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Morgan talks touring, new music and finding her “Sanctuary”

If you weren’t already aware, 2020 is looking like Morgan’s year – lockdown or no lockdown. Having spent the most-part of 2018 touring the world as a vocalist for British drum-and-bass heavyweights Rudimental, not to mention all of 2019 in the studio working on new music – this year, Major Tom’s newest signee has her sights set on a takeover.

Hailing originally from Watford in the UK, the twenty-year-old songstress has big plans for bringing a fresh new sound to the contemporary popular music space. Kick-starting her career using the power of social media, we first saw Morgan gain a wide-spread following through singing her heart out on Instagram and YouTube with her #MorganMashup medley’s. Since then, the talented vocalist has taken every opportunity that has come her way, in building a team around her that will surely lead her to global success. Last week, NBGA sat down with Morgan to talk about her infectious sophomore single “Sanctuary”, her whirl-wind rise under Rudimental, recording her up-coming debut EP and her hopes for a successful future in music. If “Sanctuary” is any indication, you won’t want to miss Morgan’s debut EP when it drops, so be sure to stay-up on the young-power house as she brings life to her music with a unique, bubbly and edgy finesse.

Hey Morgan! How’s quarantine going for you? How have you been keeping yourself busy?  

Oh, I’ve been taking it easy for sure! I’ve been sent some new beats so I’ve just been focusing on writing music – I’d say that’s been my main focus going into quarantine. I’ve also been learning to play the guitar, it’s not clicking for me right now because I’m so used to doing things on the piano, but I’m just learning a bunch of major chords right now and trying to play by ear– it’s a start hey! Apart from music, I’ve been trying to exercise at home now and again to clear my mind. I downloaded this really helpful app so I’ve been trying to keep up with the workouts – I don’t know how well that’s going if I’m honest haha! It’s mainly been music though; the summer body can wait – we’re all staying inside for the time being anyway.  

Have you got a home studio set up? I can imagine it must be pretty hard to get into the studio right now!

Yes, thankfully I do have a little set-up at home. I’ve actually been recording a few covers which has been super interesting because I normally don’t do pre-record covers, I usually just record live and pop them up on Instagram or YouTube. It’s been really sick playing around with the production software and recording my own vocals – I guess you could say I’m honing a new skill. I’m mainly recording other people’s songs though, so the focus has really been on adapting my vocal to fit different styles and genres – it’s been a great pastime!  

We’re loving your #MorganMashup’s – where did you get the idea to start doing them and how have they helped you to grow as a musician?

So, a few years ago I started seeing people uploading covers to Instagram as a way to get noticed and build their own following; I guess you could say girls like Saweetie and Ella Mai we’re at the forefront of that movement. That’s what initially sparked the idea, but I still wanted to take it further, so I thought what’s better than just doing a cover? Eventually, I came up with the idea of mixing songs together and create medley’s – which I find are much more personalised to the artist and their individual music taste.  

At first, I was getting really good reactions without actually understanding why, I didn’t think that what I was uploading was that great – after all, I was learning as I went. I kept recording them anyway, then back in 2016 I did this one mashup of “Texting” by WSTRN, and mixed in a bit of Aaliyah and Ashanti – I was going for a really old-school sound. That cover eventually blew up on social media in a big way! It was the first time I was aware that people we’re liking what I was doing and it really motivated me to keep going and to get better.  

If you could describe your sound in three words – what would they be?  

I’d say my sound is urban, edgy and soulful. When I say edgy, I just mean something different, new and refreshing! Although I’m gearing more towards releasing a fusion of pop and urban sounds, I don’t want to be like anyone else and want to evolve into an artist that’s seen as unique! 

Congrats on the release of your new single “Sanctuary”, it’s giving us Maria Maria/Wild Thoughts realness and we’re so here for it! Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind the track and what the recording process was like?

Well, every day that I wasn’t touring last year I was in the studio, so I have a bag of songs ready to release that I honestly didn’t expect to be rolling out so soon. I know timing is everything, so I felt like after releasing my debut single ‘My Year’ to introduce myself back in March, that  “Sanctuary” would be the perfect follow up. I think it’s super relevant right now with what’s going on in the world. It actually wasn’t planned, I just thought it’d be a good time to let people hear what I’m working on, whilst giving them something that we can all connect to. 

“Sanctuary” was recorded quite a while ago to be honest – the inspiration behind the song is love, it wasn’t written about anyone in particular, it’s just about the little things people do when they’re in love that make them feel like home to each other. It’s taken on a new meaning during this time, I want people to listen to the song and think about how they can create a sanctuary for the people they love, and the things that other people do that make them feel at peace – and then chase that feeling.  

You spent the most part of 2018 touring with Rudimental – travelling all across the globe from Europe to Australia. What was that experience like for you as a new artist?

Honestly, I can’t even explain touring – it all went by in the blink of an eye. I never thought I’d go to Australia, let alone be given the opportunity to go when I was nineteen. I learned a lot about myself, of course my live performance improved drastically, but I was more aware of the fact that I was being handed the opportunity to come out of my shell a little. I’ve always been a really bubbly personality, it’s just that I was the youngest person on tour the whole time and I was literally surrounded by super professional thirty-somethings. I was really grateful to get to learn about professionalism and discipline from musicians I look up to, at the same time, I felt like I had to mature super quickly on tour to fit into the day-to-day schedules and make sure I was showing my best self on stage every night. 

Rudimental picked me up really early on in my career, and back then I was nowhere near as good an artist as I’ve become because of it. When we first started, I couldn’t sing live because of the stage fright – I worked through that on tour and now I have the confidence to sing anywhere – it was all mad and completely life-changing at the same time. I’m super grateful that they did that for me, that they had that faith in me and honestly it was the best experience ever. Coming off of the tour I had a sort of post-tour syndrome – it was like going from one extreme to another and then we went into lockdown, so it’s been it’s been a mind-bending experience to say the least. 

You also recently signed with Rudimental’s label Major Toms – is there anything you’re excited to do now that you’re signed?  

I think signing with Major Toms just further motivated me to continue building and putting out good music that I’m proud of. When you know that you’ve got that level of support there, you feel like you can focus on managing your career and figuring out the right people to collaborate on music with – it opens up a lot of doors for sure! Eventually, I want to get to a place where I can work with the artists that inspire me; people like Clean Bandit, Santan Dave and Burna Boy – that’s the dream. I’m really inspired by artists that have come out with quite a unique sound and worked really hard to steer their music into a popular space – I think learning to navigate that commercial space allows artists to really connect with the public. Since signing, I’ve been focusing on making a name for myself in the UK scene, whilst staying true to myself and diversifying my sound. 

What’s the rest of 2020 looking like for Morgan? Should we be looking forward to any new music from you before the year is out?

Right now, I’m focusing on incorporating acoustic sounds into my upcoming EP – it’s leaning towards a more urban sound at the minute so I want to add another element to the whole, allowing myself to strip back on heavy-production and just showcase my vocals. I want to show people another side to me with the EP, I want people to see that I’m multi-faceted as an artist and not boxed into one sound. So, you can expect loads of new music from me this year – I’m super excited to keep growing, improving and progressing.  

Lastly, in your own words, what does it mean to you to be a non-basic girl?

I feel like being non-basic is giving yourself the space to be who you want to be, to materialise a life for yourself where you’re comfortable with your identity. It’s not about comparisons and watching what other people are doing, it’s about embracing who you are a person and embracing your own journey in life as unique – that’s super important to me.  

Follow Morgan online to keep up to date on all her newest releases below!

COVER IMAGE: @morganconniesmith

TEXT: Tahirah Thomas