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Meg Smith’s Music Murders the Mundane (and Maybe Your Dad)

Meg Smith is the TuneCore/SPIN Artist of the month for May
Meg Smith (Photo Credit: Danica Robinson)

When Meg Smith was 15-years-old, she and her mom took a batch of brownies and a freshly-made demo to every major pop radio station in California. The LA-born Smith had only started making music three years earlier, but after taking up ukulele in middle school and teaching herself to play guitar, she became obsessed with song writing. Admittedly, nothing came from the coastal road trip, and though the now-24-year-old artist boasts a brave face and a confident demeanor, she remains honest about her thoughts on rejection.

“Something fun about the music industry is that every time you think you have a win, you get knocked down…[earlier this year] I met with a bunch of record labels – probably 20 different ones – and some of them gave me verbal offers, I got a written offer, and every single one of them fell through. And it’s weird to say that and almost embarrassing, but that is the truth of the situation.”

Back in 2023, Smith pumped out an EP called Rom Com Pop. The album’s title precisely describes Smith’s sound and even her aesthetic. Bordering on meta or even nostalgia pop – that’s to say, Meg’s music (and fashion) presents as intentionally candied and laden with throwback themes of layers, low rise jeans, and 2000s lovelorn-ness – Smith’s songwriting is both intelligently comedic and self-aware, despite (or, perhaps, due to it) possessing levels of deranged infatuation.  

“[The idea of] ‘romcom pop’…came from this love of guitar-driven pop music with very big emotions, like, taking an emotion to the extreme. Romcom pop is like, ‘what’s the big song playing during the break up scene?’ or ‘what’s that song that’s playing when the credits roll or the main characters kiss?’ What do those songs sound like? That’s romcom pop.”

These days, Smith daylights as a nanny in New York and moonlights as a popstar who’s about to go on two tours. Come June, Smith will be the supporting act for Queen Baby’s Converse-sponsored Rule Summer tour, and in September, she’ll hit the road with Zolita for The Queen of Hearts cross-country trek. Both campaigns come on the heels of two of Smith’s big releases, “Do You Like Me?” and “Jesus Christ in a Mini Skirt.” The former aptly sounds like the distant cousin to Kim Wilde’s 1981 hit “Kids in America” – a song that opens the iconic 1995 film Clueless. And the latter carries lines like “I wanna kill your dad” and a bitchin’ sax solo that sends the track straight back to the glitzy, mirror-stacked suites of the ‘80s while somehow remaining both Y2K-centric and aggressively in the now. 

“I have a list of the weirdest things you could say to someone if you were, like, obsessed with them or really liked them. I’ve dated a lot of people with shitty dads, so I was just thinking, like, what’s one of the things I’d want to do for them? [laughs]. So, I had that line, and Jackson Hoffman, [my co-writer & co-producer on “Jesus Christ in a Mini Skirt”], was like ‘let’s go with that one!’ As a woman, I’ve been in situations where I felt like I needed to turn myself into some type of caricature [for the other person to like me]. That never works. So we got to talking about that…how you could be this perfect porn star meets manic pixie dream girl, and it still doesn’t mean everyone’s gonna love you…and I was like ‘I could be Jesus Christ in a mini skirt.’”

If you’ve ever seen Romeo + Juliet (the Claire Danes one), tuned into the ceaseless relationship drama of Sex and the City, popped in a DVD copy of Romy & Michelle’s High School reunion, or jammed after school to Letters to Cleo, then you’ve also somehow been connected to Meg Smith in 2024. But it’s important to note that unlike the aforementioned, Smith isn’t just a character or a soundtrack. Though she finds inspiration in pop-culture fiction and figures of the past, she’s very much grounded in reality, in the here and now. 

“I got drinks recently with some songwriter friends of mine. One of them was talking about, like, those musicians you meet and you can just tell they’re kind of pretending to be a real person. I think for musicians, because a lot of what we have to do happens online, there’s this pressure to kind of develop a persona. So you do meet some artists who are really good at pretending, which is okay. But I showed up to drinks that day in a hot pink outfit with a sparkly seashell purse, and one of my friends said something along the lines of, ‘I love that you’re not pretending. You just are this person.’ My persona is all the parts of my real self that I’m really excited about, just exaggerated, plugged into an amp.”

So, What’s next for Meg Smith, the artist who has used rejection, perseverance, and independence to streamline her focus and become a master of discernment? She’s not selling her catalog, despite having offers, or signing two-year contracts in exchange for six-months of financial ease, that’s for sure. Meg is one of Spotify’s Pop Rising Artists to Watch, “Jesus Christ in a Miniskirt” is rotating in BBC 1’s “Future Pop” programming, and the song has crossed 1M streams on Spotify. But this success is new and Smith is familiar with the fickle nature of the industry. For now:

“I’m excited to go on tour and have a period of time to just play shows and work on music full-time. But long term, I just want to build community around what I’m doing. I want to play shows where people can show up alone because they know they’re gonna make friends while standing in line. I want to make music and art that’s interesting. There’s a lot of noise right now in the industry, and pop gets a bad rep, so I want to keep pushing myself to make music that’s not boring.”

Meg’s next single “Emotional Affair” – a bubblegum track about the dark side of cheating with the heart and not the hands – is set to drop on June 14.