By Nathan Czochara
Many artists in the music business juggle the art they love with the jobs they work to pay the bills. Many serious musicians eventually come to the crossroads: can they quit their day jobs to pursue their dream of music making? For former Vicksburg resident and student Meghan Dooley, the answer was yes. With her band Moxieville, she is doing just that.
“I got really lucky, a lot a people don’t know what they want to in life so early,” says Megan.
Moving to Vicksburg at age 11 from Kalamazoo, Megan realized a natural talent to sing at an early age. The Dooley family had always been great singers and often would hit local bars to do karaoke. Writing poetry prompted Megan to pick up the guitar at age 15 to showcase her writing talents set to music. Right away she realized that the music world was for her.
“I knew it was something I really wanted to do immediately,” says Megan. “I love to perform and sing, and I got lucky enough to have some natural talent, too.”
Seeing a future in music, Megan decided to drop out of Vicksburg High School when she was 16 to move back to Kalamazoo to pursue music and her second passion, cooking. She started working in restaurants and playing music at local bars in the area while completing her GED. Looking back at her early years, Megan likes the path she has chosen for herself. “I would do it all over again the same way. Even with a couple of regrets, it has shaped the person I am today,” says Megan.
Over the last 13 years, Megan has made a name for herself in the music scene of Kalamazoo, with her folk-style guitar and sultry yet powerful singing voice. After playing with many other groups, Megan launched Dooley Noted in 2005. It was her first attempt at establishing her own musical sound. Her band gained a lot of attention and evolved from a two-piece ensemble with guitar and trumpet to a full band. It wrapped in 2010. She did a stint with cover band Top Heavy before starting up her current band, Moxieville, in early 2014.
Moxieville consists of Megan on guitar and boyfriend Andrew Whiting as up-right bassist. Their music has been dubbed by local music critics as “smooth as liquid velvet with more punch than a shot of bourbon.” Moxieville’s sound is classic rock infused with early 1920s and 1930s swing, jazz, and blues. Doing covers and originals, Megan never thought this style of music would be in her repertoire but says it has really defined her sound and highlights her strengths as a musician.
“I didn’t really get influenced by this type of music until recent years. Growing up, my dad listened to the Beatles and my mom listened to opera,” Megan says. “Wasn’t until [later that] I really looked into other kinds of older music like country and blues. My friends exposed me to it and has been a love affair ever since.”
With such a great reception for Moxieville, Megan has decided to hang up the spatula for the time being and go full-time making music. Playing an average of three to four shows a week, whether it is festivals, bars, or private weddings, Megan relishes being totally dedicated to her craft.
“It is really nice that I don’t have to work for someone for the first time ever,” Megan says. She doesn’t even miss the restaurant work. “It’s really nice not have to worry about cutting my fingertips off and cancelling three months’ worth of shows.”
Moxieville’s future plans are to finish recording their first album and play more gigs across Michigan. Besides that Megan hopes to go full-circle and play a show in Vicksburg, where her passion for music started nearly a decade ago.
“I have always liked Vicksburg; I like being in the country and this place has a lot more nature than I’m used to. I’m surprised I haven’t gotten asked, but I would love to play a show here sometime soon.”