For singer-songwriter Meaghan Smith, the glamour of being signed to a major label and life on the road faded. Stepping away from music to start a family and focus on health, Smith missed the connection with her music and fans. Today she is back doing the music industry her own way with her Our Song project. Fans go to her website, tell her their story and she writes them a song.
“I am writing songs for people who have lost their spouses, for people who are fighting cancer, for upcoming weddings, for the birth of a new baby,” says Smith. “I am just writing so many amazing stories into songs for people.”
Smith uploads a lyric music video to YouTube the first Friday of every month, followed by a behind-the-scenes video the following week. Every story is unique and every song is personal.
A recent song titled “In a Heartbeat” tells the story of 27-year-old Brittany Fletcher who lost her husband Jonny, father of their one-year-old daughter, suddenly from a brain aneurysm. Both mother and daughter are featured in the music video. “Brittany was super strong and so inspiring for people who are going through the grieving process,” says Smith. “It was amazing to be able to interact with her, write the song for her and see her be a part of this project.”
From their Halifax home, Smith and her husband Jason Mingo write, record and produce the songs. They send each client a bundle including artwork and letter detailing why Smith chose the lyrics.
“I have a bit of a screening process. I have to be able to relate to the song too, so that makes it Our Song—and anybody else who can relate to it, it’s everybody’s song,” says Smith. “It’s not a co-write; I retain all the rights to the music, so they need to be OK with that, and they need to be OK with me sharing their story.”
Stories do not have to be an unbelievable, or against-all-odd love songs. They can be simple. “People always say it is they don’t have an amazing love story, and I’m like ‘Every love story is amazing,’” says Smith. “I think everybody’s life is inspiring.”
The stories are sometimes emotional and painful. Smith is currently working with a father on a song for his daughter, who was raped as a child. Smith says it is difficult to hear that pain from a parent, now that she’s a parent herself. She can only work on that song for an hour at a time.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do this before kids, I feel like someone turned up my empathy by 3,000 percent, and I can immediately feel what people are feeling,” she says. “I try to focus on making it long-lasting and meaningful. Hopefully I’m writing songs people can have throughout their lifetime.”