Meg Lawrenson is a young singer / songwriter that we met at Creation Fest performing in the Big Shed Café. Originally from Southampton and growing up as a Pastor's daughter we asked her some questions about life in the Church and her first steps into the world of Christian music, her last EP and working towards a new release. Meg has a vulnerability in her voice but a determination in the Spirit and wisdom beyond her years. Have a read and then check out her YouTube Page - Meg and Coffee.
Meg told me that last year she had only played at one small venue at Creation Fest in 2015 and 2016 was a bigger thing for her, playing every day apart from Sunday. She plays by herself with some support from her friend Nicky G who accompanied her on the Cajon for some of the sets.
Meg grew up through the Church with her Dad as the Pastor so I wondered what it was like to be in that position. “As long as I can remember, apart from when I was very, very young, he's been a pastor. I think our Church has been around for thirteen or fourteen years so it's something that I'm used to - him being a pastor.” She explains that “People always assume that I struggle with it” but it’s clear that she is happy with this situation. Although she has been in Church all her life it is only recently that she become more serious about faith. “About a year ago I actually became serious about it and I said "God I want to put you first" and I think as soon as that happened I've loved my dad for being a Pastor.” However she confesses playfully, “Of course if I want any advice I won't go to him even though he's a Pastor!” Meg continues “He is so inspirational, but people ask me who is your favourite person to listen to and I always say "oh, my Dad". I love it, I know a lot of people struggle with it, but I love it!”
Church has always been a part of her life and I was trying to probe her feelings about church before this new commitment. “I love church. I was home schooled for quite a large part my life so it was just something we did and I liked the food after.” Was this a hint that it was the community rather than the message? “No, I liked the message and doing all the Sunday School stuff, but that was when I was young, and it just became routine and you fall in love with the people that you meet there and I have been very, very blessed, God has really blessed me with my church and my Dad.”
So moving on to music, Meg has released one EP in 2015 and is waiting to release a new one. “"This Is What Happens" is my last EP which is still available now, but I've developed very much in my music, especially now my faith is getting stronger.” The new EP is called “Don’t Fall in Love” and has no firm release date yet, but for the latest info you can check her Facebook page. She describes this EP as “a very testimonial piece” and that the tracks are “in an order of what the last year of my life has been about and there has been a lot of hurt and brokenness, it's all been to do with love. In the end it's about God's love that has pulled me through and that is why we should fall in love with Him. The running theme is about the brokenness of this world and the heart and the lack of hope. There is one song in there which is about there being no hope in this world.”
The discussion turns to the inspirational passages of the Bible that are similar to these. Some of the Psalms have a dark edge to them while Ecclesiastes is partially about the lack of hope and futility of life, at least from one perspective.
A good artist is always looking for an opportunity to develop and Meg is no different. When I spoke to her she was looking forward to starting University to study song writing. In the meantime she has taken a year out, but that was also a development opportunity. “I have been working with a recording studio, I've done stuff like that and I have been working with my church so it's been a productive year and I have developed in my song writing within that. This next year and for the next three years I am doing song writing in University, so it's going to be intense.”
I know that University can often be a challenging place for someone looking to study something that comes from the heart, especially when it comes from the conviction of faith. I asked Meg how it might challenge her to write to their request rather than from the heart. “It's always going to come from the heart regardless of whatever they tell me to write. If it's on demand then obviously it's not something that's going to be my best piece of work anyway. People are a bit worried because it's in Brighton and they're worried they are going to ask me to write songs about weird stuff. Do you know what, I'm not gonna, because I am God's child before I am a song writer!”
Now this opens up a whole can of worms within the Christian music industry. Talking to bands some are out there saying “we’re all about Jesus” and others say “we’re Christians but we don’t want to talk about our faith” and even at a Christian venue like Creation Fest there are conflicting views. So given the statement above I asked Meg, as someone starting out, what her view was on that.
“Well I think that if you are solid and rooted in your faith then whatever you do is going to be a reflection of Christ anyway. You don't necessarily have to be very black and white about it in your songs, or the way that you are working. You don't have to say His name all the time but the things that you'll do in your actions should reflect who He is.”
Here she sets out an example from her upcoming EP, “My songs are not always Christian, they don't always have Jesus in them, they don't always have God in them but there is a message. There is one song I sang today called "I'm Going to Move to the Mountain" and the main line is there's nothing for me here, it's a place where you get when you're out of hope. Hope is a major theme in the Bible, and you know what, my life without Jesus is that hopeless.”
Meg finishes with some words of wisdom. “I think you just need to be rooted in Jesus and invite the Holy Spirit into your workplace and when there is an opportunity to talk about Jesus then you should do, but you don't have to be black and white about it either, it should be something that overflows anyway.” I think that is something most of us can apply wherever we find ourselves, invite the Holy Spirit into your day to day and see where He leads.
I contacted Meg about the release of her EP which was expected late last year, instead of releasing 1 EP of the songs, they will be released as singles through the coming year. Keep an eye on Meg's Facebook Page and YouTube for further updates.