Morgan Wallen Returns to Stage for First Live Performance Since Racial Slur Controversy
Morgan Wallen took the stage for a brief performance at Kid Rock's bar in downtown Nashville on Wednesday night, performing his song "Wasted on You" and No. 1 single "Whiskey Glasses" for a packed crowd. Fan videos from the evening show Kid Rock, who was also present, performing his and Sheryl Crow's duet, "Picture," before Wallen got on stage.
The Tennessee native performed first with an acoustic guitar before he was joined by the house band. "Everyone was just floored," Daniel Kensy, who was present for the performance, told the Tennessean. "Morgan really wanted to be playing his music for the people. Definitely could sense it ... the overall feeling was tremendous." The impromptu set was Wallen's first public appearance since his racial slur controversy in February.
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In a handwritten note to fans in April, Wallen stated that he would not be performing any concerts or festivals this summer as he worked on himself following the controversy. He was scheduled to open for Luke Bryan on the singer's Proud to Be Right Here Tour as well as perform at several festivals. "I wanted to let you guys know that…[I] feel like I've really worked on myself. I'm proud of the work I've put in, and in many ways thankful to have had the time to do it. I will always strive to be better," he told fans. "Not only has this time revealed to me the ways in which I want to improve, but it's also reminded me that I am still very proud of who I am and the man I am becoming."
Wallen wrote that while he will not be performing, "it's important to me personally, if you can, still go to these shows — support country music. Country music is back and that's a beautiful damn thing."
Earlier this week, Wallen was reinstated by his record label, Big Loud, which is partnered with Republic Records/Universal Music Group. His suspension lasted nearly four months and was one of a host of consequences the 28-year-old suffered after his he was caught on video using a racial slur earlier this year. Big Loud did not formally address the reinstatement but quietly added Wallen back to its online list of artists, according to Digital Music News. The move comes after label CEO Seth England praised Wallen's talent and declared that "cancellation is a slippery slope" before Big Loud footed the bill on a birthday golf outing with the singer.