COLLABORATION was something Meg Mac never felt comfortable with. For her, songwriting was a solitary pursuit. A chance to be alone with her own creativity. An outlet for her innermost thoughts.
That was until the soul-pop artist met fellow Melbourne-bred songwriter and Grammy-nominee Sarah Aarons. The 24-year-old Aarons is arguably the fastest-rising young songwriter in Australia, having collaborated with the likes of international stars Zedd, Khalid, David Guetta and Demi Lovato.
The two young women bonded instantly and wrote the tracks Something Tells Me and Head Away, which appear on Mac's second album Hope, released on Friday.
"That was my first time actually sitting down with someone completely writing a song together," Mac says. "Usually I'm quite private, like to sit by myself in a dark room and be all secretive.
"I think I've always found it difficult, but when I did it with Sarah we just sat down next to each other on a piano, it wasn't in a recording studio and we weren't recording anything.
"It was just recording on our phones, which is how I like to make music, without the seriousness and pressure. It didn't feel daunting or scary at all."
That Mac even has a new seven-track "mini album" two years after her celebrated debut Low Blows, is a surprise to her.
Following the end of her touring commitments for Low Blows she began visiting The Panics drummer and friend, Myles Wootton, who lived in a neighbouring street. For a few hours each afternoon Mac would write and record songs in Wootton's bedroom.
Rather than the American R'n'B-influenced soul of Low Blows, Mac found herself experimenting with electronic beats, 80s surf rock and heavy percussion.
"Before I knew it we had this album and it seemed complete with the seven tracks and just felt right," she says.
"A lot of it was made in his bedroom, so it wasn't like this pressure looming over where we're going into the studio for two weeks to record this album. There was never any of that. It all kind of happened organically."
The biggest breakthrough on Hope on a personal level for Mac was the first single Give Me My Name Back.
Inspired by the #MeToo movement, it convinced Mac to become more open with her lyrics, rather than hiding behind metaphors.
"After I released it, I was receiving hundreds of messages in my Instagram from people sharing their stories," she says.
"Some of the stories were really sad and heavy and upsetting to read sometimes. But that's why I think the song felt really important and I'm really proud I was able to talk about it."
Despite the release of Hope, Mac isn't slowing down. When she spoke to Weekender she was preparing to fly to Los Angeles to begin album No.3.
"I don't want to stop or have a break," she says. "I just want to keep going, and to be honest, I have nothing else to do. I just want to keep singing, writing and touring."