William Michael Morgan: Keeping Traditional Country Music Cool
One of the major success stories of 2016 has been the rise of Warner Brothers recording artist William Michael Morgan. The Vicksburg, Mississippi native has made many a fan across the nation, due to the chart-topping success of his “I Met A Girl.” Morgan – who has just released his debut album Vinyl – is frequently mentioned as an artist who is leading a wave of new traditional-based artists. He’s glad for the attention, for sure, but knows he isn’t alone.
“I appreciate the fans for giving me a job, buying the CD, and coming out to the shows, and giving me an opportunity to do what I do and supporting Country Music. Second of all, I just make music. I love the kind of music that I grew up on. I want to put as much of that influence into my music, but I’m just doing what I do. Of course, we want to be part of the group that is waving the flag for Country Music, But, I don’t think it’s just one guy. I think it’s going to take all of us, like Jon Pardi, Mo Pitney, Ray Scott, and Granger Smith to keep it blipping on the radar,” the singer says humbly.
2017 will offer him plenty of chances to wave the traditional flag, as he will touring with Lee Brice and Justin Moore on the American Made Tour, something that he is very excited about. He says he’s already spent some time on the road with Moore, and is trying to learn as much as he can.
“We’ve done a couple of dates with him on his Kinda Don’t Care Tour. It’s been fun learning from that cat. He’s a veteran, and has been doing this for a while. It’s fun watching him, taking little bits of his show, and putting them in mine.”
One of the most ironic parts of the success of “Girl” is that it was written by Sam Hunt – an artist whose sound is far different from that of Morgan. But, the newcomer says he was just glad to have a shot at the song – regardless of whose name is credited as the writer.
“It’s just a great song. At least I thought it was when I first heard it. It didn’t matter who wrote it to me. A great song is a great song. We went in, put our own little spin on it, and made it us. It all ended up having a very good outcome – one that we’re very proud of. It doesn’t matter who writes the song. I only had two of my own songs on the album. It’s all about finding a song, and making it your own.”
On his way back to Nashville from a promotional stop in New York recently, Morgan gave his fellow fliers aboard Southwest Airlines an experience they won’t forget – a mini concert. In describing the experience, he said “That was so cool. It was definitely different. I thought it might be hard, that we might not be able to hear, and some people might be upset because they didn’t feel a part of it, but it seemed to resonate with everybody. I was flying back here from New York City. We were up there promoting the album when it dropped. Fortunately, there wasn’t any turbulence or anything. It was smooth. Southwest was so accommodating to us. I just love how sweet they were to us.”
In describing his influences, Morgan cited Mark Chesnutt as his biggest, calling the singer “a friend and a mentor.” He also talked about growing up on the music of acts such as Merle Haggard, Gene Watson, and Gary Stewart – and of course, George Strait. He got a chance to meet the iconic Texan not long ago, and says it was everything he ever hoped it would be.
“It was an unreal feeling, very cool. It was kind of personal setting, but he was a very nice guy.”
Morgan’s second single, “Missing,” is at radio now.