Sometimes, it’s the imperfections that turn something ordinary into extraordinary. Maren Morris’ slight vocal changes exemplify just that idea, as Zedd kept some of the singer’s raspiness on the final cut of “The Middle.”
Rather than clean every single riff up, Zedd thought adding the element of rough vocals to bring a bit of grit into his mix. The decision validated itself when the song soared up the charts after just mere weeks of its release.
“My favorite take was the second to last, when we were losing her voice and she gave everything. The bits where her voice starts cracking and the rasp comes out? That’s my sweet spot,” Zedd revealed about the recording process to Billboard.
While listeners know Morris’ voice to come out quite powerful and strong, she took a different approach on “The Middle” after becoming hoarse following a special holiday concert in Nashville. Thankfully, the sound positively changed the production level on the pop hit and made for a successful run after Zedd spun his magic on it in the studio.
“I lost my voice after opening for Keith Urban on New Year’s Eve in the freezing cold, so I had asked my doctor for a steroid or something to bring it back. The stakes were so high. Having listened to the demo so many times, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it, and Zedd really worked with me,” Morris admitted, regarding the vocal change.
Fans shouldn’t feel like Morris is abandoning her post in country music, as the collaboration with Zedd was just an opportunity that she couldn’t refuse and turned out for the best.
“Country fans may have been scared of [me] leaving the nest initially, but once the song came out they were just proud of me for making a catchy-as-hell song,” explained Morris, after praising fans for always remaining “loyal” to her craft.
Morris and Zedd will take the stage at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards when they air live from Las Vegas on Sunday, May 20, at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.