To cash in on this Monday we’re featuring an artist who, despite being an industry newcomer, has had such an impact on country music that she’s impossible to not consider a #MondayHero at this point. Playing music from a young age but only landing her first major record deal a few years ago, this singer-songwriter has had as successful a debut as anyone can dream up. From her first album alone this Grammy-award winning artist has created a name for herself in country music and beyond; today’s Monday Hero is: Maren Morris.
Growing up in the Dallas area of Texas, Maren admits that while she didn’t grow up in a particularly musical family she realized she loved to sing at a young age. After learning to play the guitar to support her steadfast voice she began writing songs and performing live throughout Texas on weekends throughout her teens. Playing weekly gigs for almost a decade before moving to Nashville not only helped Maren find her voice (plus a few friends like Kacey Musgraves along the way) and perfect her craft, but also gave her the confidence to work on her songwriting in Nashville as opposed to solely her performing.
After moving to Tennessee around age 20, the current 27-year-old spent her time in the writing room spitting out dozens of songs and perfecting her craft as a singer-songwriter. While still playing occasional bar gigs and shows, Morris’s reputation grew as a talented writer that came with a voice as powerful as her lyrics.
After making a name for herself in the Nashville scene by writing songs cut by Tim McGraw, Kelly Clarkson, Brothers Osborne, and others, Maren was given a record deal by Columbia Nashville. Her debut album, 2016’s Hero, was led by the two-chord highway anthem “My Church” and soon after the song’s release, every radio station in the country was aligned with Morris’ gospel. Her other three Hero singles (“I Could Use a Love Song”, “80s Mercedes”, and “Rich”) have also charted on the US Country Airplay chart, with the first of those even landing at number one in early 2018.
Since the release of Hero, Maren’s popularity has exploded in country music, leading her to open tours for Keith Urban and Sam Hunt, as well as headlining her own tour throughout 2017. She has also recently gotten engaged to fellow country rising star Ryan Hurd (whom she met while co-writing Tim McGraw’s “Last Turn Home”), and co-written and been featured on Zedd’s power club anthem “The Middle” (which has 23MM+ YouTube views!)
With only one album in her catalog, Morris had more nominations than any other country artist at the 2017 Grammy Awards, and “My Church” took home an award for the Best Country Solo Performance. While Maren’s upcoming year will be occupied opening the 2018 Flicker World Tour for former OneDirection member Niall Horan, we cannot wait for her new music. Until then, no matter what song from Hero booms over the stereo, we can give her a confident “Hallelujah” and a resounding “Amen”.
Check out Maren’s social links below:
Maren Morris’s #FeaturedFour:
- “Rich” – Bottom line, this song is catchy. Written alongside frequent collaborator Laura Veltz as well as Jessie Jo Dillon, “Rich” is strong and relatable. With the rhythm-heavy verses and glamorously adorned chorus, Morris demonstrates that her music can be comfortable across genres. As the drunken electric guitar echoes her vocals while she relates her ideal scenario of collecting cash instead of white lies, we have no choice but to root for her. Plus, Maren being rich sounds like a really, really good time.
- “My Church”- From a more acoustic standpoint, this song seems to define Morris’ musical career to this point. While some days can be great and others can be tough, taking a solo road trip with the radio blasting is as close to a religious experience as it gets for some. No matter who it is you prefer to read the sermon or lead the choir, everyone has that top-down, driving 65 go-to artist to brighten up the day. Whether it was her intention or not, this song has made its way right to the top of our “church” playlist.
- “Just Another Thing” – As a deeper cut from her first album, this song has an alternative sound to the rest of Hero. With pop-sounding verses juxtaposed with a modern country chorus, this song would sound equally good in a dive bar as on a stadium tour. Plus, the slightly muted vocal track gives Morris a dual personality vibe that is hard to not get behind. Compared to “My Church” which gets up close and personal, this song seems to portray Morris from a distance and makes us wonder what’s going on close up.
- “I Could Use A Love Song” – An obvious feature, this has been one of Morris’s biggest features to date. Despite her first single having sold more records, this song reached #1 on the Country Airplay charts and became memorable as Maren’s first #1. Also co-written by Laura Veltz (who even provides backup vocals on the record), the track spans numerous vocals ranges and spotlights Maren’s vocal abilities, along with her songwriting talent. As the story goes, Maren, Laura, and Jimmy Robbins were drinking at a bar on a weekday Nashville morning (because, why not?) and after realizing the shared frustration for the bad day they were having they decided without hesitation they could use a love song. Cue all-star songwriters and a #1 record.
– R&B NYC