A lot of what Meggie Hulsey does is for the love of music. The Charleston-born podcaster has lived in the Lowcountry most of her life, and she launched a music curation site, Disco Teepee, in 2014 to spotlight musicians and give her two cents.
“I’ve just always been a music fan,” Hulsey recently told the Charleston City Paper. “That’s where it all just stems from. I like talking to musicians. I like to hear the stories — where they were when they were writing the song or how they felt or what they were going through.”
At first, Disco Teepee posted live show coverage, songs of the week and music reviews, but the site material began to shift as Hulsey realized that offering her opinion didn’t bring as much joy as interviewing musicians to draw out the common denominator they share with listeners. Hulsey, who is in her 30s, launched her podcast on Disco Teepee in 2019 to paint pictures of individuals artists’ relationships to music wherever they were in their creative journey.
“It started to evolve into more of introducing people to my favorite musicians or the songs that I really liked,” she said. “I use the term ‘podcast’ very loosely because there’s no editing in what I do,” she said. “There’s no intro music. There’s nothing fancy to it. I hit record, and it’s just two almost complete strangers talking about music.
“It’s fascinating to hear the personal stories and how music has been a lifeline, how it’s been an inspiration, how it’s helped people process and channel emotions that they couldn’t normally understand.”
She said interviewing artists can be a bit tricky since there’s a level of vulnerability that has to come to light, but when the conversation is centered around music, it seems easier to open up about both tough times and pivotal experiences in life.
“Music is important because it connects people that aren’t normally going to be connected by anything else,” she said. “At the end of the day, it boils down to we’re all just humans. We all have very similar emotions and feelings. And when you have music, it just makes you feel validated and that you’re not alone in those feelings.”
Hulsey’s work as an SEO senior analyst for New York performance marketing network Reprise Digital dovetails with the creative work she pours into Disco Teepee, which is rooted in forging connections and highlighting talent that is relatively undiscovered. And with any niche market, she said it can feel like sometimes that the impetus isn’t there to double down and cultivate the platform she wants to bring to on-the-rise musicians.
“I owe it to myself to see how far I can go,” she said. “I just have to try. I have lived in Charlotte, and I have lived in Atlanta. And I kept telling myself this lie that I have to move to a more musically ingrained city or a city that has the infrastructure to support music as a business. I told myself this for so many years. And strangely enough, after the pandemic, I was like, ‘I can do whatever I want. Why not invest in my home?’ ”
Another way she invests in the Charleston music scene is through the community group Sisters in Song (SIS) that she founded two years ago with Ear For Music’s booking agent Erika Lamble and singer-songwriter Emily Curtis. They started the group as a network for women working in the local music industry.
“SIS is very much a labor of love,” Hulsey said. “We all have dreams and goals that we want to accomplish in the music industry, and it is so hard to do it by yourself. The music industry — [it] can rip your heart out. There’s a lot of labor that goes into it. Are you getting the end results that you want? If we work together, we can all help each other based [on] our different skill sets and use our differences to make each other better and stronger.”
For Hulsey, there needs to be an ongoing conversation in the music industry, which can so often default to cliques, in order to open doors for female talent.
“It’s not men against women,” she said. “[On] the music business marketing side, [there’s a standard that] men make the money and women don’t translate to sales — that’s a really old argument. It’s tough for women because there’s already this ‘understanding’ that they’re not going to have music people want to hear [or] translate to ticket sales, merch sales or streams. Working with SIS, I’ve heard stories of how difficult it is just to be booked for a gig. We need to keep talking about it.
“It’s the job of the individuals that are already established to create an open platform for those that are trying to get themselves established.”
Don’t miss Meggie Hulsey’s monthly appearance on the Ohm Radio 96.3 show “Songspiration” hosted by Zandrina Dunning.
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