Megan Washington is a two-time ARIA Award winner, APRA Award winner, multi-platinum album selling artist – and Kawai ambassador.
When did you realise you wanted to be a musician?
This might sound trite but I don’t think any musician ever really decides that they want to do music, you either kind of do it or you don’t. It’s just kind of inside you the whole time. For me that’s absolutely the case – I have always been really zoomed in to the musical aspect of whatever I am doing.
Who inspired you the most and why?
My mum is a huge inspiration to me, in terms of her work ethic and determination to make the impossible possible, as you can imagine there’s a lot of that in this business! Creatively I have always been attracted to artists like Rufus Wainwright, and Leonard Cohen, Tim Burton, Gene Kelly. I like showbiz.
What is an average day like for you?
Honestly? At the moment it’s about being constantly adaptable – writing this as I am from deep inside a Covid-19 world. Making space in my day to play the piano is the hardest part at the moment. I try to play for at least an hour every day – with no expectation. Just practicing, working out the chords to a new song I’ve heard that I like, that sort of thing. Just to be at it.
What are some of your favourite performance venues?
Well – here in Brisbane I love the Old Museum, and the Tivoli as well. I cannot WAIT to play the Fortitude Music Hall that’s just opened up. Playing at the Opera House is always a pinch-me moment, which I’ve been fortunate enough to experience a few times. Mostly I care about the audience, not really the venue. I love small, tight crowds, where the audience is really engaged and it becomes more like a dialogue between me and them. The Corner in Melbourne is great for that.
What do you consider “success” as an artist?
I don’t consider it! Kryptonite! I just try to follow whatever excites me. The biggest regrets of my career have always happened when I took the advice of other people telling me “how to be successful”. I think just being authentic and trying to create something new without being obviously derivative is the game. True success comes through learning how to hide what you’ve stolen!
How do you interact with and respond to fans?
I love my fans. I love social media. I especially love release time when I have a reason to be on instagram every day! I have to ration my time, though, so when I’m not promoting a release I have to really curfew how many hours I spend on SM. I love meet and greets after shows, too. I love to meet them.
What would you consider to be a highlight of your career thus far and why?
I’ve just put the finishing touches on my 4th album, which will be coming out in August 2020. That’s my current career highlight because I produced it myself, along with engineering all my own vocals in lockdown!
Have you ever doubted yourself along the way, and what did you do about it?
Of course. I have a general rule of thumb which is that if I’m terrified of doing something, it’s probably going to be great. If I feel comfortable or safe about a release, I usually feel a bit ‘meh’ after it comes out. So I’m learning to lean into that terror.
What’s your pet hate in performance?
Bad acting is always pretty funny. Or people who believe their press release. In general, whenever I’m consuming any art form, I always ask myself whether the creator made this to give something to the world, or whether they made it to take something for themselves. Are they giving or taking? When I sing, I ask myself the same question. Because I want to give, always. But sometimes, when I am feeling weak, or intimidated, I take, out of fear. Sometimes other people do that too, which is not a vibe.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t listen to anyone who reckons they know what is best for you.
Favourite musical quote?
It’s not musical, but I live by ‘the cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek’. That’s Joseph Campbell, whose work all writers ought to read.
Where was the most random or unlikely place you’ve performed?
Which country or venue have you not yet performed in but would like to?
I’d love to perform in Japan. I love Japan.
Did you consider any other potential career paths?
Well, writing music has led me to other writing in other genres now, which I am really enjoying. But I think I would have been a great shrink, maybe, because I’ve had to have a lot of therapy!
What is the best and worst thing about being a musician?
Waking up every morning and having to create your reason for existing!