke with Myers about growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness, her powerful video for “Numb” that explores how women are treated in the workplace, and the healing power of music.