Making a Scene Presents an Interview with Meghan Hayes!
Ever wanna lose a decade? It’s so easy, you won’t even notice the time slipping by.
Mistake presence for love, attention for commitment, success for satisfaction. Dabble in acute on chronic brain injury; jettison useful memories, pile on horrific ones. Abdicate self for “The Relationship;” glorify loyalty until you’re the only “I” in TEAM.
Keep those losses adding up, as they will. Muscle through crushing mental illness (“You always seem fine!”) by accepting support in the form of backhanded compliments and superficial praise (“You are the strongest person I know!” rains down like feathers at a pillow fight but hurts a lot worse) while you tread ice water in a deep gulf of despair that slowly freezes the fluid in your veins. So numb, you don’t recognize your own hypothermia. Per usual. Same as it ever was. Nothing new under the sun. Inertia. Evermore always.
And then the biggest of big bangs.
Eruptions, dislocations, a concussion of epiphanies. Inexplicably, suddenly you are bolting upright, awake, out of the darkness you’d otherwise been drowning in. You are hearing a few of the first words you ever claimed as your own— climb on, head down, next tentative step. Is it your own light shining the way for you to rekindle your flame? Does it matter? That short fuse, so long drenched in tears, is drying out and reaching for a spark. By some miracle, some long shot, some molecule, you’re moving, racing, sprinting towards that which once was your everything.
Music perennially offers to be a nucleus; now it returns to its role as the anchor in an ocean where strings of atoms form, then weave into ropes. Songs, words, melodies, come together to climb up, to climb out. The path is open, the need is clear, the decision is mine: succumb or save myself. I’ve seen enough leavers. Definitively, I am here to stay.
What’s that now? Oh, I’m being told that at this point in my bio, I’m supposed to give you some back story and talk about who I’ve worked with and stuff, so that if you made it this far, you’ll see that this ain’t my first rodeo. Here goes: after two critically acclaimed albums, opening dates with some of country and rock’s top musicians, and appearances at some of the most storied venues across the country, I landed in Nashville to write my third record. I’ve opened for and shared the stage with a diverse group of musicians, including Hal Ketchum, Tift Merritt, Freedy Johnston, Robbie Fulks, and Ashley McBride. I’ve performed at The Bluebird, The Birchmere, Genghis Cohen, The Family Wash, CBGBs, and Iota (R.I.P.), and a hundred other venues in cities and towns all over this country and abroad. Prior to reaching Nashville, I’d been lucky enough to have collaborated with musicians whose talents I will never match: John Jennings, John Carroll, Tom Carrico, Brad Rice, and many more to produce what the Washington Post calls “dramatic vignettes” that are a mix of “pop and country-tinged verve.” According to the Hampshire Review, I followed the “lineage that started with Emmylou Harris in the ’70s of female artists — singers and singer/songwriters — in pursuit of Americana and intelligent, heartfelt insight.”
Coming to Nashville opened my eyes and challenged me to up my game. I wrote and wrote and discarded and rewrote and learned at the feet of incredible writers. For some reason, the music community here has been kind and generous to me and I am insanely grateful for that. The musicians who play and sing on the latest record — Audley Freed, Goff Moore, Tommi Rautiainen, Dexter Green, Thayer Sarrano, Derry DeBorja, Jamie Rubin and Mando Saenz — are easily some of the most talented humans I’ve ever met, with huge hearts to match, and I’m humbled that they would be part of this project.
EVEN BEFORE THAT
I grew up traversing the United States and Europe – I moved 18 times in 18 years — and began writing and performing as a way to combat my travel fatigue. Seeking a break from my nomadic early years, I attended Swarthmore College, where I studied English and ecology. It was also where I started to earn my stripes as a poet, which would so influence many of my early songs.
To support my first album and early tours, I tried my hand at everything from tree surveying to environmental law to landscape design. It was when I was lying on my back in an operating room in Ireland in 2001, after being kicked off my flight back to the US after a bad case of food poisoning, only to be told I needed to have my appendix removed (which the doctors did… unnecessarily), that I decided to quit my odd jobs and become a full-time musician. Which lasted until about 2010, when I went to graduate school to become a nurse practitioner, which is another story entirely but which leads us back up to the top of this page.