Megan Alexandra Washington (born 7 January 1986, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea) is an Australian musician and songwriter also known mononymously as Washington. Originally performing jazz music her style evolved to indie pop and alternative rock where she sings and plays piano and guitar. On 30 July 2010, Washington released her debut album, I Believe You Liar, on Murmur Records, which peaked at number three on the ARIA Albums Chart and, by end of 2011, received a platinum certificate from ARIA for shipment of 70,000 copies.
In December 2009 Washington won the inaugural Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition for her track, "How to Tame Lions". At the ARIA Music Awards of 2010 Washington won 'Best Female Artist' and 'Breakthrough Artist', and received five further nominations for work associated with I Believe You Liar and "How to Tame Lions".
Washington was born in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. She grew up with her father, Rick, her mother, Karen and an older sister. She attended primary school in Port Moresby and, in 1996, the family moved to Brisbane, where Washington spent her teenage years, and attended Moreton Bay College. She developed a stutter early in her life and continues to struggle with her speech. Later she attended Sheldon College and its Australian School of the Arts, where she continued her interest in music. She studied for a bachelor of music at Queensland University of Technology and then jazz voice at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music.
2007-2009: Career beginnings and EPs:
In 2007, Washington and Sean Foran, a jazz pianist, released Night Light, an extended play. The EP won the 2008 Australian Jazz Bell Award for 'Best Australian Jazz Vocal Album'. She followed with another EP, Bennetts Lane, with pianist Paul Grabowsky, which appeared in 2007. In January of that year Washington relocated to Melbourne and worked in a bagel shop for six months.
Her music style moved away from jazz when she began backing a blues and roots musician, Old Man River, as the keyboardist and backing vocalist. She also worked as keyboardist and backing vocalist for indie pop artist, Ben Lee. In early 2008 Washington sang an acoustic cover version of Ross Wilson's "Bed of Nails" which was used as the theme song of the ABC1 TV drama series Bed of Roses (2008, 2010-2011) starring Kerry Armstrong. Following Washington's later commercial success, the song was released as a single by Ruby Entertainment in early 2011.
In late 2008 she launched her mononymous band, Washington, with Lance Ferguson (The Bamboos), John Castle, Des White, Ross Irwin and Ryan Monro (The Cat Empire, Jackson Jackson) on bass guitar. The band released their debut EP, Clementine, that year. In November they were announced as Triple J's Unearthed winners and performed at the Melbourne Big Day Out. This was followed by the release of a second EP, How to Tame Lions, in September 2009. Following appearances on Spicks and Specks, Washington attracted the attention of a wider audience. She observed, "You might think that most people get their information from the charts or something like that but I had so much great feedback after being on those shows".
In December 2009, she won the inaugural Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition for her track, "How to Tame Lions". The competition was conducted by Australasian Performing Right Association and Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (APRA|AMCOS) and was open to songwriters across Australia, with entry fees going to Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Australia. In the same month, Washington backed Sia Furler on guitar at the Palace Theatre and a few days later performed a duet with Keith Urban during his Rod Laver Arena concert in Melbourne.
2010-2012: I Believe You Liar and Insomnia:
On 30 July 2010, Washington released her debut album, I Believe You Liar, on Murmur Records, which peaked at number three on the ARIA Albums Chart and, by end of 2011, received a platinum certificate by ARIA for shipment of 70,000 copies.
In October 2010 Washington performed live during YouTube Play, an event produced in partnership between YouTube and the Guggenheim Museum.
At the ARIA Music Awards of 2010 Washington won two categories, 'Best Female Artist' and 'Breakthrough Artist', and received further nominations: 'Album of the Year', 'Best Adult Alternative Album', 'Best Engineer' (John Castle) for I Believe You Liar and 'Single of the Year' for "How to Tame Lions".
During January 2013, Washington and Australian musician/actor Tim Rogers worked as actors on the musical/thriller film The Boy Castaways. Filmed in Adelaide, Australia, the film was directed by Michael Kantour, who also directed Rogers in the 2009 theatre production Woyzeck. The filming schedule was three weeks in duration and the premiere is scheduled to occur at the Adelaide Film Festival in October 2013.
2013-present: There There:
On 12 July 2013, Washington posted the following message on her Facebook fan page: "Update: Album 2 is written. Finished. 3 days until tracking. How do you spell 'impatient'? Oh yes, M - E - G.... x"; however, as of 7 November 2013, a release date remains unannounced. Writing for the album was completed around late 2012.
On 30 October 2013, it was revealed via Facebook and PledgeMusic that Washington would appear on a duet titled "Ghosts" on Kate Miller-Heidke's fourth studio album, O Vertigo!. She previously performed with Miller-Heidke at the Darwin Festival in Australia in 2012. Washington announced in November 2013 that her second studio album would be titled There There.
In May 2014 Washington announced on Twitter her involvement in a new art book by Iranian-New Zealander artist Nabil Sabio Azadi entitled For You The Maker alongside other contributors such as fashion designers Rick Owens and Limi Yamamoto.
In 2009 Washington was based in Sydney, Australia and this was followed by a relocation to Melbourne, Victoria. By August 2010, Washington's then-boyfriend Michael Tomlinson--of now-defunct band Yves Klein Blue--moved from Brisbane to Melbourne to live with her. Following the dissolution of her relationship with Tomlinson, Washington was involved in a brief relationship with Australian musician and actor Tim Rogers. Tomlinson subsequently relocated to London, United Kingdom (UK) and formed a new musical act called MT.
Awards and nominations:
The APRA Awards are presented annually from 1982 by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), "honouring composers and songwriters".
I Believe You Liar (Megan Washington)
Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year
2008 Australian Jazz Bell Awards - Best Australian Jazz Vocal Album: Night Light,
2009 APRA|AMCOS - Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition:"How to Tame Lions",
2010 ARIA Music Awards, Best Female Artist, and Breakthrough Artist