Every week we interview the hottest new local bands and artists in association with BIMM Brighton. This week, Venita Cutler speaks to singer-songwriter Megan Lara Mae about her time at BIMM and breaking through in a city with such a thriving music scene. 

To anyone who isn’t familiar with your music, how would you describe your sound?

I grew up attending church choir for nearly eight years and learning classical music for voice and piano, so I guess my sound is a sort of blend of these classical and choral technicalities with ambience, soul and electronic production.

Seems like you’ve been busy, especially on the radio sides of things. How has that been?

It has been crazy. I absolutely love being interviewed on radio – it’s so much fun and being “live” just adds to it all. I had two of my singles – one released late last year called From The Ashes, and another which is not even released yet – both played on BBC Introducing in the West Midlands within the space of two weeks, so I’m grateful to the team up in Birmingham for that. I’m also massively appreciative for the support from BBC Introducing in the South as they made two of my other 2016 singles BBC Intro South Track of the Day.

What made you decide to move to Brighton?

I took a year out after finishing sixth form and actually applied to do physics and engineering degrees at university. However, towards the end of the year I dropped that idea as I couldn’t imagine waking up on a morning and music not being the priority, so I looked in to music degrees and the songwriting degree at BIMM ticked all the boxes. I’m originally from Birmingham, which is rather far from the sea, so when I visited BIMM in Brighton for an open day I instantly fell in love with the sea and the beach, the overall vibrant culture and just everything Brighton has to offer musically.

I imagine trying to break through in a city with such a huge music scene is very competitive. How are you finding it?

It can be difficult and definitely competitive but I also absolutely love it as it means I’m constantly pushing myself to do more and improve in order to stand out from everybody. Brighton is a great place to immerse yourself in music and learn from so many great artists.

How do you think your time at BIMM helped you develop?

My time at BIMM has been so crucial in my development as an artist – from people being so critically honest with me about things, which I’m so grateful for, to simply just having the opportunity to connect and network with so many musicians and artists. It has also made me so much more aware and knowledgeable of the music industry. I’m enjoying putting the theory into practice.

You started writing at 12 and playing shows at 15. How did you get into that at such a young age?

My first few songs were a little cheesy, but as I became more confident I wanted people to hear my music. Playing at open mics, which very soon led onto bigger things was, I guess, how I got into it at such a young age and is why I’m still doing it now.

You have your new single and video, Mask, coming out soon. Any other shows or plans on the horizon?

I actually wrote the song with the film Gone Girl in mind, so the lyrics explore the themes of deception and lies. I feel it combines the traditional singer songwriter elements with an electro-soul-pop arrangement and I’m just so excited to share it with everybody. I will most definitely have some shows after the release, so I’ll keep you updated. I’m also currently exploring festival opportunities for the summer.