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Sobriety and Mental Health Struggles Shaped Morgan Wade’s Debut Album: Emerging Artists Spotlight

This week’s pick for Billboard's Emerging Artists Spotlight is Morgan Wade, who debuted at No. 42 on the chart dated April 3 thanks to her debut album Reckless.

Welcome to Emerging Artists Spotlight, the Billboard series where we highlight a musician who has recently made his or her debut on the Emerging Artists chart. Whether they are new to the industry, or have been around for a while but are just starting to have a chart impact, the intention is to showcase where they are here and now. This week’s pick is Morgan Wade, who debuted at No. 42 on the chart dated April 3 thanks to her debut album Reckless.

Morgan Wade defines this chapter in her life as Reckless, the title of her debut album, for a reason.

The 26-year-old sings about desperately wanting relationships she’s prone to resisting on “Take Me Away,” going back to a significant other one last time on “Last Cigarette,” finding the beauty in breaking down on “Don’t Cry” and recalling feeling broken on “Mend,” the only song on the 10-track LP she wrote before she getting sober four years ago.

“The main thing I want to convey with my music is authenticity and realness. Sharing my struggles through art, and hoping that I can help someone else along the way,” the Morgan Wade and the Stepbrothers leader tells Billboard.


Reckless opens at No. 14 on the Heatseekers Albums chart with 3,000 copies sold in its first week, according to MRC Data. The debuts on Emerging Artists and Heatseekers mark Wade’s first appearances on any Billboard charts.

“It has taken me a while to find my voice, and a place in music where I feel I can ‘fit in.’ During these years of figuring myself out I’ve gotten sober and worked on my mental health,” Wade says. “I wouldn’t change any of it — it’s led me to where I am and helped shape my music and my life.”

Learn more about Wade below.

Hometown: Floyd, Virginia

Recommended Morgan Wade track: “Last Cigarette”

Outside of the music: “I’ve been focusing on ultrarunning. It’s mindblowing, what the human body is capable of. I’ve also found the ultrarunning community to be so open and made up of a lot of sober people. So that helped me maintain sobriety as well as train for something to push myself.”

What’s next: “I hope to be touring and promoting Reckless as much as possible — as things are opening up. Definitely working on new material. I already have my ideas for record No. 2.”

Past Emerging Artists Spotlights: DPR IanCloud Nothings | Clinton Kane | Babyface Ray | Sara Kay | Langhorne Slim | Bicep | Asiahn | Morray | Benee | Breland | (Sandy) Alex G | Charly Bliss | Tank and the Bangas | J.S. Ondara | Mabel | Kiana Lede | Joshua Bassett