Maren Morris doesn't need – or want – to be defined as just a country artist. The singer, who just released her new single, "GIRL" from her upcoming sophomore album, knows she is pushing genre lines with her latest tune, a fact she willingly embraces.
“After ‘The Middle,’ I've just become braver,” Morris told Billboard. “I don’t really care so much about the thing that may end up happening that I’ve already dealt with in the past – [people telling me] “You’re not country!” And that’s okay. I’m a little bit of everything.”
"GIRL," which Morris co-wrote with Sarah Aarons, who co-wrote "The Middle," and renowned pop songwriter Greg Kurstin, became the singer's gateway to introducing a softer, less afraid version of herself.
“Me choosing ‘Girl’ as the first single, it’s about transitioning from someone who felt like she didn't need anybody into someone who very much needs people and is okay with admitting that,” Morris explained. “That really frightening vulnerability that I've been trying to avoid, I’m not doing that any longer.”
Morris might never had the courage to release "GIRL," or any of the other songs on her next record, if not for "The Middle," which opened her eyes to the wide array of music she was drawn to.
"My first record had a little bit of everything: country, R&B, soul, pop," said Morris. "That was just me trying things out and being inspired ... With this album, with the budget being a little bigger. I have orchestral vibes and strings on a few songs. There’s a song on it that is straight up pop R&B. It’s still me, though, because it’s my songwriting, it’s my voice. My voice strings everything together in a cohesive way. I think 'The Middle,' and touring around the world the last couple of years, has made me see beyond the frame of the U.S. There are fans all over the world who love all kinds of music – and I’m one of them, so my album reflects that."
Morris previously revealed that her upcoming project would have plenty of love songs on it, thanks to her new husband, Ryan Hurd, whose influence can be felt in the entire record.
"This album is really about self-acceptance and partner acceptance," Morris shared. "The first half of the album is very self-reflective, and it's more about me. Then the second half of the record transitions into me being the counterpart to somebody else. I didn’t have any love songs on Hero, so there are a lot more on this one, and I think that’s been a really beautiful side to being a touring musician. You never see the person, you miss them all the time, and he’s a musician as well, so we’re constantly writing with each other or about each other.
"A lot of these songs reflect that," she added. "He actually wrote a couple of songs on this album with me. I feel like I’ve grown up more in the years since I released that album. And this is the timestamp of that."
Photo Credit: Getty images/Theo Wargo