Christina Meyer is a Milwaukee-based songwriter who has won consecutive Best Song awards from the Songwriters of Wisconsin and has had sync placements on TV’s The Young and The Restless. Her song “Every Woman You Know” is perspective-changing for male listeners and a confirmation of what female listeners already understand: women walking alone at any hour can be in real danger.
The song is based on the death of Sarah Everard, a British woman who followed all the “rules” yet was found murdered after taking a short walk that most men would simply take for granted.
Meyer exhibits great stylistic range in her writing. Her song “It Only Takes One” has an infectious, ’80s Whitney Houston vibe. She’s the only songwriter I’ve encountered who lists musical influences as far-ranging as New Kids On The Block and metal greats Metallica and Anthrax.
Almost all of today’s pop stars – from Beyonce to Justin Bieber – have bodyguards. Sadly, most women can’t afford to pay someone to safeguard their health in parking lots and on short walks from a restaurant to the car. That’s why I’m hoping that an artist like Adele or Taylor Swift will cover “Every Woman You Know” – and start a fresh discussion on this problem that’s so pervasive.
Your song “Every Woman You Know” is SO powerful. What’s the backstory on how that song took shape?
Thank you! This song really means a lot to me and I’m glad that it’s having an impact on those who hear it. The idea started with an Instagram post that I saw and reposted that mentioned “Every Woman You Know” and included a list of unfortunate things that every woman knows. A songwriter friend of mine, Jody Peterson, saw my post and emailed me. He sent me the original tweet from Harriet Johnson and asked if I would be interested in writing a song together on it. I was already thinking about writing a song about it, so I enthusiastically said yes. Harriet Johnson’s tweet was in response to an article about the tragic death of Sarah Everard in England. Sarah was walking home from a friend’s house when she went missing and was later found murdered. Sarah had followed all of the “rules” that every woman is taught to follow and it still didn’t save her. At the time that we started working on the song, I had just finished reading Know My Name by Chanel Miller and was really fired up about women’s rights and the safety of women. Jody and I proceeded to write the song together. It went through a few rewrites before we nailed down the version that we released. We wanted the song to be something that people could relate to but also wanted it to have an impact on people. We hope that the song brings awareness and promotes change. I want to live in a world where every woman is safe and doesn’t have to be scared to walk down the street.
Here’s what Harriet Johnson said on Twitter: “Every woman you know has taken a longer route. Has doubled back on herself. Has pretended to dawdle by a shop window. Has held her keys in her hand. Has made a fake phone call. Has rounded a corner and run. Every woman you know has walked home scared. Every woman you know.”
Your stylistic versatility is amazing. For example, “It Only Takes One” has a Brenda Russell feel. What music did you listen to growing up?
I love all kinds of music and have a very eclectic taste in music. My parents are big Motown fans, so as a kid I listened to their music, which included The Commodores, Diana Ross and The Supremes, The Jackson 5, etc. I’ve always been a big fan of pop music and I grew up in the ’80s. I love Whitney Houston, Prince, Michael Jackson, George Michael. The first album that I bought was Michael Jackson’s Thriller. When I was 12 years old, I discovered New Kids On The Block, who are still one of my favorite groups to this day. Then as a teenager, I discovered hard rock and metal music and fell in love with bands like Poison, Metallica, Skid Row, Anthrax and Warrant. I also really liked ’90s grunge by artists like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden. I would also play the Amadeus movie soundtrack on repeat because I loved Mozart.
They say that most hit songs have “big” choruses – and your choruses REALLY elevate. Do you start songs by writing the chorus, as many songwriters do?
Sometimes I start songs by writing the chorus first. I have also started songs by writing the verses first. Every song is different, and ideas can present themselves in different ways. I do work hard to make the choruses of my songs stand out. You want the chorus to be memorable and if I’ve done my job right, hopefully the listener will want to sing along with it.
Which musical genre are you concentrating on lately? (pop, R&B, metal, etc.)
Lately, I’ve been writing a lot of pop and rock songs. I’ve been focusing a lot on writing songs for film/TV and ads. This has been fun because it allows me to explore many different styles and subgenres of music. I can write dance pop, dark pop, alt-pop, pop-rock. It’s both challenging and a lot of fun.
Do you self-produce all your songs, or do you have a co-producer?
I have produced some of my songs but most of the time I collaborate with other producers. I am lucky to get to work and collaborate with so many super-talented people. Collaborating on music is one of my favorite things to do. So, if there are any producers out there looking to collaborate on music for film/TV, I am always looking for more collaborators.