Megan Nicole Interview: YouTube Star Dishes On ‘Electrified’ + Upcoming Music and Acting Projects [EXCLUSIVE]
If you've ever spent countless hours in an endless YouTube cycle trying to listen to every iteration of a One Direction cover -- or, truthfully, any pop cover -- that exists somewhere on the Internet, then you're definitely aware of Megan Nicole. After amassing an impressive following on the video sharing site, Megan decided to start uploading some of her own original material and was eventually signed to Bad Boy Records. She later left the label, decided to release music independently and put out a super fun, poppy EP that her fans are totally obsessed with.
Megan chatted with us about that whole '80s resurgence in pop music, ultimately choosing to leave her record label and her dream collaborators. Find out what she had to say in our exclusive interview below!
I noticed that your EP has a bit of an '80s vibe to it, especially the first track 'Electrified.' There's a huge '80s resurgence in pop right now, but was it a conscious decision on your part to inject that kind of sound in your music or did it just work out that way?
Yeah! It definitely has an '80s vibe. ['Electrified'] has kind of an Earth, Wind & Fire vibe to it, as far as the background vocals. I grew up listening to pop music with my dad in the car and we'd just listen to Stevie Wonder, Al Green, Earth Wind & Fire, KC and the Sunshine Band -- all that good stuff. So to see it snaking its way back around again is really exciting, and I love listening to the radio. I grew up knowing that kind of music, so I wanted to use those influences I had and it just made sense that it made its way into my music.
When did you start writing your own music? Were you writing the entire time you started to blow up on YouTube or did that come later?
I started writing probably around when I was 15, because that's when I picked up the guitar. That was also around the same time when I began to create my own music, and everything really just clicked for me and I knew this was what I was going to do. So I was writing my own songs on the side while I was also doing covers. Before YouTube I was playing in restaurants and doing open mics -- every once in a while I’d throw an original in there. And then YouTube kind of just opened doors for me, so once I felt like I had an audience to share music with I began to share my original music. I was on a major label for a couple of years, and as of last year -- wow! It’s almost a year. Time flies! -- I created my own label and it’s been cool to finally get the chance to create music and put it out there when I want to.
What made you decide to leave Bad Boy Records/Interscope?
There were a lot of changes going on internally with the labels, and it came to a point where it made sense to separate myself at the time. I had an opportunity to step back and create the kind of music I want to create. When I first signed with them, I wasn’t really sure who I was as an artist. Pop music was the kind of music I did like, but I was recording a lot of dance music while I was with the label, so I left and I got a fresh start! It was nice to begin to create and discover who I am as an artist more. I'm aways changing and evolving, but I feel like this has been a good representation and a good introduction as to who I am as an artist.
Watch Megan Nicole's 'Electrified' Video
So you see yourself mostly as a pop artist, right? Do you think that’ll change at all in the future?
Yeah, I mean who knows, right? I mean, I love pop music. The cool thing about it is a lot can really fall under the pop category. You can still have those more ballad-y songs, and then you can also have those fun, feel-good songs, you know? I actually love writing sad songs. As much as I love happy songs -- I love making people feel good and smile -- I feel like sad love songs are my forte.
Where do you get your inspiration from when you write sad stuff?
Just personal experiences, really! A lot of people know me as a very positive person and I think it’s because I channel a lot of other types of energy into the music. It’s kind of like my diary there. My self-love diary. So, yeah, it's mostly personal experiences, and also my fans have inspired me. ‘Courageous,’ on my last album, was inspired by fans. I just love ballads. I am obsessed with them, so I’ve written a lot of those. They just kind of touch on all the different types of emotions. Though, I think poppy, feel-good songs are underrated and not seen as artistic enough.
Yeah, I feel like pop as a genre in general doesn’t get enough credit. It’s hard to write a really good pop song.
It is! It really is. Like we were just discussing, with sad songs. It’s definitely a fun genre to be in and I like that I get to put a lot of different influences in there. Like a little bit of funk or a little bit of rock, you know? It's really versatile.
Will you be releasing another EP this year?
Yes! I’ve been working on new music this year, and that is the plan. I have been working on new music right now, and it’s coming together. I’m super excited, I just want to make sure I have the right songs. With the ['Escape'] EP, [those songs] were pretty much the first five songs I created. But with this one I want to really be able to take my time.
Any idea on when that might come out?
I’m hoping spring! I don’t want an angry mob at my door if it changes, but at least a new single or something hopefully by then!
Do you have any dream collaborations in mind?
I would LOVE to collaborate. Some artists that I want to collarbone with are really reaching, like dreaming big. A dream one would be Stevie Wonder. Totally have him on speed dial — not! Ed Sheeran would be really cool to write with. Also, Taylor Swift, something I like about her, she’s just very clever with lyrics. As I grow as a writer I think I’ve been able to open up more and share more of my stories, and something I admire about her is how truthful she is. She just puts everything out on the table.
Do you have anything else to add?
Just a message to my fans: Thank you for supporting me over the years and I’m excited to share music with you guys this year! Also, I’ve kind of been venturing into the world of acting. I can’t tell you anything yet, but I’m excited to explore this other love of mine!
If you're in the California area, you can catch Megan on tour with Lindsey Stirling later this month! Check out the tour dates here.