Four years ago as a sophomore in high school, Megan Winsor spent her Saturday afternoons in her room at her Newport Beach home, strumming her guitar, playing her piano and scribbling song lyrics.
Today, Winsor, a sophomore music major at USC, has turned those scribbles into a musical career. Last Friday, she released her third single, “Lose Myself,” an alternative and Americana mix about a heartbreaker who falls in love.
“[Lose Myself] is one of my favorite songs that I’ve ever written,” Winsor said. “So [the heartbreaker’s] like, ‘I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m losing myself.’ I’m super excited for everyone to hear it.”
Winsor released her first song and music video, “Caught up!,” inspired by her high school experiences. The track fits into the soft pop genre and describes her emotions during high school.
“I started writing [the song] when I was a sophomore in high school,” Winsor said in an interview with the Daily Trojan. “This was right when I was looking into colleges, and I started to get caught up in the drama. And I wrote that song about … me being an emotional teenager.”
She finished writing the song as a high school senior and managed to secure an artist development deal with DNT Entertainment in Anaheim.
DNT Entertainment connected Winsor to Phil Allen, an associate professor of theatre practice in sound design at the School of Dramatic Arts, and they produced two singles together.
This January, Winsor debuted her second single, called “Someone Else’s Car,” which was co-produced Allen,
“[Someone Else’s Car] was the first [song] we did that was a venture … and it felt like the pop territory … a little more kind of ‘produced’ sounding,” Allen said. “There was a quite a bit of back and forth in really, really fine tuning … to how much of her artistic side there’s going to be shining through, and how much of it was going to be a little more on the marketable side.”
Winsor has been a passionate musician and songwriter, since she was 11 years old. At the age of 12, she wrote her first song, and her love for music composition has only grown since.
“My dad had this really old piano … and so I started to teach myself piano,” Winsor said. “I wrote my first song when I was 12 … [and] at that point, I was begging my parents for piano lessons.”
After that, Winsor began piano lessons, where her teacher taught her music theory for six years.
Since then, Winsor has learned how to play the piano, guitar and ukulele, as well as sing and produce music.
“As I’ve known her, [Megan’s] been growing into not just a songwriter, not just a performer, but a multi-instrumentalist,” Allen said. “She’s now producing her own music, and she’s sending it to me to help with the final tweaks, which is really cool because as the years have gone by, I’ve been able to seeing her really grow how to make entire songs herself as a producer.”
Winsor spent her freshman year studying at the Berklee College of Music before transferring to USC. During that time, she explored her passion and tried to validate her career as a musician.
“I was living with a bunch of musicians and … I learned that it’s OK to be forward, and the only way you’re going to succeed is by being vocal about what you do and proud of what you do,” Winsor said.
Winsor transferred to USC because she preferred the supportive community and proximity to the entertainment industry the university offered.
“I spent a lot of time inside last year when it was the winter, and I spent a lot of time writing and producing and really perfecting my craft,” Winsor said. “Here, I get to play a bunch of shows, I’ve played at The Viper Room, The State Social House … and there’s more of a music community here, which is awesome for me because I want to get my name in the community … and have my career here.”
Winsor attributes much of her success to USC’s friendly community and professors like Allen who have guided her through the music production process.
“What’s really cool about ’SC is that there’s so many people doing what they love here, and so coming here and meeting a wide array of people has been awesome to use their talents to help my talent and network,” Winsor said.
Winsor produced her singles in recording studios with Allen, who is also a Grammy Award-winning producer.
“That was crazy. And then I shot a full-on music video, and I’ve never done that before,” Winsor said. “It’s just like they taught me that I can be a real artist.”
Winsor also cited her parents as an integral part of her musical career.
“Without knowing anything in the industry, they’ve been there for me.” Winsor said. “You know, they’re letting me major in music in college, and most parents wouldn’t let their child do that.”
Allen said he enjoys working with Winsor due to their creative similarities.
“She’s a great thinker, great musician but definitely one of the more creative kind of songwriter artists that I’ve ever worked with,” Allen said. “We had a really good time working together … we just really clicked in terms of the creative process.”
Dani Thompson, the CEO and founder of DNT Entertainment, said she was impressed with Winsor’s talent and work ethic.
“She continues to impress me with her undeniable talent in the areas of songwriting, live performance and music production, and her ability to accomplish anything she sets her mind to,” Thompson said an email to the Daily Trojan. “Her self-motivation, passion and vision has led her career to where it is today, and I am very proud to stand alongside her, as she steps into the spotlight to share her story and her music on a larger platform.”