Megan Landry’s debut album ‘Stills’ reveals a young artist accomplished well beyond her years [Q&A Sesh] |
There’s no doubt that nineteen year old Megan Landry is exceptionally talented, quite gifted in fact (playing piano by ear as an infant, writing music at age eleven), something that’s immediately evident upon viewing her 2013 Music Video “Wallpaper”, a masterful visual rendering which she wrote and directed for one of her own original compositions. And yes, if you do the math, she accomplished all that when she was only seventeen.
“Music is everywhere around me. In the halls at school, on the radio, at the grocery store, in the movies I watch, the websites I visit, the TV channels I flick through. Wherever I’m going, whenever I’m going there, I’m inspired about writing music. I always have notes floating around in my head, and words waiting to be strung into a song. I am a musician. My journey has only just begun.”
The keen musical sensibility at play seems indisputable, from the sophisticated pedigree of her stated musical influences (St. Vincent, Tame Impala, Patrick Watson, Radiohead, Mother Mother) to a prolific knack for songwriting and propensity for film-making, all strongly indicative of someone on a prodigious path paved with the creative capacity to do great things. And hers is a vintage talent, brimming with an avant garde quality not to be confused with the tiger beat, pop-star phenomena of a Justin Bieber or Carly Rae Jepsen. Her creative outpouring is more fine wine than gimmicky cocktail, and the proof is in her recently released debut LP Stills. This rich tapestry of spiritualized storytelling shifts from abstract personal musings to compelling narratives, even probing the morass of societal ills that can weigh heavily on a young, empathic, unjaded mind. And ultimately, throughout the 12 song introspection there’s an omnipresent state of sonic bliss, particularly on the album’s quieter acoustic moments when the finely blended intricacies of the lyrics and music are most striking.
Expressing myself is the entire purpose of being an artist. Making a point, sharing opinions, shaking sense, primping feelings — it’s all part of it. The instruments paint the emotions and the lyrics paint the story.
For a little more insight on this intriguing young artist, the following is a Rokline Q&A session with Megan Landry …
Q & A Sesh
Rokline: You certainly had an auspicious debut with the music video “Wallpaper”, which you wrote and directed when you were just seventeen. Do you plan to pursue a career in film as well as music?
Megan Landry: I’m thinking I will as I really enjoyed it, and the two go hand in hand. I spent the the summer as a self-employed videographer / photographer. It was a last minute decision. I had two part-time jobs with minimal hours and I was studying graphic design at college. I shot mostly music videos and live performance videos for other musicians and artists. Primarily because I was immersed in the music industry so to niche myself in the scene was easy. Mostly in the local Ottawa area, but sometimes in Montreal as well. Here is a view of my most recent showreel.
I really enjoyed self-employment, and especially the video/photography business so I switched out of graphic design into interactive media design which offers classes like videography, motion graphics and photography, web and graphic design, as well as soundscapes for multimedia applications — all very ‘me’.
Rokline: Releasing music videos and a full-length album while still in High School / College is impressive, to say the least, and I understand you’ve already begun work on a 2nd album ? What do you owe this prolific creativity to, and have you had any help along the way, such as from a record label ?
Megan Landry: Thank-you, I appreciate you recognizing that. I started writing the second album even before the first was officially out. I have four written with one track almost completed in the studio. Sometimes I’ll compose for very specific reasons, and other times I just pour out whatever comes to the top of my mind. It depends on where I am, who I’m with, what’s going on in my life. I write all the songs myself with a keyboard. I write at all times of the day and night sometimes into the wee hours of the morning. I then create and direct the supporting music with sound engineer Scott Walsh at Sound Creations. Scott is also a musician and does all the guitar parts. We work well together.
I have a pub & sync deal with Streets Music, a small indie label in the UK. We met through the professional network LinkedIn.
Rokline: The music on this album can be profoundly empathic and insightful, revealing a depth and maturity that belies your young age. Is each song a personal journey for you? What usually compels you to write a song? Does it feel like you’re channeling an old soul in there?
Megan Landry: Each song has an underlying story. Sometimes influenced by things happening to me personally, or to someone very close to me. Other times though, it’s just my imagination. Some of the influencing events are too personal to share details or cross over into other people’s personal lives that I don’t feel is just my story anymore to tell.
STILLS didn’t follow a theme. I didn’t start out making an album. The first seven songs were all written very recently as well as another four that will be going on my second album, they just weren’t recorded in time for this release and I didn’t want to rush it. The last five songs on the album were written over the past two years, beginning with ‘wallpaper’ when I was still in high school.
I titled it STILLS because many of the songs on the album were released to YouTube with a ‘still video’. Me, not moving, sitting as still as I can for the duration of the song. Other things move though like in Six Feet a car will go by, backwards, as I flipped it to do that. I did the same thing for Cut To It, where the water flows backwards. The last video I made for myself was in 2013 for ‘Wallpaper’. Then I got so busy it seemed like life swallowed me up with two part-time jobs, school, friends and family. Writing music wasn’t one thing I could give up, but making videos was, something had to give. I filming myself with a tripod all the time was getting stale anyways.
While many of the videos were filmed in my house and city, Marathons was filmed on the seventh floor of a department store in San Francisco, and The Ghost was shot on the tenth floor of The Oasis Of The Seas in the Caribbean.
Rokline: Who are your favorite artists to listen to, and who do you most identify with or compare yourself to ?
Megan Landry: I don’t identify with or compare myself to any one particular artist or band. I seriously love all music, all genres. I respect what goes into creating—it’s not easy. Some of my favourite artists include St. Vincent, Lianne La Havas, Tame Impala, Patrick Watson, Muse, Radiohead, Mother Mother, Nirvana, Frank Ocean. I spend hours on the piano playing and singing a lot of the classics too, from The Beatles to Beethoven …