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NextGen Spotlight: Megan Black

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a woman with red hair stands in a field with long grass and raises her arm in the air, making a fist

To celebrate Women's History Month, we spoke with artist Megan Black, whose feminist anthems speak up about everything from misogyny to mental health, sexuality and climate change.

Megan Black isn't afraid to use her voice. The Scottish artist has become known for her outspoken and affirming songwriting, making music to unify, resist and ultimately, create change.

Last year, the NextGen Fund artist released her EP, 'Full Circle (Part 1)' and played two shows in California - one in San Francisco and the other in Los Angeles - a big dream of hers. Kicking this year off with a bang, Megan was selected as one of Youth Music's Ones to Watch for 2024. She is currently also writing the soundtrack for a short film all about neurodivergence and grief, working on part two of her EP, and playing some shows and festivals.

We spoke with Megan about finding power in communities, reclaiming rock music and writing for her younger self.

You mix 70’s blues rock with queer feminist pop. How did you arrive at this musical fusion?

I love a lot of older rock music and wanted to replicate that sound and nostalgia in a way that felt like it was relevant to my experience. I also love a catchy riff or hook so the pop element came quite naturally. For me it’s all about bringing a sound I love into a new space. A lot of the music I love from that era feels outdated and I want to reclaim it in a way that can empower my own voice and hopefully others in the process. 

What has your experience been like as a young woman in the music industry?

My experience has been filled with a lot of challenges, as well as finding a lot of power in communities with other women and non-binary artists. I have struggled with misogyny, sexism, and the disappointment of seeing festival line ups and playlists always favouring men. Equally, I have a lot of privilege in being cis, able bodied and white, and plan to use my privilege to speak up. I want to be part of making music that brings change. There’s a lot of strength in our willingness for more diversity and we’re (slowly but) surely getting there!

Your music serves as a community for those seeking empowerment and positive change. What inspired you to focus on creating changemaking music?

I write songs for younger Megan. I want to make music that I would have felt represented by. If that helps other people too that’s an added bonus! I think music is a way for me to channel my views into something that feels powerful and fun. I think with having a sense of community, that part is just naturally happening and I’m very grateful for it. 

For so long, the patriarchy has pitted women against each other and set unrealistic standards for us to reach. Your song ‘MOTHER. SISTER. LOVER’ is a feminist anthem that spreads a message of unity between women. What role do you believe music plays in challenging and reshaping societal perceptions of women?

I think music gives us the opportunity to reach people and to build connections. Music is a fun and empowering way to talk about issues that can otherwise be super difficult and allows everyone an opportunity to have their own voice. I think music also allows people to get involved in feminism without feeling like they have to have some sort of educational background when it comes to issues. It stops information and ideas from being gatekept - it’s something we all have access to! 

Who are some of your female-identifying music inspirations? How have they shaped your own artistry?

To name a few: Lady Gaga, Little Simz and Florence Welch. I love their music and the power it holds. They all show femininity in their music and hold space for other women and non-binary people. Gaga also allowed me to question my own gender identity growing up. All of these artists give me permission to take risks in my own music and to show up for myself, other artists, and fans of my music in a way that feels empowering and authentic

Lastly, looking ahead, what are your thoughts on the future of the music industry for women, and what steps do you believe are crucial to ensuring greater representation, equity, and opportunities for female musicians moving forward?

I think it’s all about representation. If you see someone who looks like you or has a similar background to you doing something cool, it gives you permission to think you can do it too. I think it has to come from those with the most power in the music industry: streaming platforms, organisations, the media, and festivals. However, any small steps we make still have a huge impact on others. There are enough people who want there to be positive change and for the music industry to be more inclusive. I’m excited to be part of that change and hopefully it can allow for everyone to feel more represented in music. 



Connect with Megan Black:

Instagram: @meganblackmusic

TikTok: @meganblackmusic

Find out more about the Youth Music NextGen Fund here.

The Youth Music NextGen Fund has been made possible thanks to our principal partners the Players of People’s Postcode Lottery, and support from PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) and the Dr Martens Foundation. We are also grateful for our vital support from the National Lottery via Arts Council England.