Meg Smith wants to kill your dad. 

That’s what she says in her latest single, anyway. There was also a time when she considered killing her music career.  

“You can feel like you’re pushing up against a brick wall trying to get people to listen to you,” Smith says. “I was like, ‘I’m just going to do one more song and then take a break.'”

Luckily, she released “Jesus Christ in a Mini Skirt” instead.

The song describes creating the most perfect version of yourself only to still be rejected by someone. 

“There’s something about dating and attraction that you just can’t control,” Smith says. She and co-writers Andy Tongren and Jackson Hoffman were trying to cement that idea in a song lyric. 

That’s when Smith offered the line, “I could be Jesus Christ in a mini skirt.” Her first reaction to the idea? “That’s really stupid.” But Tongren didn’t think so. 

“‘Actually, no, I think that’s good. We should do that,’” Smith recalls Tongren saying. 

Jesus Christ rocking a mini skirt (what brand does he wear?) wasn’t the only absurd visual that Smith, Tongren and Hoffman, who also co-produced the track with Smith, toyed with.

Initial iterations included “I want to fix your back pain” and “I want to make sushi for you.” 

Not every idea made the final cut. 

“Just the stupidest stuff,” Smith says. But it only takes a few bad ideas to make a trendy pop song — one that has more than one million streams on Spotify and earned Smith a slot on the streaming platform's 2024 artists to watch playlist.

The chorus opens with “I wanna kill your dad / I wanna kiss your neck,” which is Smith's way of saying she wants to fix her romantic interest’s relationship with their father.

“I’ve dated multiple people now who have had really tricky relationships with their fathers,” Smith says. “The lyrical content of that song is pretty depressing. It’s so sad, but it’s such a dancey vibe.”

Besides Tongren and Hoffman, Daniel Neiman and Gabi Grella contributed to the song with mixing and mastering, respectively. 

Smith likes to act as the creative director of her projects, she says. With that mindset, she curates a team of producers, photographers, makeup artists and other creatives who contribute to a final artistic product. 

Margaret Leyva and Beau Cockrell served as photographer and makeup artist, respectively, while Smith’s sister, Molly Smith Martin, was the costume designer and made the outfit seen in the promotional photos.

Photograph by Margaret Leyva.

“I’ve been really lucky to collect really talented people around me. That’s part of the fun for me, putting everything together,” Smith says. 

The artistic community that Smith built is what led to a saxophone solo by Stefan Haerle in the middle of “Jesus Christ in a Mini Skirt.” 

Smith had a simple thought: “It would be really cool to have a sax solo on this song.” Wait a minute, she realized, “I literally know one of the best saxophone players ever.”

The imagining and execution of the song’s cover art had as much collaboration as the song itself. But even with such diligent planning, some things still happen by chance.

Leyva, the photographer, works with film, so the group couldn’t see the pictures until the film was developed. What was supposed to be a wide shot became unintentionally hyper cropped. The resulting image, a serendipitous accident — or divine intervention — is what listeners see today. 

Smith references religious iconography and statues of the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene. Most of them, she says, have teardrops coming out of their eyes. 

Cockrell, the makeup artist, was able to balance the shimmer of glitter with the slick transparency of tears.

The attention given to the visuals and aesthetics is no coincidence. Smith says she appreciates artists like Lady Gaga — “especially what she does with marrying music and visuals.”  

She also mentions Chappell Roan and The Last Dinner Party as inspirations. 

“Their visuals are an extension of the music, and it’s so seamless,” Smith says. “My favorite artists are the artists that you can dress up as for Halloween.”

As an independent singer-songwriter who has a clear vision of how she presents her artistry to the world, Smith is soon to become a popular Halloween costume herself.  

So, what’s next for Smith? She’s prepping her next single and plans to release a new project, either an EP or full album. Plus, she wants to tour. She’s hoping to open for bigger artists this year, and says there are “a couple things in the background” that could potentially happen to that end.

“I just want to play as many shows as possible this year,” Smith says. 

With each show, Smith donates a percentage of the money to Princess Janae Place, an organization that helps unhoused trans folks find permanent housing and work. 

“I don’t know if you can be an artist now without centering activism in what you’re doing and building real community around your music,” Smith says. “That feels like what’s really important right now.”

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