In 2016, a relatively unknown Marina Morgan premiered “Paralyzed,” a ringing pop anthem dedicated to the undyingly positive attitude she’s kept throughout her battle with Lyme disease — a fight that nearly left her blind in one eye, and immobilized by pain on her worst days.
But in 2018, the 25-year-old Staten Island native is ready to move forward from her survivor narrative, as she makes her way through recovery, via pop music more focused on her life now than with her painful health struggles in the past.
“I want to show now that I have my struggles, but I’m also a regular girl,” she shares. “I wanna share how I am with friends, and like, I have a love life…”
While Morgan is ready to tell a slightly different life story now, things were much more complex in 2015, when she was first diagnosed. It took nearly two years of unimaginably painful symptoms before it was clear that she had Lyme disease.
“It was horrible, I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed,” she recalls. “I had excruciating pain running down from my spine into my legs — pain throughout my head. I would lose my balance, eating was extremely difficult.”
And prior to 2015, Morgan’s medical history was similarly complicated. When she was 13, she lost her ability to walk, after the degenerative disease acute disseminated encephalomyelitis attacked her brain cells, leaving her temporarily paralyzed. As of now, she still struggles with balance, but her overall health is on the ups: “Of course I’m not fully recovered, and I have my days that I struggle, but I’m definitely doing much better.”
As Morgan begins to tell her story from where it is currently, she’s pairing a painful past with a sound that is unapologetically pop. It’s always been her favorite genre, and she looks to embody the sounds she used to hear on charts like the Billboard Hot 100.
“What’s so great about pop music is that it can be so different — like, you can play around with it — and there’s so many things to explore within that one genre,” she says. “I’ve always listened to mainstream music, and that’s what made me want to go into this.”
With a voice that is undeniably full-bodied, Morgan enunciates her words clearly and emphatically in a way that draws her somewhere between pop and Broadway. And while the theatrical touch may not be intentional, it makes sense — as she cites Celine Dion as one of her idols, and Bruno Mars as a dream collaboration.
Her targeted sound is clear on “Nightmare,” her latest single, which she debuted on the Elvis Duran Show earlier this fall, calling it a “breakaway” from the survivor story of “Paralyzed.” The cut caught iHeartRadio’s attention, resulting in the platform naming her one of their emerging artists at the time.
Morgan’s next project has no set title or release date, but she says been in the studio working on it every day. Her current pace, with both life and music, is something that still shocks her as she looks to the future.
“I’m only in the beginning part of this process, but so many little things are starting to happen that I couldn’t have ever imagined years ago,” she says. “I’m taking it day by day and enjoying every opportunity and experience. We’ll see what happens, but I hope to continue making music and inspiring for as long as I possibly can.”