Growing Up a U.S. Girl

Interview by Gerlin Heestermans
Photos shot by Colin Way in Toronto, Canada

American-born, Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist Meghan Remy unveils her talent in a profusion of colourful shades. New LP Half Free proves to be a gem of uplifting eccentric pop music, delivering on the promise of the singles ‘Damn that Valley’ and ‘Woman’s Work’ from her 4AD debut. Looking better than ever, Meg chatted with us about honesty, sensitivity, the influence of one’s childhood, and what it’s like to live without internet.


Last time I saw you it felt like the first time you performed. It was the first time I’ve seen you facing the audience so it felt like an actual performance.

Yeah, that took me some time. For my next tour I have a back-up singer who’s a friend of mine, and having someone up there with me helps me perform even more. The last show we played I was dancing! I mean, in my world that’s unheard of. I used to be crouched on the floor in embarrassment. It’s fun to have an ally on stage; it’s like being with a girlfriend and being silly. I’m interested in performance because I’m not an entertainer and I don’t ever want to be. I’m not up there to make people feel comfortable or groovy. I just want people to feel something – that could even be that they hated it.

I feel like the work I make is my presence

Is there a message you wanna convey through your music?

There isn’t one intentionally but just let it all hang out, basically. Be honest with yourself and others and be real about what it’s like to be a woman. Dissecting the things that make you feel bad, instead of swallowing them. That doesn’t mean you have to make art. Talk about it with your girlfriend or whatever. And not being ashamed of our bodies. They are incredible in the things that they do. We shouldn’t be ashamed: we should learn about them, learn about our cycle, know when you’re fertile… And be empowered by it! And don’t make it so easy for the man. The conversation just needs to be more open in general.

You’re not a very ‘present’ person on social media. Is that deliberate?

I made a conscious decision to stay away from that stuff. There is a U.S. Girls page but it’s run by the label and my mother-in-law [Laughs]. She’s the one that started the page I think. She loves social media! We don’t even have the internet at home. Now when we have to use the internet we have to go somewhere for it, which makes me use my time more wisely. When we’re at home we can watch movies, read, listen to music, talk. In terms of an online presence, I feel like the work I make is my presence. I say whatever I want to say and that’s the part of me I want to put out there and everything else is for me and the people I let into my life. I’m too sensitive to be posting pictures of myself all the time or searching for admiration through social media outlets. I can’t even go to my YouTube videos. On my video channel I turn off the comments ’cause I don’t want to read them.

I don’t really know how I got on this path; I just know I’ve basically been on it since day one.

How did someone so shy come to music?

I think my birth order had a lot to do with it. I have two older brothers and there’s a seven-year gap between us. My older brother is a college football coach and my middle brother is a veteran who now works at a chemical plant. My parents separated when I was pretty young and it was just me and my mom from that time. That shaped me and made me different than my family. I’m from outside Chicago, which also influenced me hugely. Growing up in such a great city where I got to go to concerts and exploit the culture. That’s all I did and that’s all I wanted to do, go to shows and be around music and learn about it. I got addicted. I don’t really know how I got on this path; I just know I’ve basically been on it since day one.

U.S. Girls plays alongside Larry Gus and Mittland Och Leo at our first ever ADE collaboration at Melkweg, Amsterdam, on 17 October. The show is free for Subbacultcha members.