Meghan Patrick hits the Ponoka Stampede mainstage June 27

The Nashville-based artist performs June 27 as part of the Ponoka Stampede's main line-up
Singer Meghan Patrick is part of the entertainment line-up for this year’s Ponoka Stampede. Her performance is set for June 27. (Photo submitted)

Country singer Meghan Patrick has made it her mission to dig deep into her own life experiences in connection to her songwriting craft.

The Nashville-based artist performs June 27 as part of the Ponoka Stampede's main line-up.

She had been scheduled to hit the stage last year, but a barrage of travel issues made that impossible.

"I've never had that happen - I've never had to cancel a show like that before. I was so devastated."

So she is thrilled to be heading north this year and joining the Stampede's stellar line-up.

"It's long overdue, and a long time coming to come and play Ponoka! I'm really excited."

In terms of her musical journey, she had an early start. At 12, she auditioned for a school musical and her teacher later approached Patrick and her parents to point out that the young lady had a clear gift for singing.

A music instructor was recommended, and that's where Patrick's journey into the craft started to unfold.

"I started taking lessons at about 12 or 13, and I did that all through high school," she recalled.

Patrick also started to sing with several bands during those years.

"We'd pack up our little set-up of mics, drums, amps, and such, and play at other schools' assemblies," she recalled with a chuckle.

After graduation, she headed to McGill University to study opera but realized it just wasn't her passion.

"I did meet some pretty amazing musicians in the jazz program," she said. At this point, performing became a bigger part of her routine.

"We even got to open for Aretha Franklin at the Montreal Jazz Festival, and she is maybe my favourite vocalist of all time."

Still, she hadn't arrived at what would ultimately become her key musical focus.

"I met another musician back in my hometown who had grown up in the bluegrass world, so we would go to these open mics all the time."

The two ended up forming a bluegrass band.

"I always say that bluegrass was my gateway to country music."

After the members of that band moved on, Patrick knew it was time to focus on finding her musical vision.

"For the first time in my life, I had to figure out who I was as a solo artist, and not just as part of a band. I had to start writing songs by myself as opposed to co-writing with my band mates. So I started writing country songs - that's just what they were!"

She made her debut with 2016's multi-award-winning Grace & Grit. People promptly took notice and the accolades started rolling in.

Patrick is a back-to-back CCMA Female Artist of the Year, and she's picked up 18 CMA Ontario Awards along the way as well.

Other releases include 2018's Country Music Made Me Do It, Heart on My Glass (2021), Greatest Show on Dirt (2023), and the recently released single Whether You Love Me Or Not.

READ MORE: Ponoka Stampede: Big country music names providing headline entertainment

Over the years, she's felt very much at home onstage.

"It's a very powerful feeling when you figure out that you are good at something, you love doing it, and then you get up on a stage and you have that feeling of, this is where I am meant to be. This is how I can make my mark, and how I can impact people.

"As I have grown as an artist and as a songwriter, I think the best part is knowing I can share my experiences, put them into songs, and then I get to perform them. I can watch - in real-time - people relating to a song.

"When I'm sharing a more emotional song, I can see people in the audience crying, so I can see how much it can mean to them. That means the world to me because I have been the girl in the front row crying and being moved by watching my favourite artists. It gives me purpose.

"It also makes me see that I can put positivity into the world, I can help people, and I can help them to feel seen and understood by my music," she explained.

"Music has saved my life so many times, and it's helped me to get through so much. It feels good to know that I can help other people that way, too.

"I've also thought about what my legacy going to be. What are people going to say about me when I am gone, and what kind of impact is my music going to have? Once I started having the courage to share more of my story, I saw how much it meant to people," she said, referring to a very dark chapter years ago when she was verbally and physically abused by a former partner.

To that end, Patrick further shared her story via a powerful short video called Life in a Different Key (on YouTube).

She tells the story of her musical journey, but also of suffering the pain of abuse and the horrendous fallout from that.

But she also shares how she found hope and healing through the power of prayer and her vibrant Christian faith, which she chronicles so beautifully as well.

"I want to leave this world better than I found it. And I think that art is such an incredible way to get a message across, to share your story, and to make people feel less alone," she said.

"When you can create music that makes people feel better and helps heal them, I think that is powerful," she added.

"That is what drives me now."

Ponoka News is your source for all things Ponoka Stampede leading up to and during Stampede Week June 25 to July 1. Find more Ponoka Stampede stories here.

Mark Weber

About the Author: Mark Weber

I've been a part of the brookstreetchapel family for about a dozen years now, with stints at the Red Deer Express, the Stettler Independent, and now the Lacombe Express.
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