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"Church" girl Maren Morris' is country's hot new thing

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2016

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Thanks to her Top 5 hit "My Church," Maren Morris has becoming one of country's hottest new artists.

What fans are learning, however, is she's not that new.

The 26-year-old Texas native not only has three pervious albums and an EP dating back to 2005 but has also been a songwriter in Nashville, with credits for Tim McGraw, Kelly Clarkson, the Borthers Osbourne and others. So Morris comes to her new success -- her latest album, "Hero," debuted at No. 1 on the country charts earlier this month -- a bit more seasoned than a true new kid in town.

"I've failed every which way before all of this, so now that it's so positive it doesn't feel quite real yet," Morris says by phone from Orange Beach, Ala. "But also, I'll never take it for granted, either. I've had a lot of downswings in my career. I've been doing this for awhile, and even though I'm on a bigger stage now, physically and metaphorically, I still keep a lot of perspective on all this.I'm really lucky to have a past and a background.

"So, yeah, it has been a struggle and nothing's been overnight-- even though the last six months has been on warp speed."

Morris has been playing music all her life but decided ot make it as a career after dropping out of college, where she was studying to be a financial planner. ("It was not my calling," she says with a laugh) and moving to Nashville four years ago. After early attempts to be an artist didn't pan out she began working as a songwriter, and what she learned from working with others led her back to her original ambition.

"It took several hundred (songs) to be written for me to finally say 'yes' to the aritst thing again," Morris says. "I feel like in those writing rooms with all those co-writers and friends of mine, I really found a voice that I hadn't had before, and a lot of that came from me growing up and not being a kid any more and giong through personal experiences, everything from breakups to triumphs, that really solidifed me as a human being.

"And because of that, I was able to make an album that was just done honestly. It really is a sort of audio journal of the last two or three years of my life."

Morris is getting to push "Hero" on the road with Keith Urban's RipCORD World Tour this summer and into October. After that she's looking at playing own shows looms as well as getting to work on her next album. But she is taking some time to adjust, pleasurably, to her newfound stature.

"I definitely feel there's a huge moment that I"m inside right now," Morris says. "It's been amazing having the reaction be so positive. It's definitely a great feeling to have that validation on a piece of art that yo've made.

"But, yeah, it's still a bizarre feeling to see people know the words of the song and starting to know who I am. I hope that never feels normal, honestly."

Keith Urban, Brett Eldredge and Maren Morris

7 p.m. Thursday, June 23.

DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road at I-75, Independence Township.

Tickets are $45-$79.75 pavilion, $29.75 lawn.

Call 248-377-0100 or visit palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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