I knew my interview with singer Megan Nicole looked promising when she walked up to me dressed in a black and white striped shirt (that matched her nail polish) and a tutu.
The YouTube star made the rounds at several radio stations in Vegas before our lunch together. She knows it’ll take a lot of work to transition from Internet sensation to bonafied pop superstar, but she’s well on her way.
We sat down at an Italian restaurant to talk, but before I could order spaghetti and meatballs, her tour manager chimed in we’re actually grabbing dessert.
Buy Megan Nicole's new EP, "Escape" on iTunes.
As I waited for whatever chocolate thing to arrive, I asked Megan if strangers recognizing her is weird, like, dessert at 2 PM weird.
“It’s been a gradual build over the years. I’ve been doing this for six years now,” the 21-year-old says before admitting she’s grateful and somewhat surprised people followed along for so long.
Watch Megan Nicole's new music video for "Alright" off her EP "Escape."
Today was press day – she wanted to be recognized.
“I realized when I’m out dressed in this attire, I get stopped more.”
I agreed, imagined what I looked like in a tutu then ordered a coffee and inquired about her hectic schedule.
After Vegas, Megan’s shooting a music video for “Fun” off "Escape," traveling to Atlanta then performing on a Disney cruise out of Florida.
The server setting down an array of ice cream dishes distracts me from chatting about “Escape.” Instead, I ask her what she does with music that ends up on the cutting room floor.
“There’s two songs in particular that I absolutely love, love love,” she says, but they’ve never officially seen the light of day. “What’s awesome is they mix into the style [of 'Escape'].” One of them is called “Out Of My System,” a song she’s performed live but never released - she says she gets asked about it every day on Twitter - no surprise considering she charms more than 450,000 followers on the daily, but who's counting.
I earnestly ask if she’ll release it on BreatheHeavy, but she laughs.
‘I wasn’t kidding.’
“We’ll see what happens.”
'So you’ll save that song for your next album?'
“I’m actually doing an EP again.”
I’m surprised. Many artists I’ve interviewed feel the next step from EP’s are full length albums, but Megan is part of a younger generation – she understands the concept of social media and the instant gratification it provides. EPs allow her to release material faster than an entire record would.
“It’s the way it is. With social media, you have things like Vine where people are posting six-second videos, people are scrolling. They’re constantly wanting fresh content, they’re constantly wanting more… ['Escape'] is my first body of original music. My plan is to put another EP out in March/April and just give them fresh content,” Megan says.
“I always say: whatever I do I’m just going to stick true to me, and what I’m going to do and what I’m trying to get across.”
Stars around her age breaking into mainstream success often attempt to propel their careers further through wild antics, sex and outlandish remarks to garner attention. From what I’ve gathered 20 minutes into our interview, Megan remains unphased.
“I stick to trying to be a positive role model for people. At the same time, I’m human. I’m going to make mistakes. That’s part of the journey.”
But can she maintain that squeaky clean persona forever? She’ll try, and uses one of music’s biggest names for inspiration.
“Taylor Swift has done a really good job transitioning from being a really young artist to an adult, and she pushes the limits and does things in a creative way without being super risqué or anything and keeping classy. She’s gone from country star to full-on pop star queen.”
“She’s a smart girl. She knew what she was doing.”
As things wind down, Megan opens up a little more about the rigorous work schedule she keeps up with. It’s important at this stage to make lasting impressions with radio DJs, journalists, bloggers – the media who can help spread the word passed her millions of Facebook, YouTube and Instagram followers. She’s got to be on her A-game – our lunch dessert was no exception.
“I feel like first dates with all these people,” she said. “I’m just talking about myself.”
Ah, welcome to stardom.