Take 'Em to Church: 6 Live Performances That Made Maren Morris a Star

Erika Goldring/FilmMagic
Maren Morris performs onstage at the 50th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 2, 2016 in Nashville, Tenn.

2016 was a huge year for country artist Maren Morris. After releasing a self-titled EP in late 2015, it wasn't long before she began a meteoric rise to fame. Singles like "My Church" and "80s Mercedes" earned her a hit album in debut Hero, which raked in heaps of acclaim from critics and fans alike thanks to smart, pop-leaning songwriting and Morris' otherworldly voice.

Since releasing Hero, Morris has hit milestone after milestone, including making her Saturday Night Live debut in December, winning New Artist of the Year at the 2016 CMA Awards in November and accepting the Breakthrough Star award at last year’s Billboard Women in Music event.

To top it off, she's nominated for four Grammys at this weekend's ceremony, including a spot in the coveted Best New Artist category. She's performing, too, and if her past performances are any indication, it's sure to be a highlight of the show. To get ready, we've rounded up six of our favorite performances from Morris below.

"Halo" (Beyoncé cover) on The Big D and Bubba Show

This one was filmed just over a year ago on the nationally syndicated radio program The Big D and Bubba Show, a mere month before Morris began her quick rise to fame. The intimate performance features a solo Morris on acoustic guitar and shows off the vocal fireworks for which she'd soon come to be known. 

"Fire Away" (Chris Stapleton cover) with the Brothers Osborne in Nashville

Morris and country duo the Brothers Osborne stole the show at the AIMP Nashville Awards at Ryman Auditorium in April with a cover of Chris Stapleton's Traveller tune "Fire Away." Morris and TJ Osborne, who has one of the best baritones in any genre, make a perfect pair on this affecting song, which sounds tailor-made to be performed as a duet.

"80s Mercedes" on Saturday Night Live

Morris made her SNL debut on the December 10 episode hosted by John Cena. In addition to "My Church," she performed a sultry version of second Hero single "80s Mercedes." Decked out in all gold, Morris gave credence to the song's "I'm a '90s baby" line, channeling the flashy aesthetic of old-school pop divas like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.

"Angel from Montgomery" (Bonnie Raitt and John Prine cover) with Alicia Keys on CMT Crossroads

 

There aren't many vocalists who could hold their own with Alicia Keys, but Morris is one of them. On the pair's episode of CMT's Crossroads, they brought down the house with a cover of the 1974 Bonnie Raitt and John Prine classic "Angel from Montgomery." 

"Once" Live from RCA Studio A

Morris sings the hell out of this lesser-known Hero cut, performing live with her band at Nashville's famed recording studio RCA Studio A. It's a casual setting -- before performing, Morris is seen palling around with a dog -- but the performance is anything but, the live take making a huge song somehow sound even more larger-than-life than its recorded counterpart.

"My Church" at the 2016 CMA Awards

Morris has delivered a number of stellar performances of Hero lead single "My Church," but this one at the CMA Awards in November takes the cake. She opens it a cappella underneath a single spotlight, before quickly revealing the famed Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Nashville gospel quartet the McCrary Sisters behind her onstage. It's a fun, soulful take on the hit and was one of the show's best moments.

2017 Grammys