Always Find A Way Back: An Interview with Meagan Hickman

Just over a year ago, Meagan Hickman packed her bags and left Chicago for Nashville in hopes that she would hone in on her songwriting abilities. Her goal was to put performing on the back burner and network into any songwriting session she could find, and she did just that.

Networking with artists, songwriters and producers paid off, and she was participating in at least three co-writing sessions a week. It was the perfect opportunity to meet new people, get exposed to new writers and gain once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

“The thing that I find most baffling about the process is that people are open enough to schedule to write with you most of the time, even if they don't necessarily know you that much,” she said. “It might be the referral of a friend or you might just be that third or fourth person in the room that someone invited last minute, and you just have to open up and be vulnerable and I'm still trying to figure out how to do that.”

Like everyone else in the music industry, COVID-19 changed those opportunities. Virtual co-writing sessions were nonexistent in the beginning and honestly Hickman needed a break. She went from hustling every day to a complete standstill and it was like her mind and body shut down along with the rest of the country. After roughly two months of focusing on her mental health, she found out about The Isolation Journals. In a matter of months, over 100,000 people signed up to the Suleika Jaouad-run collective that delivers free, weekly journaling prompts once a week. It helped her creativity and slowly started bringing her back into music - her music.

She had several songs that were set aside from around the time she moved to Nashville, and she felt it was finally time to dive back into them.

“I didn't have the strength to write yet or create from scratch so I decided to finish these projects that have meant so much to me,” she said.

The first song she released this year, “Back To You”, started as a hook and a chorus that really didn’t take shape verse-wise until the beginning of last year. It was set aside as other singles were released and marketed, and it got to the point where all she wanted to do was write music, release it and not care about what happened afterwards. The verses started to reflect that feeling of overly comparing herself and how at the end of the day all that matters is human connection.

“I never knew that it could resonate so much more for myself, even now, so that's where quarantine led me to,” she said. “It's really a symbol to anyone that's feeling lost; they can always find a way back, they just have to take the steps.”

Once the song was finished, it became a matter of when the best time to release it was. Between the pandemic, political unrest and social injustice, it never felt like the right time. It never felt like “Back To You” was important enough to share compared to everything else being shared.

“That's the times we’re in - music and art doesn’t matter but it does matter,” she said. “You're in this weird time period where you're just trying to hold onto something positive and that's where it matters. It matters because music is hopefully serving as a release for anyone.”

Meagan Hickman is ready for listeners to dance along with her music again, in hopes that they’ll find the same joy in three and a half minutes that she found while creating “Back To You”. Despite uncertain times ahead, she knows that releasing music is what could help heal her soul.