Billboard Women In Music 'Breakthrough Star' Maren Morris: 'You Can't Shake That Feeling' When People Sing Your Lyrics to You

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Austin Hargrave
“I didn’t set out to have a specific sound,” says Morris, photographed on Sept. 22, 2016 at Essanay Studios in Chicago. “I just wanted to sound like me, and ‘me’ is an amalgam of a lot of different influences.”

"My life has become a lot more ... structured,” says Maren Morris of her whirlwind past year. She laughs, then adds: “In a good way! I probably needed it.” November’s Country Music Association Awards -- where Morris performed her roof-shaking hit single “My Church,” then won best new artist -- felt like the new business-as-usual for the 26-year-old Texan. Her June debut, Hero, bowed at No. 1 on Top Country Albums, thanks in part to the buzz Morris first built on Spotify. Since then, “My Church” has gone platinum, and Morris opened for Keith Urban’s recent arena tour (she’ll headline her own starting in February). And though Morris started out writing for the likes of Tim McGraw and Kelly Clarkson, it’s clear her voice now stands strongly on its own. “Having people sing my lyrics back to me at every show is the hardest evidence that they’re translating to a massive number of people,” she says. “You can’t shake that feeling.”

Wait For It:
“When I was 16, I wanted a record deal so badly, for it all to happen right away. It’s so much sweeter to know that everything I have now is the result of really sweating for it.”

All She Wants To Do...
“I would love to collaborate with Sheryl Crow. Everyone’s chasing the sound she had on those early albums. They sound like they were made yesterday.”

Homecoming:
“Playing Dallas’ American Airlines Center was like going home for a high school reunion. To be on that stage with an entire cheering section -- I started crying.”

Watch Maren Morris visit New York City, where she swings by Broadway to see Hamilton, eats at Red Rooster restaurant in Harlem and more.


​This article originally appeared in the Dec. 10 issue of Billboard. Billboard's Women In Music event takes place on Dec. 9 in New York City and airs on Lifetime Dec. 12. 

2016 Billboard Women in Music

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