Maren Morris on Her Multiple Grammy Nominations and 'The Middle' Success: 'This Is the Best News to End 2018 On'

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Maren Morris attends the 66th Annual BMI Country Awards on Nov. 13, 2018 in Nashville, Tenn.

“The Middle,” Maren Morris’ genre-busting hit collaboration with EDM stars Zedd and Grey, was practically born during the 2018 Grammys: The country singer recorded her vocals two weeks before the awards show, shot the music video the next week and then saw the clip air during a commercial break at the ceremony the week after that. Next year at the 2019 Grammys, however, Morris and her collaborators might have more to celebrate than just the song’s anniversary. On Friday (Dec. 7), "The Middle" was nominated for three Grammys: record of the year, song of the year and best pop duo/group performance.

“This is the best news to end 2018 on,” says Morris, who is up for three country awards herself for her songs “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” and the Vince Gill duet “Dear Hate.” “I’ve had a really amazing year paired with ‘The Middle.’ I went on tour with Niall Horan, and the crowds in South America were singing ‘The Middle’ back so loud, and that’s when I got it: That song had officially gone around the world, and a song of my own had never quite had that extent of a reach. I’m sure Zedd would say the same thing: We’re an unlikely pair, but because it fit the song so well, it was a great marriage of genres. The Grammys are known for these unlikely Grammy Moment collaborations, so to have a song that really represented what the Grammys are about is really full circle.”

Morris is not a first-time nominee -- she was up for four awards at the 2017 Grammys, including best new artist, thanks to the strength of her 2016 debut album, Hero. Yet she says the Recording Academy’s recognition is just as meaningful this time around. “This is the best news to end 2018 on,” Morris says. “To have nominations across the board is astounding to me, because I haven’t put an album out in the past two years,” Morris says. “It’s crazy to not be in an album cycle and have this amazing validation.”

The singer learned about the good news while watching a CBS live stream of the nominations on her phone moments before a flight. “They announced it right before we took off,” she recalls. “Thank God the plane had Wi-Fi so I could text my husband and my manager and my parents and everyone I knew. It feels like my phone hasn’t gone off all day.”

Now, Morris will play her final show of 2018 tonight -- “I’m doing a show with Brothers Osborne, who were also nominated, so I’ll feel like we’ll have a little celebration” -- and then head back to Nashville to treat herself with some downtime. “I have no plans of leaving my house,” she says with a laugh. “My husband put a bottle of Dom in the fridge, and we’re going to drink it in the morning and just chill out and not see anyone for the rest of the weekend. I remember the first year I was nominated, we did the same thing, so it’s kind of a tradition now.” 

2019 Grammy Awards