Magna Carda graced the stage of the Empire Control Room at Austin’s Weird City Hiphop Festival last year, blowing away the crowd with their eclectic sound and thoughtful lyrics. The voice behind Magna Carda, Megz, may be small in person, but her presence and talent is larger than the room they performed in. As a musical group, they presented a united and flawless performance, becoming our band to watch for 2015. In four years, they have come incredibly far, exhibiting a professionalism that you only see in longtime performers. We took a moment to hit up Megz to find out more about the music, the life, and their inspiration!
Hi Megz, tell us a little about yourself and the band you are in called Magna Carda? What's your story?
I’m originally from New Orleans, born and raised. I’ve been into music and creative arts since I was little, growing up around art and music my whole life. In 2005, I moved to Dallas, Texas due to Hurricane Katrina and finished high school there. I came to Austin in 2010 for college, where I met Dougie Do, Magna Carda’s producer and keys player. We were asked to do Hip Hop on the Hilltop in 2011 at St. Ed’s. We were meeting each other for the first time through a mutual friend. After the show, we decided we wanted to keep working together and over time we starting adding different elements to the band… starting with bass, on to guitar and finally an additional singer and a drummer. And we’re still going strong.
Where did the name Magna Carda come from?
Magna Carda, the name, was inspired by the actual document. Magna Carta was the first document to put limits on the King’s power. We operate our band sort of like that… no one has too much power, we’re all equals – all of our ideas and opinions are valid and valued. That’s how we’re able to be successful, because there’s no one head of the group or one lead… we like to keep things fair and equal.
When did you start spitting and who influenced the style you have today?
I always say I started around 7. It could have been earlier, but that’s my very first memory. I was in a rap group at the church and spitting with kids from the neighborhood. I find it hard to look that far back because it seems like it’s something I’ve been doing forever. I’ve always been influenced by so many different people and things it’s hard to pick a few. But as far as my style today – Erykah Badu, Left Eye, Mystikal, Queen Latifah, A Tribe Called Quest, Eminem, Lauryn Hill, Andre 3000, Nas, MC Lyte, Kiely of 3LW. These are artists that influence my style, but the list goes on and on, especially when talking about the many many artist that have just inspired me all around.
Which one of your records was the most challenging and which one of your records reflect you at your best?
In terms of projects, they’re all challenging when you’re first starting out. Brainstorming and trying to figure out what direction we need to go in is always a bit of a challenge. There’s literally tons of ideas just floating around and in the end, you have to settle on just 10 to 15 tracks – 10 to 15 ideas. I can’t say that I’d only pick one of my records as the one best reflecting me. When I write, I’m always at a different place in life, so my best is constantly changing, I’d say.
Have you done any collaborations recently? What were they? What collaborations would you love to do going forward?
We’re currently collaborating with a good friend, Ava Raiin, she’s a singer from Austin but currently based in NYC. We’re super excited to complete that project. She’s a really talented singer, and we’ve done live sets with her before, so we’re happy to finally have her on a song. In the future, we just hope to collaborate with people who can really compliment our style and we can really compliment theirs. Those are the best collaborations.
You are tasked with creating the ultimate playlist for a visiting alien life-form. Which one of your tracks would you include?
Shoes $ Money. The aliens need to know about Magna swagger, first and foremost.
**all images taken by Hakeem Adewumi**