This episode will make you smile. There’s so much good energy swirling around singer and Chicago native Meagan McNeal. Lauren had the chance to chat with her about life after her amazing, if short, run on NBC’s The Voice, the guiding principle she wants to instill in her children, and how the city’s vibe promotes artistic collaboration.

Since launching her solo career in 2007, Meagan has opened for legendary Motown acts Dwell, Avery Sunshine, John B, and The Velvelettes. She’s performed background vocals for Eminem and The O’Jays. She’s also had the privilege to work with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on their Peace Initiative Community Partnership.

And, of course, she was a member of Jennifer Hudson’s team on season 13 of The Voice, an experience that pushed her well outside of her comfort zone. As for being voted off during the battle round, she says it worked out the way it was supposed to for a number of reasons. “You either win or you learn,” Meagan says. “You never lose.” That’s an affirmation she and her six-year-old son have recited together since he was three. It’s the same one she’ll share with her second son who’s due to be born around the time of this podcast hits the air.

Motherhood has taught her to give more compassionate feedback to other female artists. “If I could just go back and put my hand over that girl’s mouth,” she laughs looking back at her 22-year old self. “Now, as a mother and just as an older woman,” she says, “the message is more compassionate.”

Back to showing up, Meagan tells Lauren that says she’s always learning from the artists here in Chicago. People like Harold Green, Lili K, Sam Trump, Dee Alexander, Makaya McCraven. Anyone who shares her passion to study study study, learn learn learn.

Meagan says, “Your vibe attracts your tribe.” That’s a theme that gets repeated often this podcast. Like Meagan, many of the talented guests that sit down to chat have come out of or collaborated with Sidewalk Chalk and Harold Green’s Flowers for the Living collective.

Lauren couldn’t let Meagan get away without asking her where she likes to eat in Chicago and what’s up for the rest of 2019. A couple of her favorite restaurants are Give Me Some Sugah in the city’s South Shore neighborhood and Virtue in Hyde Park. As for 2019, she’s anxiously awaiting her little arrival.

Best wishes, Meagan!

Check out Meagan on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter (although we have a feeling she’s going to have her hands full the rest of the year).

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