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Megan Palmer Finds Creative Home in Nashville

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It’s shaping up to be a very memorable year for Megan Palmer. The talented singer-songwriter has been preparing for this musical moment, to step out on her own after a few years in Nashville learning with friends within her new musical community. Check out the beautiful results for yourself and read on for more about the blossoming opportunities in front of her.

In your video, you said it’s time for you to take a step forward. Have you been hesitant to do that before?

Yes! Even though I’ve been writing songs for a very long time, and have even made some recordings, I have spent most of my time these past few years as a band member or side person. Although sometimes it is easier to play that role, I am ready to showcase more of my own material that I have been working on.

When I moved to Nashville three years ago, I was slightly overwhelmed at the quality of the writers I was meeting, and felt like I needed to take some time to recalibrate myself. I realized it was even more important to be a ‘listener.’ I started to go out and watch artists more often, and learn from some of the greats I was seeing. For instance, in Nashville you can see John Prine live at the Ryman a couple times a year. He has a lot of wisdom to share.

Was there a moment that made you say, “Now is the time”?

I had been thinking about making this recording for about a year, and when it all fell into place with the musicians I was hoping to work with (Jon Radford, Tony Scherr, Larry Cook, Tim Easton) and the studio (Patrick Damphier at Club Roar) was available and ready, I saw it as the right time to give it a shot. Once the music was recorded, I realized I needed extra help with the final push to get it heard by more people than just my friends.

Do you enjoy the creative environment in Nashville?

I moved to Nashville from Brooklyn to take over a lease from a friend, Tim Easton, who was buying a house. I was at my wit’s end in Brooklyn. As cool as it is to have immediate access to anything you want in the world, it wasn’t working for me creatively because of the financial requirements to exist in that place. I found I was working more and making music less. Places were shutting down, and the number of gigs in NY was dwindling. I couldn’t get away to tour very often, because I had to keep working at my hospital job so I could afford to live there.

Moving to Nashville felt like a nice way to break the cycle and move somewhere that music was the central focus. Once I got there, I found the space in my head to write again, and the ‘creative recovery’ I was looking for. I felt more inspired, and I started finding ways to hang out with musicians and collaborate with other artists. Even when I interviewed for my job at Vanderbilt as a nurse, they had a guitar on display, and my future boss and I started working on co-writes together right after I got hired.

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You mentioned you’re also an RN that works in Palliative Care. What specifically is that and how has that trade/vocation affected your songwriting?

Yes, I work at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Palliative Care. Palliative Care is a unique part of the medical world that helps people manage diseases that cannot be cured. We take care of people who may not survive their illness and find ways to manage their symptoms so they can have a better quality of life for their last months/weeks/days on earth. I’ve worked in other areas in the past but this is definitely my ‘vocation’ in the field of nursing. I find it challenging but also rewarding, and I am so honored to be part of that chapter in people’s lives.

I think that my songwriting has been influenced deeply by the experiences I’ve had as an RN, because working in that environment really demands a creative outlet. Plus, I think as nurses it is very important to learn the art of communication. Finding the clarity, or the ‘voice,’ is a huge part of creation as well. As soon as I found that voice in me, I felt like I understood myself better, and that made my writing stronger. I also believe it is a lifelong process, so I guess I will always be working at it to some degree — nursing, music, communication, all of it together. [Laughs]

You’re in London right now for the first time. It seems like it’s already shaping up to be a magical year for you. Does it feel that way from your end?

It is definitely a dynamic time for me! I feel so fortunate to be on tour in England/Netherlands/Germany. I believe traveling is a huge part of creative influence for me. I especially love to see places I have never been, and meet the people of those regions and learn about how they live. I think I’ve always been somewhat ‘nosy’ so I want to see it all. I try not to stare into too many strangers’ windows but I have a curiosity for life and how people live their lives. Also I’ve noticed that people in general are looking for ways to connect, and that music can be a universal language for that connectivity that we long for.

After Europe I have a west coast run in May, and then Midwest in June, Oklahoma/Colorado in July, and Alaska in August, so there is a lot more to look forward to! Luckily my nursing job is very supportive and flexible with my touring schedule.

Some of the artists you recorded with have had PledgeMusic campaigns of their own, right? Is that how you found out about PM?

I’ve worked with both Amy Speace and Tim Easton in their bands, and they both have been very supportive and have also appeared on my record. They recommended PledgeMusic to me as a way to get the help I need to get my record out! I’m getting ready for the final push with 20 days to go, and I still have a ways to go, so I am really hoping for the best. I’m so grateful to everyone who has already pledged!

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Megan Palmer

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