Your Definition of Music Doesn’t Define Maren Morris

Maren Morris has a lot to say. A lot. So when you sit down with her to talk music, expect the conversation to go off on some tangents: marriage therapy, gun control, family planning, and the ongoing debate over radio’s unbalanced playlist.

That’s why the latest interview with Morris with Esquire is so damn good. She is an open book, with so much to say. And that has made for a 2,200-word story.

But it’s the talk about her latest batch of music on GIRL that I think we all need to hear.

“I remember having to really define my role in the beginning. If it’s not country enough for you, change the channel,” Morris says now. “If you’re wanting to hear me with no production, then watch YouTube videos of me as a teenager at coffee shops.” (I am ashamed to admit how many hours I’ve already put in in a search for those videos. If you find one, please tag me on Twitter so I can get on with my life.)

“I don’t (make music) because it’s what you define. I’m defining what I want it to be.”

Morris goes on to talk about her mindset when she was making her debut album. “On Hero, I was just coming out of this very co-dependent, toxic relationship,” she said. Then there is talk of Morris’ vast array of collaborations, beyond just “The Middle.”

“Common” is a song she sings with Brandi Carlile (who’d written her a thank you note because she is grateful that her daughters get to grow up in a world where there’s a woman like Morris in country music). “Dear Hate” is one she sings with Vince Gill (and stemmed from the mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina in June 2015). And even more recently, Morris was initiated into the all-girl group the Highwomen that Carlile, Amanda Shires and Margo Price have formed.

Carlile has become such a close friend of Morris’ that she joined her onstage at her recent show at the Ryman Auditorium, along with Miranda Lambert, Cassadee Pope and Natalie Hemby.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She’s based in Chicago, but she’s always leaving her heart in Nashville.