Born: Sneedville, Tenn.
Single: “The Way I Talk”
EP: The Way I Talk
Sneedville, Tenn., native Morgan Wallen got his first taste of the spotlight as a 3-year-old, singing during church services for his father’s congregation. Piano and violin lessons followed, but like many boys, Morgan’s interest shifted to sports as a teen. However, after an injury derailed his college baseball aspirations, Morgan once again found comfort in music. He picked up the guitar and started singing around the house, which prompted his mother to sign him up for The Voice in 2014, where he joined Team Usher and Team Levine before being eliminated in the playoffs. Now 23, Morgan is living in Nashville and recently released his debut single, “The Way I Talk,” which is currently No. 41 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart. In addition to co-penning A Thousand Horses’ new single, “Preachin’ to the Choir,” Morgan will be joining Florida Georgia Line’s Dig Your Roots Tour for select dates in April.
I See the Light
“My dad is a preacher. Growing up, I went to church every time the doors were open. From a young age, I took an interest in the music and my mom noticed it. My mom—she’s always pushed me—she noticed it and threw me up onstage when I was 3 years old. I’ve been singing in church and wherever else I got the chance since I was 3.”
Boy of Summer
“I took violin lessons and piano, and learned to read music when I was 5, but around the age of 11, I fell in love with baseball and just focused on that. I didn’t do anything musical. I still sang in church every once in a while and stuff like that, but I didn’t play the instruments anymore. I always loved music. It was never like music was a thing that I just forgot about, but baseball was my passion.”
Sign From Above
“After I got hurt [tendon damage in right elbow] during my senior year of high school, I went through a period of ‘What am I supposed to do?’ I was kind of mad at the world, mad at God even because I had put my whole life into baseball and it just got taken away. So I went through a little period of trying to figure it out and ask myself questions, ask everybody questions, and I just prayed and said I need a sign to what I need to do. I started playing guitar and started writing my own songs—just country songs, just G, C and D pretty much. Just singing them around my mom and she signed me up for The Voice. I ended up making it on the show. So I took that as my sign, you know, like I have a chance to be legit at this so I’m going to give it my all.”
Finding His Voice
“The Voice was a blessing for sure. I really had no idea what to expect, going into it. None at all. And I didn’t know who I was as an artist and I really didn’t know who I was as a person at that time. I was 20 years old and my whole world had just changed. I went on there and I didn’t have my voice figured out either. I was forcing things that didn’t need to be forced and probably doing damage to my voice at the time. So I sounded more like a pop singer when I first went to try out for the show. So they wanted me to sing pop, which I understand, but I’m like ‘No, I want to sing country’ and there was a vocal coach behind the scenes and she really helped me figuring out my sound, like, ‘you don’t have to do this with your voice, just let it be natural, do what feels okay.’ And she really helped me to get my normal voice that ended up being the one I have now. You know, I’ve got rid of all the growl and all that stuff that I was doing and ended up being way more of a country voice than I really thought that I had. And I definitely think that’s my favorite thing that happened throughout the show.”
Going out on Florida Georgia Line’s Dig Your Roots Tour for six dates in April is going to be fun. And I’m doing some festivals with them as well. It’s so cool to talk to some of those guys who have opened for Florida Georgia Line. I was talking to Kane Brown a couple of weeks ago and just talking about how their crowds are insane, like 30,000 people. My third show with them is actually in my hometown so that’s going to be—I don’t have the words for it.
Talk the Talk
“My single, ‘The Way I Talk,’ was released in September and has more than 5 million plays on Spotify and it’s been spinning a ton at SiriusXM’s The Highway, so big thanks to J.R [Schumann, head of country programming at SiriusXM]. I’m going to get another song to them, so we’re trying to work on four or five songs right now and then evaluate what we have and see what we’d like to get played, hopefully. And I’m going to have a full album at some point this year, hopefully. I’m starting to write quite a bit more. I wrote yesterday and I’ll be writing three times next week. I texted my managers yesterday and was like, ‘I want to write more.’ So any time that I get a chance, I want to write just because it’s a cool thing to see a finished product. I love it. Not as much as performing, but I do love it.”
photo by Delaney Royer