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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Aug 7, 2020

In this episode Mark interviews Meaghan Smith about her life as a musician and a painter, about what it's like to win a Juno Award, about collaborating with her husband, releasing music as an indie artist, vs being signed to a label, about the origin of her "Our Story" projects and so much more.

Prior to the interview, Mark shares a word from this episode's sponsor which includes a new resource about tips on marketing audiobooks.

You can learn more about how you can get your work distributed to retailers and library systems around the world at

Mark also shares comments from recent episodes, shares the winners of a copy of Goal Setting for Writers by Holly Lyne, abd also a personal update which includes:

  • Hosting the 2020 Aurora Awards
  • Work on the forthcoming Wide for the Win
  • Promotional activities related to the August 18th release of his Canadian Werewolf novella Stowe Away
  • Progress on a Kickstarter he'll be launching on Sept 25th

During their conversation, Mark and Meaghan talk about:

  • An interesting way that being in specific beautiful studios can actually be distracting from Meaghan's songwriting prowess
  • How her creativity really flows when she is in discomfort
  • How Meaghan proposes to her Muse that she'll be there in the studio ready to work if it wants to meet her
  • How music has long felt like breathing to Meaghan and it's something she has always done
  • Meaghan's inability to read sheet music due to dyslexia
  • The distinct moment by which Meaghan realized that music was her main path and the giant leap of faith that she took to make her first album
  • How Meaghan learned about sound and recording via the animation program she was in and studying
  • The process for that first album (The Cricket's Orchestra), saving up for four years to hire a producer (Les Cooper), writing the songs on her guitar, spending years scraping by, sleeping on friend's couches while staying in Toronto to record the album
  • The way that Meaghan likes to paint a scene with her music
  • How a song has to come to Meaghan all at the same time when she is song-writing
  • The process of just sitting down and starting to play and building upon that, discovering the elements that work, and the ones that don't
  • Going from playing open mics in Halifax to playing the Viper Room in LA
  • How Meaghan managed the contract so that she retained the rights for her songs, even though a label has the rights to the recordings for the albums
  • The surreal experience of winning a Juno Award, and how she almost didn't end up going to the event
  • Reflections on what winning an award like the Juno Award means, or doesn't mean, and why, though she is appreciative and thankful for the awards that she has won, that she doesn't like to focus on such things
  • The advice a fellow artist gave her to manage anxiety - just think about what you're going to do next
  • How it sometimes feels like she has two muses at times - one for music and another for painting
  • Meaghan's first pregnancy (and the Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) - a pregnancy complication that is characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and possibly dehydration, which she suffered the entire time) which dramatically changed her ability to tour as well as her career as a musician
  • The incredibly powerful love that she felt and feels for her two children
  • The clarifying moment she had, after losing all of the momentum of her growing career, where she wasn't able to write about her own life and started looking other stories and other lives she could write about - which evolved into creating the "Our Song" project work
  • How Meaghan and Jason collaborate on music, and the two different studio spaces where the art is created and produced
  • Advice that Meaghan would give her younger self
  • And more . . .

Mark then reflects upon a couple of things that the conversation made him realize.


Links of Interest:


Meaghan Smith is a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, and visual artist. Her independently produced début album, The Cricket's Orchestra, was released by Warner Music Canada-Sire Records in 2009. Smith, who performs with her husband, Jason Mingo, has been acclaimed for her Christmas concerts, which feature interpretations of traditional carols as well as the songwriter's own popular yuletide composition, "It Snowed." At the 2011 Juno Awards, Smith won in the Best New Artist category. Her album, Have A Heart, released in 2014 won a Video of the Year for the lead single at the 2015 East Coast Music Awards. Smith continues to paint, as well as write and produce music via an independently label, is the proud mother of two boys, and says that making music and painting are among her greatest passions.


The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0