Learning is the Beginning: An Interview with Meagan Hickman

Photo courtesy of Petya Photo
Meagan Hickman has a clear passion when it comes to the music industry. From her days attending the Chicago Academy for the Arts and Berklee College of Music to working as a production coordinator for acts ranging from Walk the Moon to Gavin DeGraw, she’s been able to study both sides of the industry. What she has learned so far is hard to sum up in just one feature.

Her parents saw at an early age that she enjoyed singing, but she had the final say in everything she wanted to do. Voice lessons, piano lessons, choir, musical theater; she tried it all until she found her passion. That passion ultimately led her to choosing Berklee - a learning opportunity of a lifetime.

While studying at Berklee, Hickman not only honed in on her voice but also spent time learning about the business side of music. She immersed herself in that community and came out on the other side with lifelong friendships.

“I didn't even know the level of people I was going to meet in regards to talent, just skill in general as a human, and from all around the world,” she said. “I get chills now which is why the experience was so wonderful for me. That's when I grew in music.”

What she never thought she would do after college was go into teaching. For the last several years, she has been a private voice and piano instructor and has taught at Old Town School of Folk Music to almost 40 students. Private lessons gave her the flexibility to dive into something new while she was creating her full full-length album, Sightlines, which she released in 2015.

“As creatives, you need your own routine and that's what teaching gave me,” she said. “I didn't realize at first the level of dedication I needed to have, but if anything I think it helped me grow a bit in value in regards to what I want to give to my listeners.”

Now, for her ultimate learning moment: relocating to Nashville. Hickman recently made the move and is ready to get back to the basics while getting involved in co-writing opportunities. Her own music takes on many different forms, and the expansion of music in Nashville is the perfect place for her music to reach the next level. However, performing isn’t something that’s on the forefront of her mind.

“As much as I want to perform, I want to get back to the craft of it,” she said. “I have all my old songwriting books and am planning to browse them and try to hone my craft back to the level that I did in school. You have to be disciplined about it, and full-time writers are, but I've been balancing that and a full-time job teaching. I have to get back to that level of efficiency as back then.”

That’s not to say writing and performing are on the back burner. She has been in the recording studio the last few months and has songs that are almost to her level of perfection. She wants to experiment more and collaborate as often as she can.

“I’m not one of those people who wants to make music for myself; I make music for other people,” she said. “I’m much more fascinated in this unspoken language that connects people no matter what the song is about. It's all about feel.”

Meagan Hickman’s passion for music has brought her to many places and given her many opportunities, but this is just her beginning. With a trilogy of songs currently out - “Together”, “Unique” and “Who Are You?” - and more on the way, Nashville may just have their next big act.