Article and Interview by Megan Vineberg
Artist: Megan Collins
Album: “You Take Me Home” (E.P.)
Date: July 24
Megan Collins, country superstar, tells me all about her new album, “You Take Me Home.” After just a couple of listens to unrelated cover songs, I was hooked. There’s a sense of rawness in Megan’s voice that tells you she’s been through some real things in life. Humble is an understatement when describing her. She is a force to be reckoned with, but in my experience, charming and full of wit. “Big Man,” paints the picture of a man who cannot get over himself, and is overcompensating for it. I think as a woman, it’s almost a rite of passage so to speak that you encounter a guy like that, and even knowing this, sometimes, we just can’t help ourselves. It’s in the process of getting to know this man’s faults, his quirks, his deep underbelly that Megan finds it’s at her expense. When you give selflessly like that, people may give back or appreciate you but more likely, they’ll take advantage of the opportunity, and that’s exactly what this man did. Rather than admit to it, he lies shamelessly and he likely doesn’t realize it, but it changes the entire dynamic of the relationship as well as Megan’s self image. On “Used to Be,” we see how Megan seemingly becomes a different person, unrecognizable even to herself. Still trying to patch things up with her partner, she pulls a pretzel number, contorting herself into what she thinks this guy wants, all the while wondering if/how she’s the one at fault. She’s not though, as is made evident later on in the album.
“Loving you’s a game with a loaded dice/Thinking I can do no wrong but I can’t prove you right.”
“Somebody,” is a song that exudes the same effortless beauty of Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games.” Finally, Megan reaches a turning point in which she realizes she’s lost herself in the relationship
and a change is needed. She almost becomes more comfortable in that situation rather than walking towards a future unknown. Still, she’s come to the conclusion that this person clouds her judgement, a master of illusion. This line is particularly cutting, showing just how strongly insecurity can rear its ugly head:
“The demons inside me/are making a house/a home out of me”
“This Is Why I Don’t Make Plans,” sees Megan in the uncomfortability of the modern dating scene. Instead of being excited to celebrate something like a birthday out on the town, she’d rather just sit at home alone drinking champagne. Megan realizes she is the first real thing her lover has ever had, after he finally calls her up saying he misses her. It’s a case of the grass not being greener here, and gives up on trying to change him. “By My Side,” sees Megan in a much healthier and happier state, learning from her past and opening up to new love. Without this person, things aren’t as magnetizing, but there isn’t the same need as with previous partners.
I really loved hearing about the things she’s been introduced since meeting this other person, exploring every corner of the Earth. There’s a deep friendship, what should be the foundation of every relationship, and a love there that wasn’t present in the past. “Do You Love Me Too?” starts out with the intro as the sound of a radio switching on, or an old-school vinyl record playing. Megan’s finally fallen for someone, and she doesn’t know if she should tell them! Very relatable, I found myself remembering the first and only time I said that to someone I was with. The new guy describes Megan as experiencing life as “all or nothing,” and after sitting down with her, I’d have to agree with all the overthinking occupying her time.
“You and Me” is a beautifully written piece, a piano ballad, touching on the things people do out of love, and stating how they’re not like those people but that there is still love. Megan in her head voice really caught me by surprise, in the best way possible. She talks about growing old with this person, again highlighting a deep companionship. There’s a certain peace that I think she feels around this person that didn’t happen before. My favorite, I have to say, is the title track. It’s familiar, and somehow still sounds fresh and innovative. You notice how Megan feels a kinship with her partner, much like in Taylor’s Swift’s “Invisible String,” who makes her feel at home with him. She bears it all, saying how she feels a sense of comfort and familiarity on a soul level, like they’ve known each other for lifetimes when they had only just met. It’s not just a sensual connection, or one that’s intellectually stimulating, he’s got it all.
“I’ve come a long way/To end up in a strange place/But there’s something about your face/That feels like home/You take me home/Got that familiar feeling/That warms my soul”
After interviewing Megan, I reached out and she was an absolute pleasure to converse with. We went back and forth trading war stories of past relationships, like we were old friends. I told her about why my name has changed, and she let me in on the people who inspired the album. She was even able to relate on the topic of hard drives crashing. We’ve both lost music to our hard drives, but have come out the other end of it stronger! From a production standpoint, what Megan did here is phenomenal. While she’s had other EPs released, “You Take Me Home,” is Megan’s debut album and I applaud her efforts in writing, recording and producing the record all on her own. She’s clearly been taking some notes from her team because she nailed it on this run. I’m especially excited for the collaborations she has planned to the surprise of her fans.
The story unveiled on You Take Me Home is one we’re all familiar with… the journey of falling in and out of love with someone else, and the path to finding the pieces of ourselves. Megan displays a vulnerability that not many people like to access, and that’s when someone makes a fool of you, only to lie about it when you ask. As someone who has experienced this one too many times, it’s a soft blow to the ego listening to “Is It Easier to Lie,” bringing memories back of a time when I felt exactly as Megan describes. I felt cut down to size, being manipulated by someone who I thought I could trust with my life. This particular experience came up in conversation with Megan as we went over the tracklisting, and the intention behind it. Casual listeners may not realize this, but as artists, we place tracks in a specific order on an album, extended play (EP) or long play (LP), or mixtape, with the intent of them being listened to that way in order to tell a story. I listened straight through from “Big Man”, a sleight at someone who thinks they're above everyone else, to the titular track, a recognition of a person makes you realize all that you need is within you: love, for yourself, and once you have that, you find it in others. You find fulfillment. It’s a beautiful picture Megan paints, of growth and coming into her own as a woman. I’m more than anticipating her next record, wherever it may find her.
I sat down with Megan because I had lots of questions about her album, "You Take Me Home," now available on all streaming platforms.
Vineberg: “Funny enough, my name was going to be Megan Collins. The long and short of it is that it was changed.”
Oh no way! That's so funny!
Vineberg: “Can you tell me a little about what this record represents for you? This is my first listen to you ever but I was enamored by your tone especially and the delicate emotion in your vocals. Did you write material before this, or is this your first full-length?”
Yes, of course, thank you so much! So without really intending to, the album sort of represents a diary entry of me, coming of age, finding love and losing love and finding it again in my early 20s. I wrote my first EP by myself, but left the producer (Garry McCarthy) to his full devices with various notes of mine here and there. For my second EP, I co-write that with Darren Martyn (DM Unsigned), who also produced and mixed it. This album however is completely written by me, composed by me and produced by me, so it's very much my whole self on the record! It's something I'm definitely very proud to say, not only as an independent artist, but also as a woman in the industry!
Vineberg: “Are there any tracks that you would’ve liked to make a single that weren’t?”
Oh absolutely! There's a track on my album called 'Big Man' and I wrote it about a guy who constantly felt the need to mansplain everything to me because I was a lot younger than him and not as experienced as him. He fed his ego all the time, and, naturally, I got sick of it. I would talk to some of my friends about it and we all agreed that the best reaction is no reaction and not to feed into his ego. So I wrote 'Big Man' as a sort of silent middle finger to him, haha!
Vineberg: “Can we maybe hear a snippet of any unreleased songs that didn’t make the cut?”
Y'know I would also love to hear a snippet of the unreleased songs, but unfortunately a week before my album was due to release, my hard drive completely died on me, causing me to lose most of my unfinished demos! Absolute nightmare. Luckily, I still have the lyrics on my laptop, so I can still probably revive them.
Vineberg: “What do you plan to do now that you’ve released your record? Any plans for another, or will you stick with singles?”
Well, I'm writing a lot, still. I am definitely going to be experimenting more with my sound! I'm also looking to start co-writing again with some talented musician friends of mine! Who knows, maybe a collaborative album/EP might come about!
Vineberg: “How do you plan to combat the effects of COVID with live music venues possibly shutting down?”
Ah… The C word! Honestly, it's been tough. I haven't been able to perform live to promote my album and so I've had to bombard my friends and family to get onboard with my reckless and annoying promotion on social media. Luckily, they're all as mad as me, so they helped me out a lot! With regards to the music venues shutting down, I would love to see an event like a virtual festival/variety/collaborative show in aid of these struggling venues, where you get various artists under one roof and sell tickets that will give you exclusive access to the show. Maybe get artists that wouldn't typically duet to Collab on a few songs together as well - who knows! These times are so difficult and confusing for everyone in this industry at the moment, we've never been in this position before!
Vineberg: Do you have any tips for anyone who might be in a similar situation as what you described on Big Man?
Collins: I took myself home! Haha. Out of sight, out of mind. I always find you lose them how you got ‘em in the first place. If they’ll cheat for you, they are more than likely to cheat on you and vice versa. The best way to move forward is to let go. It was tough, but you then feel so much better for it.
Vineberg: I always write from personal experience, with a bit of drama mixed in. Do you as well, or do you enjoy creating via your imagination? I’m curious based off of the tracklisting. It sounds like it could be a situation where it sounds like you’re going to be with one person, but by the end of it, you realize you’re better off with another. Or even one of those right person-wrong time situations where there’s more growth to be had before the relationship can flourish.
I've always written from personal experience but if it's not a massively entertaining story, I'll write about what a friend has gone through or watch a scandalous series on Netflix to get some inspo.
So the tracklisting is essentially a story where you meet the main character just as she's coming out of a long term relationship and can't stand to be around this person anymore. She's lost all sense of self, and feels like her world is falling apart... (dramatic, I know!). That is, until she meets this other guy and falls absolutely head over heels for him. He helps her to grow quite a bit into her best self. Towards the end of the album she recognizes what unconditional love is supposed to feel like, as opposed to what she thought it was. She has now realized that the feeling of 'home' is more of a familiarity in a person, rather than some bricks and cement.
In other words, it’s not where you are at that makes the home. It’s who you surround yourself with, and what intuitively feels best for you! A huge thank you to Megan Collins for chatting with me on the album, love, life, and everything in between!
Megan Collins newest album, “You Take Me Home,” is now available for streaming on all platforms.
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