Sometimes I go to concerts with high expectations and sometimes I go not knowing what to expect. William Michael Morgan was a mix of those emotions for me and I couldn’t be happier to say that he blew all my expectations away. There must be something in that Mississippi water. I was so excited to get a chance to talk with him before his show at Coyote Joe’s in Michigan. Here’s what I learned about this incredibly talented new voice in country music.
Can you give a little background for people who may not have heard about you yet?
“First song I listened to at 5 years old was ‘El Paso’ by Marty Robbins. Dad always played guitar in the house and by the time I was 15 or 16 I got my first band together. I found my managers Mike Taliaferro and Joe Carter, and one of my producers Jimmy Ritchey, and at 19 years old I signed with Warner Brothers and moved to town (Nashville). So here we are, it’s really cool to see all the things you’ve worked for come together for you. We still have a long way to go and we’re looking forward to the journey, just making music that we love and that hopefully people will keep on enjoying.”
Are you a singer or songwriter first?
“I’m a music lover in general but I would say that I’m a singer first. Songwriting, of course, expresses my feelings and I write as many songs as I can especially for an album, but I feel like the song is really sold when it’s sang.”
So do you find yourself drawn to lyrics or melodies more often?
“If I’m writing it depends what hits me first. It also depends if it’s just me writing or if I’m in a co-write. You know we could start with an idea or we could start with somebody having a chorus or a melody. It kind of just depends on that specific day and the people that you’re with.”
As a fan, I like to be either right up front near the artist or at the back to watch the whole show. How do you have the most fun when you’re up on that stage performing for people?
“As an artist I get the fuel from the people there in the front row screaming, but of course you can’t forget the people who are standing all the way in the back. We love every single person that comes to our shows and we want them to fight for who’s loudest (laughs).”
Which song on your debut EP best reflects where you’re at in your life right now?
“You know I’m gonna say ‘Beer Drinker,’ not because I’m just a guy who sits around drinking beer…I mean I do enjoy a cold beer, but you know I grew up with a work ethic, with just waking up and doing your job. There’s a lot of people in this country and this world that get up before the sunrise and they keep working till the sun goes down and they’re the backbone of our country. I think that describes me the best and that describes all of us as a whole.”
Tell me something no one else knows about your debut single, “I Met A Girl.”
“I like to give credit to the writers most of all. It was written by Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally, and Trevor Rosen. We actually heard it first by way of Sam’s publishing company and one of my producers loved it, and then I fell in love with it. It’s like with any song, you want to go in and record it and make it your own and with the music I grew up listening to, we wanted it to sound like we took it and made it our own. That’s what I really love about Warner Brothers. They have such a diversity of artists and I can go in and be myself in a cowboy hat and boots and have some freedom with creativity. I’m so happy to be a part of that team.”
Do you think that “classic” style of country (i.e the hat and boots that you wear) is still influential in today’s age of country?
“They call it retro now (laughs). But then again in the 90s they called 80s retro, in the 80s they called 70s retro…and you know obviously I’m a 22 (almost 23) year old kid, so I mean I’m not an old cat, but I think it’s bridging the old with the new a little bit. I’m just paying tribute to my traditions and what I grew up on by the clothes I wear and the way I sing, but still keeping it as modern as we can. I don’t want people to forget about where we came from so if we can put as much of that as possible into what I’m doing, but still appeal to music that’s ever-changing. That’s what we want to do.”
Is there one thing that you want people to know about you as you transition further into your career with full-length albums and what will hopefully be a long lasting and successful life in this industry?
“Just the people that have stuck with us, to the people who are just hearing about us now, we thank you. You know, we’ve got a long journey ahead of us, but together I think we can all do it. I’m looking forward to the ride and I’m looking forward to the journey, and putting the work in that I know will hopefully give a great outcome. I just thank the fans for everything and we want to build everlasting friendships. That’s what I want people to know about us.”
There are very few artists I will listen to on repeat in my car and William Michael Morgan’s debut EP hasn’t left in weeks. I will happily encourage anyone who is a country music fan to check this guy out. He has a strong deep voice and is incredibly well-spoken and hard-working for being such a young artist. I have no doubt I’ll be traveling for more of his shows in the future.
You can pick up William Michael Morgan’s self-titled EP at iTunes.