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Maren Morris: From Karaoke to Country Music Superstardom

John Shearer

Music

Maren Morris: From Karaoke to Country Music Superstardom

Maren Morris represents a shift in country music as a strong female writing her truths, not shying away from the nitty gritty, while using her platform to speak her mind. Her debut album Hero soared Morris to new heights – she walked away as CMA’s Best New Artist in 2016. She also received four other CMA nominations and a Grammy nomination for her first major label album. Prior to signing with Columbia Nashville, Morris released three other albums and spent her time songwriting for several well respected artists like Tim McGraw and Kelly Clarkson.

At this time last year, Maren Morris was gaining momentum on country radio with her single “My Church.” Nowadays the Nashville based songwriter is spending her time between headlining her own first solo tour, which completely sold out and warranted a second leg, and joining country superstar Sam Hunt on the road for the 15 in a 30 Tour.

What made you get into music?

I remember always loving to sing. I think I was 9 or 10, and I was really into pop and country music. My family owned a salon in Texas and my parents were always throwing parties for their employees, they would get a karaoke machine. So I would dominate the karaoke. My parents didn’t even know I liked to sing until then. I didn’t start writing songs until I was 13, that’s when my dad bought me my first guitar.

What is your songwriting process like?

I’m really inspired by other music. Sometimes I just listen to albums that inspire me. I love listening to Patty Griffin, The Cardigans, and I’m really into Lorde’s new album. Albums like that really get your juices flowing for me creatively. And of course life experiences, the good, the changes you go through on a day to day basis as humans.

Is there an artist you’ve always looked up to?

I mentioned Patty Griffin, she’s such an amazing songwriter. And I like Sheryl Crow. I grew up on a lot of classic country artists like Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, and Patsy Cline. I also loved Motown, too.

You’re currently on tour with Sam Hunt, how has that been going?

It’s really good. We are a few months into that now and it’s crazy to be on a tour that big. Looking out and seeing over 20,000 people in the audience is just amazing. It’s such an edgey tour. Sam’s music and my music aren’t really the same but they definitely compliment each other. Bringing our fans together has been a really great thing.

Credit: John Shearer

How do you think you have grown as a songwriter?

Now that I’m a little older, I think I’m a little more positive than when I was writing ‘Hero.’ I was going through a breakup during that record. I’m writing more for me this go around. It’s been 4 years so you do a lot of changing.

If you could collaborate with an artist, who would it be?

Someone like Ed Sheeran, or Bruno Mars. Beyonce would be the pinnacle. I love her. I just really love soulful voices, whether it be country, pop, or R&B. I’m all over the place musically, but I’d love to work with any of them.

It’s good to be into all types of music, makes you a well rounded person. You are going to be going back out on your solo tour soon, are you excited?

I am. We didn’t intend to extend it after the first leg, but to have the entire tour sell out we owe it to them [the fans] to. I’m excited to get back out there again.

You have been writing for your new album, when do you think that will be released?

I’m just at the tip of the iceberg in the process. But I’ve been writing a lot and want to continue writing through the year. Hopefully, by the end of the year I’ll have a bulk of the songs worked out. Then I’ll take it to the studio.

Even though you’re a young artist, if you could go back and give yourself some advice, what would it be?

I think I would tell myself to chill out and have some patience. Nothing happens overnight, even though it can seem like it. I think it’s easy as a woman and a young artist to, compare yourself to others. And you’re always trying to chase the high of hearing your music for the first time. I’m always having to tell myself to take a breather. Take a look at the people around you, and surround yourself with the ones that will be truthful — not just “yes” people. I feel like I’ve really lucked out with my team. I guess I would tell myself to never think it’s the end of the world, because tomorrow is another day.

Besides music, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I always try to have a project, but I have a dog right now that I love so much. I bring her out on the road with me. I feel like I’m always trying to play catch up when I do have free time. I like to catch up with friends and I’ve been working on a house I just bought. So, I’ve been coming up with a lot of creative projects other than writing.

What is something you’ve wanted to be asked that you would like your fans to know?

Can it be anything? Because I have two things. I have a perfume obsession — I think my fans know I’m obsessed with Sephora. So my backup job was going to be in the beauty industry. I’m obsessed with Tom Ford perfume, and if I hadn’t become a musician I would have been a hairdresser.

Read Maren’s full length feature in our Fall issue, available now at all Barnes & Noble locations, or for purchase on our website.

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Desarae, editor-in-chief & founder of Inspirer, is a music writer and software engineer residing in Los Angeles, CA. Prior to launching Inspirer, she spent 3 years as a feature and festival contributor for YahooTv! Inspirer is published by Desarae Gabrielle and Ashley McFaul and is circulated by Curtis Circulation internationally in both specialty and wholesale markets.

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