Reigning CMA Artist of the Year Maren Morris took country music by storm with her no-holds-barred lyrical approach to songwriting on her 2016 debut album Hero. She scooped up a Grammy Award for Best Country Solo Performance for its lead single “My Church” and immediately established herself as a creative force to be reckoned with. Nearly a whirlwind year later, Morris headlined Stagecoach 2017 and talked about some of her famous peers who inspire her in a candid LA Times interview.
Morris, 27, is drawn to people who write songs without really caring what others think of them. She cited nine-time Grammy-winning pop-country crossover artist Sheryl Crow as someone who inspired her to become a songwriter. She said, “I loved her ‘Tuesday Night Music Club’. She expressed her own point of view, and she wasn’t trying to be like anyone else, and I loved that. That’s been the thinking of all my favorite artists.”
Morris is known for writing as she speaks. Therefore, some cuss words are peppered across Hero’s rich and colorful tracks. She once told Rolling Stone, “I appreciate the art of saying it like it is.”
Fans and critics have embraced the Texas native’s street-speak in her first collection of songs. As such, Morris bolted out of the gate with her unique brand of lyrical flair that boasts a dash of sass. “My Church” is especially feel-good and infectious for anyone who savors those stolen moments in the car cranking up the volume, singing along to the radio when no one else is listening.
The song snagged the Best Country Solo Performance Grammy and was also nominated for Best Country Song at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards. Rolling Stone notably ranked Hero No.1 on its list of 40 Best Country Albums of 2016. It debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums Chart and No. 5 on the Billboard 200. That’s impressive for a debut and the widespread critical acclaim bodes well for Morris’ music landscape longevity.
The fiery songstress remains determined to uphold her conviction to use her own unique voice and “conversational” writing style moving forward. Hero’s third single “I Could Use a Love Song” takes a jaded look at love while maintaining a love song could help restore her faith in it. Overall, there’s something in her plain, honest style that commands us to listen and she doesn’t make any apologies for using colorful language at times to get her point across.
Morris is touring this summer with Sam Hunt and she’s reportedly at the early writing stages for Hero’s follow-up album. She didn’t drop specific details about her impending sophomore effort. But, she knows for certain what she’s not going to do on her next project.
“It’s still pretty early. But I don’t want to make ‘Hero 2,’” Morris said. “It’s going to be different. Not so different you won’t recognize me. But enough that I’m not going to just be repeating myself.”
Maren Morris is touring this summer and fall to support Hero. Click here for more information on AXS-ticketed shows.