If there’s anyone who is impossible to pigeonhole or get an immediate read on, it’s Megan Haddock.
She comes across as soft-spoken, cautiously reserved, dead-pan serious, and yet an endearingly quirky young woman of many hats who, in her 30 years on the planet, has a whack of eclectic stories to tell.
Just ask about her “chaos pet explosion” phase, or her knowledge of cargo cults, and you’ll get a sense of her unconventional background.
She once fasted for 40 days … she’s been to Morocco, Australia, and did a stint as an intern at a Wellness Centre in Panama … she’s studied psychology and environmental science on Vancouver Island … has worked at a bakery … substitute teaches at local schools … sells Yukon-made goods at the Fireweed Market store, and can run a trailer park.
Oh, and she got her first guitar at 16.
It was a gift from her father, Whitehorse musician extraordinaire Dave Haddock.
Her mother also plays guitar and sings.
With this kind of pedigree you might assume that Megan Haddock would be a “natural” where talent is concerned. But she doesn’t see it that way.
“As a kid I was always singing. I would always be walking down the street singing and making up songs. But I don’t feel like music has come easily to me.”
Yet when you watch Haddock perform, it’s so mesmerizing you can’t help but know exactly who’s daughter she is. Maybe it’s the effortless way she executes a song – casually strumming her guitar without a pick as though it’s the most comfortable thing in the world, or the way she can say (or sing) virtually anything — goofy or devastatingly tragic — with such a dry intensity and a stone-cold poker face, you don’t dare look away for fear you’re going to miss something.
Her songs seem reminiscent of poetry or even cryptic journal entries, with recurrent themes of desertion, desperation, separation, solitude, yearning and unrequited goodbyes.
She’s aware of this heart-heavy tendency: “I think I need to lighten up a bit, but I don’t really know how to do that …”.
Her song, A Million Years for You, however, gives a glimpse of what Haddock’s version of light-heartedness might sound like. (If you didn’t know it was her song, you might be inclined to cite that “other” well-known Haddock musician as the writer.)
She often uses stark, unexpected pairings of metaphors delivered with such a sweet Joan Osborne-esque fragility, it makes you want to either rush to her rescue, or at least know more of the story.
I got my radio set to your frequency but you left me here with no electricity.
But I will wait for you here with this dead head-set.
And there will be no static here, just this dead head-set”.
Songwriting itself is a challenge for Haddock: “I’m always working on something, but it’s a lot of bits and pieces that aren’t finished. Sometimes I have two or three good lines and I like them, but then how do you make that into a good song?”
It’s this constant sense of needing to polish her songs that keeps her at the brink of recording a full-length album, and focusing on music more as a life direction.
In the past four years or so, Haddock has done a few studio demo recordings here in Whitehorse, has performed at Peggy Hanifan’s open mics, Arts in the Park and at several Yukon Women in Music concerts (she’s been an active member of this group for three years).
But she struggles to fully embrace her own talent and has yet to realize her full potential.
As she continues to hone her songwriting skills and solidify her multi-faceted identity, she’ll no doubt be someone to watch on the Yukon music front.
With irons in so many fires these days, Megan Haddock certainly isn’t afraid of a little hard work.
“No …” she says, with that dead-pan seriousness. “It’s music I’m afraid of!”
At the same time, she’s quite clear about why she’s drawn to it: “When I hear something that gives me shivers, it’s really exciting. I’d like [my songs] to do that for somebody”.