Origins is a recurring new music feature that finds us giving an artist the chance to explain the influences behind their latest single.
Ever since being dubbed the Unearthed Artist of the Year by Triple J radio five years ago, Australia’s Meg Mac has risen steadily towards superstar status. However, such success brings with it the headaches of an industry that often thinks it knows better than the artist. To her credit, the soulful songwriter is making sure to stay true to herself, and she’s encouraging her fans to do the same with her new music.
As Mac gears up for the release of her sophomore follow-up to 2017’s Low Blows, she’s started to trickle out fresh songs. Late last year, she shared the lead single “Give Me My Name Back”, a track about marginalized groups regaining their identity. Now, she’s back with another new cut, “Something Tells Me”, which is all about ignoring the voices around you to find the strength to be yourself.
The snappy pop beat of “Something Tells Me” bounces over a relieved piano line, a gentle stroll of notes that mirrors the heartening feeling of achieving self-assurance. As it builds upon itself, Mac’s own vocal melody comes with a tinge of pity; she sings of being “better when you’re gone” with a sense of dark sympathy for someone who needs to puff themselves up by taking influential control over another. “How could I ever, ever let ya/ Make me believe that you knew better,” she sings on the first verse. “I’m gonna teach you how to let go/ Like no one has ever, ever said no.”
Take a listen to the track, which was written alongside Sarah Aarons (Zedd’s “The Middle” and “Stay”), below.
For more into the inspiration behind “Something Tells Me”, Mac has broken down the track’s Origins.
“Something Tells Me” is about the decisions and choices you make based on what other people tell you you should or shouldn’t do. Not doing that anymore, not listening to the people around you, and trying to work out what you really want to do.
You’re often indirectly informed by your past and I’d been reflecting on where I come from; my Irish background, the music and singing that filled the house, and there was also that feeling when you see the house you used to live in and you remember that whole part of your life and how things have changed, but the house is still the same.
Just Kids by Patti Smith:
Reading Patti Smith’s book Just Kids was very inspiring; she is looking back at her past and telling the story. I was in the process of packing up and getting ready to move house. I started to go through everything and found piles of things I had kept; boarding passes from tours and subway tickets from New York, foreign money etc… so many little memories just in a shoebox.
Nina Simone and Gil Scott-Heron:
Music is always filtering through and though not directly influencing the song somehow informing it. I was listening to Nina Simone’s Piano album a lot and also Gil Scott-Heron. There’s something about the strength and attitude of these artists that I connected with.