We hate to say we told you so, but in this case, we definitely did. Last December, we spoke with up-and-coming country singer-songwriter Maren Morris, who was then just on the cusp of becoming a star. At that time, Morris had only just released My Church, her first EP. Now, four months later, she’s preparing for stardom.
This week, Morris announced on Facebook that she would be releasing Hero, her first-ever full-length album. “This record really encapsulates everything that's been bouncing around my head for the past 3 years,” she wrote. “It's woven with every thread of my influences, which pulls from the country and R&B landscapes.” The album’s name is based on a song that Morris did not release on the EP, in which she explains her role as the hero in her own story.
Morris first took the stage in Texas as a child star. She grew up in Arlington and toured the state as a kid. At 22, she moved to Nashville, and has come a long way in these past few years. She’s written songs for Kelly Clarkson and, late last year, saw her first single climb to No. 5 on the Billboard Top Country Songs chart after debuting at No. 1 on the Heatseekers chart.
Her ascent has been incredibly fast. Just two months after releasing the EP, Morris has been featured by everyone from Spotify to NPR, toured Europe, and, of course, announced her debut album. This week, she’ll appear at the Spotify House and YouTube Music Showcase during the festivities at South by Southwest. On June 3, she'll release Hero, which will likely see the same critical and radio success that the EP brought last year.
Originally, she was scheduled to join Lady Antebellum frontman Charles Kelley on his first-ever solo tour, but has since embarked on her own dates as a headliner. She’ll also play at the Academy of Country Music’s Party For a Cause, held in Las Vegas just before the 51st annual ACM Awards next week. Later this year, she’ll join Keith Urban for his ripCORD world tour, which hits Dallas on October 14 at the American Airlines Center.
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Of course, it’s important to note that it all started in Dallas. Or at least in Arlington, Morris’ hometown. She played her first show at the iconic Johnnie High Country Music Revue at just 11 years old, a sort of rite of passage for artists who get their start in Texas, including LeAnn Rimes and Kacey Musgraves, who is now Morris’ longtime friend.
Fortunately, Morris isn’t quick to forget where she comes from. "The support I’ve had from home has made it so much more fun to put music out. I talk to my friends here who are writers and are from all over the country,” she told the Observer in December. “The common theme is that they had to move to Nashville to find a music scene,” she added, but made clear that things had been different for her: “They came from middle-of-nowhere towns. I grew up in such a solid scene, and that makes me feel really lucky.”