Meghan Patrick was down to her last few dollars when she landed the record deal that would change her life forever.
“I was so broke I had to borrow gas money just to get to the signing,” she says with a laugh. “I was still driving my first car, a used pickup truck, and it died right when I pulled into the parking lot at Warner Music Canada. It felt like the end of an era, like the truck was saying, ‘This is where I leave you.’”
Now, Patrick’s landed herself another high profile record deal, this one with American label Riser House, and, fittingly enough, she’s poised to make her highly-anticipated US debut with a tribute to that faithful old truck. Recorded with producer Jeremy Stover (Justin Moore, Eli Young Band), “My First Car” offers up a perfect introduction Patrick’s infectious blend of southern rock and classic country, packing the breakout Canadian star’s life story into three infectious minutes of pure FM radio gold. Like much of Patrick’s writing, the song is equal parts humor and heart, balancing gritty honesty and warm nostalgia as it celebrates the simple joys of growing up in the kind of small town where getting dressed up on a Saturday night means putting a fresh set of mud tires on your pickup. “My first drink was a warm Busch Light / And my first scar is from an old dirt bike,” she sings in a larger-than-life voice matched only by the track’s blockbuster production. “My first love grew up on a farm / My first buck is tattooed on my arm.”
“Everything in that song comes straight out of my own experiences,” says Patrick. “I wanted it to be a way of telling my audience about who I really am, about how I was raised and the things that I carry in my heart.”
A back-to-back CCMA Female Artist of the Year winner with several Top Ten singles to her name already, Patrick never imagined she’d grow up to be a country singer, let alone one who shared stages with the likes of Keith Urban, Old Dominion, Dwight Yoakam, and Kip Moore. In fact, as a youngster in rural Bowmanville, Ontario, Patrick was obsessed with snowboarding rather than music, and she devoted nearly all of her energy towards dreams of one day competing at the winter Olympics. Sadly, though, those dreams were dashed in one terrifying instant, when a wrong move on a dangerous jump nearly left her paralyzed.
“The fall broke my back and my collar bone,” Patrick explains, “and I was severely concussed from the impact. My road to recovery was a really long and really tough one, and it made me rethink pretty much everything in my life.”
Stuck in bed, the normally outdoorsy Patrick was unable to participate in any of the activities she traditionally found joy and solace in: hunting, fishing, and mountain biking were all off the table, to say nothing of the snowboarding that had landed her in the hospital. Instead, she turned to music as a means of coping with the pain and uncertainty.
“I started writing a lot of lyrics, and that became a big part of my healing process,” Patrick says. “When I came out the other side of that recovery, I decided I was going to go to school to study music.”
Though she was raised on her parents’ eclectic record collection, which contained everything from Neil Young and Hank Williams to Led Zeppelin and Aretha Franklin, Patrick began her time at university studying opera. Unsurprisingly, it proved to be a poor fit for a country girl whose favorite band was The Eagles, and, after a year, she switched to the school’s only other option, a jazz program. That, too, was less than ideal, but it offered Patrick her first taste of the road and confirmed her suspicions that she was meant to spend the rest of her life traveling and making music. More confident in her path than ever, she moved back home, dropped out of school, and began touring the country in a bluegrass group called The Stone Sparrows.
“Right before that band ended, we got invited to play this huge country music festival in Ontario,” Patrick remembers. “That was my first exposure to country fans in a large setting like that, and I fell in love with the atmosphere immediately. I felt so seen and understood by that audience, like I naturally related to them and they related to me.”
So Patrick embraced her roots and allowed herself to begin writing without any rules or preconceptions. The more honest and authentic she was in her music, the more obvious it became that she’d always been a country singer at heart. Starting over as a solo artist, she began playing open mic nights, which quickly gave way to bar and club gigs, and within a year of signing to Warner, she was playing arenas on the road with Tom Cochrane and cutting her debut album, ‘Grace & Grit,’ with Vince Gill and Justin Niebank in Nashville. The record garnered an avalanche of awards and acclaim for Patrick, who set a record by taking home both the Sirius/XM Rising Star and Female Artist of the Year honors at the CCMAs, and it significantly raised her profile ahead of her 2018 follow-up, ‘Country Music Made Me Do It,’ which yielded her first #1 single, “Walls Come Down.”
“‘Country Music Made Me Do It’ was a big turning point in my life,” says Patrick. “It was the first record I made after moving to Nashville full-time, which was a really important step for me because I wanted to put myself in the mix with the best of the best. Living here still leaves me humbled and inspired and challenges me to grow as a writer every single day.”
Patrick’s most recent collection, the Juno Award-winning ‘Wild As Me’ EP, showcases that continued growth, with the exhilarating title track quickly racking up over a million streams on Spotify alone and setting the stage for her eagerly awaited American introduction with “My First Car” and its similarly intoxicating follow-up single, “Goes Good With Beer.”
“I’m hoping America will embrace me as something a little different,” Patrick reflects. “There’s a real Southern rock edge to the music I’m making, and I think audiences are hungry for that right now, especially in a live setting, which is my happy place. As soon as it’s safe to get back on the road, I’ll be touring like crazy again because I was born to be a performer.”
With ‘My First Car,’ Meghan Patrick proves she was born to be a star, too.
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