The Scotsman Sessions #407: Megan Black with Lewis Ross

Welcome to the Scotsman Sessions, a series of short video performances from artists all around the country introduced by our critics. This week, Megan Black performs her new single, Funk For Introverts, with guitarist Lewis Ross

The video for Megan Black’s latest breathlessly catchy single, Funk For Introverts, features a fun, witty, deliberately awkward spin on pop choreography, inspired by her love of Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense concert film and aimed, according to Black, at “representing my own experiences constantly performing and never knowing what people want me to be or which version of Megan they want to see”.

Her Scotsman Sessions rendition of the song also features Black showing out in the more lo-fi setting of her West Lothian studio, a converted office space. “I’m convinced it’s haunted but I love it anyway,” she says.

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“Funk For Introverts is all about my own experience going through my autism diagnosis and realising how much it seeps into every aspect of my life,” says Black. ”I’m constantly people pleasing – I can do that in my personal life but I deeply struggle with that as an artist. It feels like the soundtrack to my own villain origins story. Being a queer woman in the industry, no matter what I do, I’ll never be able to give the people what they want. The song focuses on my own personal struggles, with a dramatic – on brand for me – change in the bridge.”

Megan Black and Lewis RossMegan Black and Lewis Ross
Megan Black and Lewis Ross

Black seems born to do it though her earliest ambition was to be a footballer – “until I realised I wasn’t very good at football”. A love of singing and learning guitar and piano followed and Black cut her teeth playing in a folk band. “Music and songwriting became a way for me to escape being queer and being from a small town,” she says. “My first single, Fur Coat Queen, was my way of coming out – even to my family. Then lockdown hit and before I knew it, I was writing seventies pop/rock anthems set to tear down the patriarchy.”

She cites Fleetwood Mac, Kate Bush and Miley Cyrus (also in her teen Hannah Montana persona) as inspirations for her blues rock/queer feminist pop melange, which can be heard in full-throated, liberated glory on her recent self-released EP. Full Circle (Part 1) packs themes such as feminism, mental health, the LGBTQ+ community, addiction and climate change into its four songs. Black recommends it “for those seeking empowerment and positive change”.

Late last year, she was invited to perform in San Francisco and Los Angeles while this summer, her sights are set on a number of homegrown festivals, including Butefest, Eden and Youth Beatz. She also features in a forthcoming YouTube documentary, Vibrant Voices – Scotland’s Music Scene, which premieres on 10 May, and has written the soundtrack to a short film, The Programme, starring ex-police officer and current Granite Harbour star Michelle Jeram and directed by Samantha Grierson, who approached her to collaborate after hearing Fur Coat Queen. “The film is all about navigating grief as a neurodivergent person so I’m super excited to let people see this,” says Black.

Megan Black plays Room 2, Glasgow, 17 May; PJ Molloys, Dunfermline, 31 May; Eden Festival, 13-16 June; Youth Beatz, 29-30 June; and Butefest, 27 July. Funk For Introverts is out now: