She is not just a beauty pageant winner, model, actress, singer and law student. By now, maybe you have seen or heard her in action. It could have been when she was competing for Miss Teen Asia USA 2011, performing at various events, or collaborating with other entertainers. Perhaps you saw her in tv commercials or at various community charity events with her campaign platform "Living above the influence," focusing on anti-drinking, anti-smoking, anti-peer pressure, and anti-bullying. Maybe you even heard that she won an EOTM Award for Humanitarian just a few weeks ago.
This is just the beginning for Meeghan Henry. Currently, she has put her solo career on hold. Instead, she has joined the first Supermassive American Girl Group called Girl Radical from JC Chasez (NSYNC, America’s Best Dance Crew) and Golden Globe-winning, Grammy-nominated songwriter Jimmy Harry (Madonna, P!nk, Britney Spears).
How did this Asian American born in Jakarta, Indonesia decide to become a singer and actress? How did she start, and where she is going in her career?
This one on one interview which was finalized on August 23, 2013 is a question and answer format.
Meeghan Henry = MH and Esteban Escobar = EE
EE: When did you first start singing?
MH: I first started singing when I was about 5 or 6. That's when I started really getting into NSync and Britney Spears, and they were probably my first inspirations to become a performer. I started taking voice lessons and I went to a performing arts middle school and high school, attending both as vocal majors. By the time I was 14, I was in the studio making my own music. It was a very exciting time for me.
EE: What did your family do to encourage you?
MH: My mom has definitely been my number one fan and has always supported me through everything. She put me into those vocal classes; she put me into those dance classes; she applied for the arts schools; she gave me piano lessons; she took me to performances; she's done everything for me. I definitely wouldn't be where I am today without her.
EE: Who else in your family sings?
MH: My little sister, Veeghan, sings a bit! I'm thinking we should do a sibling duet later on. Haha, she also plays piano and dances like me. My mom is also a very musical person; she danced and played piano throughout her life. I'd say I have a pretty musical family.
EE: Who are your inspirations? (as in other artists)?
MH: As I said before, my first inspirations were definitely Britney Spears and NSync. I grew up listening to their music and dancing in my room while screaming out the lyrics to their songs. I still do sometimes. But I also look up to Beyonce because she's beautiful, confident, talented, and can dance in heels for two hours while still hitting every note. And I love Rihanna's work. She's got this cool vibe to her, aka SWAG - definitely something I'm planning to obtain soon.
EE: What kind of music do you listen to today?
MH: I listen to all kinds of music. Of course I listen to pop music because it's what I sing, but I also listen to hip hop/rap, R&B/soul, country, a little bit of alternative and rock. I use the radio to scan through stations and discover new music. That way, I'm exposed to a little bit of everything.
EE: Where would you most like to perform?
MH: Living in LA, I've seen some of the biggest artists perform at the Staples Center, and I've always dreamed of being on stage there and singing my heart out with people screaming in the stands or singing along. It's probably been a dream of mine since I was a little girl.
EE: If you could open for any artist on tour right now who would it be?
MH: Justin Timberlake just ended his tour about two days ago, but if I could have opened for him, that would be amazing. He's such a legend and so talented. I would love to open for his tour.
EE: If you weren't singing, what would you be doing?
MH: This is a hard question, but I guess if I wasn't singing, I'd want to pursue a career in law. I'm already doing it while doing my music career, but without my music, I'd be doing it head on with full force. I'm currently a third year student at the University of La Verne as a political science major in the pre-law program, and I think I'm doing pretty well, considering I'm still 18 years and already a junior.
EE: Do you play any instruments?
MH: I learned a little bit of piano when I was younger and I learned to read notes while at my performing arts high school. I can still play a little bit of piano now, and I'm currently learning guitar.
EE: If you could dabble in another genre of music, what would it be?
MH: You probably never would've guessed, but if I could be a part of any other genre besides pop, it would be country. When I was nine, I won Little Miss San Dimas. San Dimas is a western town, and I grew up listening to a bunch of country. I even sang a country song for the mini-pageant. I sang "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack, and that's still one of my favorite songs ever.
EE: Are there any genres of music you don't enjoy?
MH: Well, I like a variety of music, and I respect all types of music, but I don't think I could listen to screaming metal for long periods of time.
EE: Do you have a stage name? Why or why not?
MH: My stage name is Meeghan Henry, but that is my real name. It's just that Henry is my middle name. My last name is Tirtasaputra. I'm not trying to hide the fact that I'm Indonesian or anything - it's just that it's a little harder for people to pronounce if they were to ever say my name. Just making it a little simpler on everyone.
EE: What do you fear the most?
MH: I fear a lot of things, and I hate that I fear a lot of things. I hate elevators because I'm scared I'll get stuck in one. I'm afraid of being on a boat or a cruise ship because of Titanic and all the other sinking stories. I'm scared of heights. I'm always nervous about flying because of crashes.... these are all so material, but I think the thing that I fear the most is failure. I've been working so hard for my music career that it would just be devastating to not see anything come of it...but that's why I intend not to fail. I will keep trying until I succeed.
EE: Please tell us about your award nominations and wins, and what they mean to you?
MH: I've been nominated for a couple of awards by organizations including the Hollywood Music in Media Awards (HMMA), Independent Music Network, and Entrepreneurs on the Move (EOTM). My songs "Crash A Party" and "When I'm 18" have been nominated for best pop song, and my music video "When I'm 18" has been nominated for best music video. However, there's one award I won that has meant a lot more to me than most, and it's the Humanitarian Award that I won from the EOTMs. I was Miss Teen Asia USA in 2011, and the platform I created for myself was "living above the influence," which entails anti-drinking, anti-smoking, anti-peer pressure, and anti-bullying. During my reign and even afterwards, I would go to events that supported those causes and would speak to kids about living above the influence and about a positive life. The humanitarian award just validated all the work that I have put into trying to give a positive outlook on life to the younger generation. But of course my music awards and nominations are also so awesome, and I'm always grateful for those because they recognize the work I put into my music.
EE: When did you realize that you wanted to be an entertainer?
MH: The second I laid eyes on Britney Spears performing, I knew I wanted to be just like her. I was probably around five or six.
EE: Who you would like to thank for helping you get to where you are now?
MH: There are so many people who have helped me get to where I am now, and my mom would be the first person to thank for that. As I said earlier, she's the woman who guided me and pushed me and was always there when I needed her. But of course the rest of my family has always been so supportive, and my close friends who have always believed in me would be part of the thank-you list.
EE: What projects are you currently working on?
MH: As of right now, I'm in a girl group called Girl Radical, created by former NSync member JC Chasez and producer and songwriter, Jimmy Harry. We just debuted our first official music video on Billboard, and we're moving in a good direction and making good progress so far.
EE: What's next for you in 2014?
MH: Hopefully by 2014 Girl Radical will have already made a name for itself and we'll be putting out an album and maybe planning a tour! Fingers crossed!
EE: Ten years from now you will be….?
MH: Ten years from now, I hope to still be involved in the music industry one way or another, either producing or managing, but I also want to branch out into acting and maybe do some big-screen projects!
EE: Do you have a celebrity crush?
MH: Haha. What a loaded question! If anyone knows me, they know I'm boy-crazy. I just wrote a blog on this (www.lovemeeghan.com). The other radicals and some fans call me the boy-crazy radical. I have so many celebrity crushes, it's ridiculous. If you read my blog post called "Boys, Boys, Boys," I list my top ten celebrity crushes.
EE: Do you have a boyfriend? If not, what are you looking for?
MH: I don't have a boyfriend at the moment, but it's fine because it's probably best that I don't have the distraction. I wouldn't mind it, though. Haha. I love guys with a great sense of humor and who can bring out the best in me. It's all about being comfortable and having a good time with each other.
EE: How long does it take you to get ready for an event?
MH: If you mean hair and make-up wise, I usually can get ready in an hour or two. The outfit would have been prepared before then, and I would have rehearsed my singing and choreography at least a week before. Gotta know what I'm doing!
EE: What do you do when you have some time off?
MH: When I get time off, I usually like to spend time with my besties and go shopping or tan by the pool. Or I sleep in and watch Netflix movies at home. Haha. But I'm usually doing something (like online interviews or running errands) on my "off time."
EE: How do you cope with all the success and stress?
MH: I do have to admit there is a lot of stress when it comes to being in this business. Everything takes time and careful analysis, and I'm so not a patient person. I usually let off steam by doing some kind of physical activity. Sometimes I dance, run, walk, kickbox, or anything that will let me take out stress in a safe, but effective way.
EE: Would you rather be a famous singer or actor/actress?
MH: That's hard. My first passion will always be singing. I'm more of a singer who acts than an actress who sings, if that makes sense.
EE: How would you like or want people to remember you when you die?
MH: Obviously I would want people to know me for my music, but I plan on being involved as a humanitarian as well. I want to be a UN goodwill ambassador, and I want people to remember that I wasn't just about the music, but also about giving back.
EE: How did it feel to be crowned Miss Teen Asia USA in 2011?
MH: Being crowned Miss Teen Asia USA was such a surreal feeling. I had worked really hard to get that crown, and it was just such an awesome feeling when I knew I had won the title. I knew it was my chance to really get to do something with myself and to be able to give back.
EE: Is winning or not winning an award very important for you? Would that discourage you from helping others, especially with anti bullying, anti peer pressure, anti drugs and anti drinking?
MH: I'm always honored and grateful when I'm nominated for an award and even more so when I win. However, if I don't win, it wouldn't really matter to me. It won't affect the way I do things, and it definitely would not discourage me. I don't do what I do to win awards, especially the humanitarian things. It would be nice to win, but it wouldn't matter if I didn't.
EE: Thank you for your time today, and I wish you much success in your music career.
MH: You're welcome.
Now you have it! Keep your eyes and ears open, because we will be seeing and hearing much more of Meeghan Henry in the coming years. For more information, visit her website at www.meeghanhenry.com.