Ciaran McMeeken is following his dreams, and taking charge of his music career, by making the bold move to The United States.
Following a four-date tour of his New Zealand homeland last month, he has since made plans for this exciting new stage of his life in Austin, Texas
The singer-songwriter - who has recently released two new singles ‘Tidal Wave’ and ‘Pure Intentions’ - is taking a back-to-basics approach to this new adventure, telling us he aims to start with a clean slate in the US of A.
“I’ve got a bunch of songs I’ve written, but I’m going to scrap all of those songs and start again,” Ciaran tells Script & Sound Magazine. “It’s exciting and scary. It’ll be a 100 per cent fresh start.
“The last six years have been learning about being an artist, so now it’s cool to go somewhere completely new with my guitar, my toolbox. I’m so excited about it.”
The decision to head abroad kicked into gear last year, when Ciaran spent time in LA, Nashville and New York.
While 10 days spent in Nashville was an incredible experience, where he worked alongside successful country songwriters, he discovered that Austin, with its growing tech and wellness industries, felt like a better fit.
Returning to New Zealand to sort out the visa process, he knew the time was right to make this big move, and his fans showed their full support.
“Everyone’s been super supportive, there’s a real romantic notion (about following your dreams overseas),” he says.
“New Zealand is such a great place to start off your career. One; you’ve got incredible support from NZ On Air; a good environment for artists, for the most part; and in Dunedin, where I started off, I was really lucky to move in with my parents and have cheap rent. But, it really is an island, so I think it’s a great place for me to start and launch off, but (it’s important to keep) learning and challenging yourself. It definitely won’t hurt.”
Ciaran - who was born in Arrowtown and grew up in Dunedin - first released the EP ‘The Valley’ in 2014, which caught the attention of internationally-acclaimed producer Greg Haver (Manic Street Preachers, Jason Kerrison, Pluto), who he worked with on his second EP, ‘Screaming Man’.
In April 2016, Ciaran headed away on a European writing tour in conjunction with Sony and Imagem Publishing, visiting the UK, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Ireland. Resulting from the experience was his debut full-length self-titled album in 2017. A deluxe version followed the next year.
Since then, he has opened for Andy Grammer on his Fresh Eyes NZ tour, played Homegrown 2018, and toured extensively on his ‘Which Way Shall We Go?’ 2018 Summer Tour, playing to sold out rooms and intimate house concerts.
During the next chapter in Austin, Ciaran tells us he will be compiling songs for an upcoming second album or EP, but there’s plenty of other options he’s considering as well.
“(I’m thinking about) starting a podcast, a record label, and creating more community around the journey. These are the things I’m interested in, but (ultimately) I want to write the best songs that I can. There are so many options.
“The good thing is, I haven’t had huge success commercially, it’s been a slow burn. But, I really believe I’ll achieve that ultimate goal when I’m ready, there’s lessons to learn before that happens. “So, for me, it’s cool, I’ve just got to keep learning, keep growing, putting in the time, and having that resilience and patience.
“The question is, what do I want to share with this huge audience? What do I want them to go away with? For me, it’s an incredible privilege, and I’m not taking that for granted.”