Maren Morris is hard at work on her sophomore album, the follow-up to her 2016 Hero record. The singer, who wed Ryan Hurd in March, says her next set of tunes will be much different than her freshman project.
"The lyrics are more grown-up," Morris tells Rolling Stone Country. "I recorded my debut album when I was 24. I'm 28 now. Doesn't feel like that long ago, but a lot has happened in that chunk of time. I'm in a healthier headspace; I'm less judgmental of myself."
Morris is taking her cues from reignng hitmaker, Keith Urban, who invited Morris to open for him on his 2016 Ripcord World Tour.
"Keith Urban has actually given me a lot of great advice," says Morris. "He's like, 'This is a snapshot of your life. It's like a yearbook, so don't overthink your second album. It's just songs that reflect those years of time and then you move on and you make another album. Don't even worry about the deadlines; they whoosh past. Just focus on being in there.' That took some of the heat off me."
Morris isn't planning on making a life-changing record, at least not for anyone but herself.
"I don’t think you can really set out to make an iconic album and go in thinking, 'This is gonna change history,'" Morris maintains. "You go in and record the songs that you love the sh–– out of, and that's the most important thing, and everything else comes secondary after that. There's so many songs I've written for this new album, but I have a solid 13 songs I’m really confident in. So I think I’ve pushed a lot of the expectation and outside noise out of my brain and I'm just gonna go into a dark studio for a week and begin this sonic exploration."
As Morris prepares her next record, she says her favorite part is actually working on the music.
"I love sparring back and forth with people and just geeking out over mixes," says Morris. "I love the production element of making records. Even when I moved to Nashville, the reason I learned about production was from being in demo sessions from my songs when I was just a writer. I learned my voice sounds better with this certain kind of effect, or what guitars sound too slick and polished.
"I love everything to sound really trashy and fuzzed-out and soulful," she adds. "I love giving musicians leeway. There's gotta be this mutual respect there, because they respect me because these are my songs and I respect them to give them creative freedom to do what they do."
Photo Credit: Instagram/marenmorris