When I first heard that a girl from The Only Way Is Essex was going to have her own mini documentary series on trying to make it as a country singer out in Nashville I cringed with the rest of the UK country fan base but just like many, I knew that curiosity was going to make me watch it.
I didn’t know anything about Megan Mckenna as had only seen her on Celebrity Big Brother but I do remember her singing on the show and sounding really lovely.
The start of There’s Something About Megan gives us a slight introduction to Megan, we are told she has a demo deal in the UK and that she is trying to get the approval in Nashville. We see Megan arriving in Nashville with her luggage, being picked up and taken to her home for the duration of her visit.
Stereotyping country music a bit and country life, Nashville takes Megan by surprise and isn’t what she expected , she didn’t expect it be a lively town but instead imagined it would be in the middle of nowhere with just a few bars where people get up and sing. This did make me wonder if she had even researched the place but then with her lifestyle and the UK’s perception of country music, I can imagine she wouldn’t of expected it to be as active as it is.
Another reality that seemed to hit Megan was she didn’t seem to realise just how competitive the country music industry is, especially within music city. Country music isn’t exactly mainstream in the UK so it wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of people would think that being British and wanting to pursue a country music career is something unique and relatively easy or that there would be so many people fighting to make it but in Nashville, pretty much everyone is a musician – they say that as a songwriter you go out there and find that your waiter is a better songwriter than you are.
On Megan’s first day her management set up a meeting with talent agency UTA who represent Dolly Parton amongst many other big names. Megan’s management also rent her a shiny red Chevy truck to fit in with the typical country scene.
Megan meets Nick Meinema who co runs the Nashville office of UTA and he gives Megan a few home truths and advice about the industry and just how harsh it can be but is impressed with her vocal ability. Singing Rascal Flatts – Bless The Broken Road in front of Nick, Megan proves she has a nice, pretty and above average voice with quite a stunning natural country tone to it.
Right away, Megan goes downtown to find herself a guitarist to work with to provide vocals as well as accompaniment for any shows she may do during her stay. Megan goes into Nashville venue The Stage to watch a couple of singer/songwriter/guitarists perform, one being Greg Oliveras who she picks to work with her. Embarrassing her self slightly at The Stage when she first meets them, Megan tells the then potential guitarists and their friends that she is obsessed with Miley Cyrus to which she receives a rather laughable response but hey, I love Miley too.
The next day we see Megan attempt to find bars who will allow her to perform but this is Nashville, you need to book in advance, have representation, audition or jump through various other hoops which Megan was not expecting. Having made no progress securing a performance slot, Megan receives an unexpected call from Lizard at Bobby’s Idle Hour who has had a last minute cancellation and is willing to give her a spot on a songwriters round in exchange for a few hours bar work – you gotta pay your dues in music city.
One of the worst things that can happen to you as a singer is to get ill, what’s even worse is getting ill when you are in Nashville for the first time and days away from your first ever show as an aspiring artist. Alas, this happened to poor Megan as she is told by the doctor that she has bronchitis – not a great start. Despite this Megan has a great night playing music with Greg who I really liked and she sings Tennessee Whiskey orginally by George Jones but more recently made famous by Chris Stapleton.
Arriving for her shift at the bar, Megan performs in the songwriters round later that evening despite her cough and pulls it off rather well. Megan lucks out with Beth Nielson Chapman being in the audience and agreeing to write with her. Beth is a Grammy winning singer/songwriter who has also written for many great artists including This Kiss by Faith Hill which had success in the UK and other artists such as Martina McBride and Trisha Yearwood to name a few. The session, that we see later shows a not so confident Megan who has little experience in songwriting and seems to be very nervous around Beth and somewhat embarrassed to open up to her.
Music producer Alan McKendree Palmer was also in the audience to meet Megan and watch her performance as well as giving her feedback. Some advice her gives her is to stay out on a farm and experience the life her potential audience will be living – we only get a small insight to this, hopefully we will have more to see next episode but it’s safe to say Megan wasn’t looking forward to it but just like country singer Cam says “Country ain’t never been pretty.”
There were a fair few country songs being played in the background throughout the show with obvious choice Dolly Parton but also some nice surprises such as UK country duo The Shires who managed to have three songs featured – Nashville Grey Skies, Not Even Drunk Right Now and All Over Again. Having The Shires music featured was nice to hear as The Shires are a great representation and example for UK country music and how you can have a successful career from it – they have after all had a number 10 album with their debut record Brave and number 3 album with their follow up release My Universe.
Other songs featured which I picked up on were Brothers Osborne – Ain’t My Fault and Zac Brown Band – Jump Right In.
Megan does come across well on this show and has a lot of likeability, her personality is quite infectious and she doesn’t appear to be stuck up or high maintenance which is nice, I had no idea what to expect from her really as I do not watch TOWIE but I definitely found myself warming to her as a person. I liked how Megan was down to earth and quite clueless, this gave her quite a charming and innocent edge which I think a lot of people will find adorable and certainly memorable.
I am interested to see where this show and this experience gets Megan. Having a tv crew behind her helps but at the same time, industry professionals will not waste their time on someone they feel has no talent or someone they feel they can’t work on.
I am really looking forward to watching the rest of the series and certainly think it’s a show worth watching so far and definitely interesting. From a country fans perspective it is intriguing and makes you want to continue to watch for many reasons such as to see if she can succeed within a genre we love so much with so many great artists to compete against, to see if Megan really is familiar with the country music scene and its artists and to also see who or what may appear on the show and what music may be played. There are so many great and respected UK country artists right now such as previously mentioned The Shires, Ward Thomas who has a number one album with their second record Cartwheels, Laura Oakes, Twinnie, Catherine McGrath, Lucie Silvas and many more that it is hard to see how she can do just as well if not better but I am happy to see her become successful and hope her music is decent, I do like her voice so am hopeful.
Can she succeed? Keep watching to find out.
There’s Something About Megan continues tonight (September 4th) at 10pm ITVbe