Blessed with girl-next-door good looks—tall, slender with long, blonde locks and emotive doe-eyes—you’ll want to hug her immediately, and she’ll want to hug you, too. Yes, she’s that girl. After a brief chat with her, you realize the incredible work ethic that not only carried her on this long and complex journey, but continues to drive her to grow better with each song she writes. Yes, she writes her own songs. And you haven’t yet heard her sing.
At a time when country music is experiencing a virtual drought when it comes to women’s voices on the radio, Morgan Frazier has arrived. It’s a confident statement, but the Breckenridge, Texas native is truly a breath of fresh air for the format. While other female newcomers are positioning themselves as the next Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood or Taylor Swift, Morgan is simply being Morgan.
Success, even the drive to succeed, wasn’t immediate though. Her first public appearance came at the tender age of five and it was, to put it mildly, a disaster. She explains, "I sang ‘When You Say Nothing At All,’ at a local talent show, but I grew up Church of Christ, which was no music. It’s all a cappella singing. So that’s where I learned to sing. But at this talent show I had to sing to tracks, which I had never done before. I got up there and I got off the beat of the music, because I didn’t know how to sing with tracks, so I performed with my head down the whole time. When I got off stage, I told my mom, ‘I’m never, ever singing again.’" The tot still managed to score a People’s Choice award, and that alone was enough to ignite a fire in her to continue performing. And her parents, recognizing their daughter’s talent and supportive of her dream, were delighted to chauffeur Morgan to those Texas jamborees where she eventually met the man she fondly refers to as her grandpa. Grandpa Art saw the immense talent in the aspiring country star and not only taught her to play guitar, making tracks a thing of the past, he also instilled in her a love of traditional country music.
But it isn’t just straight up country that has influenced the young songbird. Thanks to her family and her grandpa, Morgan has been exposed to a variety of musical styles. But she does have her own tastes. "I love Randy Rogers Band, Johnny Cooper, but my mom was into Motown funk music -- Earth, Wind and Fire type thing," she says. "My dad was into Led Zeppelin and Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, and that type of thing. And then my grandpa, he taught me everything from Hank Snow to Patsy Montana to Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline. So I got three completely different genres of music. And I’ve always said I love a song, a good song. I’m a song person. I doesn’t matter what kind of music it is. I love it all."
In the process of performing at jamborees, talent shows and rodeos, the aspiring artist wasn’t just honing her performing skills, she was also becoming a burgeoning entrepreneur. On the advice of concert go-ers who heard her sing and wanted to take that voice home, the nine-year-old’s parents paid $2,000 for their daughter to make a CD to sell at shows. But that wasn’t quite enough for the go-getter. "I was doing the rodeo queen circuit around the same time and you had to go door-to-door and sell rodeo tickets. That’s how you get into that whole thing. Whoever sells the most tickets wins," she explains. "So, I thought, ‘I can get rid of these CDs by selling them and instead of going house-to-house, I’ll go store-to-store." It worked. Whether the business-owners were taken by the young executive’s initiative or blown away by her impromptu by-request live performance, she sold a whopping 30,000 CDs at $10 a pop.
The success came as a surprise to the entire Frazier family. "There was no plan," Morgan says. "We didn’t know what we were doing." But they packed up the entire clan in a travel trailer and began taking Morgan and her music across the country, eventually and inevitably landing in Nashville. And that’s when the whirlwind began. She says, "We had been in Nashville six months selling CDs and my mom found a contest in the paper at the Preston Hotel here in Nashville. So we went and I just happened to get in front of the right people." Morgan ended up winning the contest, beating out older, more seasoned writers. The prize was to have one of her original songs recorded by a Category Five Records artist, but instead of following through with that promise, they instead offered the then 13-year-old her own record deal. That was a little too fast for the Fraziers though, and young Morgan ultimately passed on the offer from the now shuttered indie label. However she did meet with the person who would become her manager, but not before returning to Texas to reconsider her dreams of making music.
Eventually the desire to share her passion was too great and, with the encouragement of her manager, Morgan came back to Nashville with hopes of refining her songwriting chops and giving it another go.
This time, it stuck.
It is said in Nashville that "it all starts with a song" and regardless of appearance, personality or talent, if the songs aren’t there, nothing is there. The songs are there. When Morgan’s manager, John Northrup, encouraged her to return to Music City, he also offered to pair her with a songwriting friend of his, but it wasn’t just any Nashville songwriter. The man who has written most of George Strait’s biggest hits—Dean Dillon—was her first co-write. She lights up when she talks about it. "People dream about writing with him and it just happened that my manager was good friends with him and asked him a favor. And so I go into write with him and we hit it off. And we’ve written many songs since and I got to learn how to write from those guys—Dean Dillon, Paul Overstreet, John Scott Sherrill."
She’s come a long way from that first performance at five-years-old, to writing her first song at seven-years-old ("In the Gates of Heaven"—a gospel song she sang at Show and Tell) to writing and signing with Curb Records’ sister label, Sidewalk Records, at 16. And the evolution has been gradual and subtle because the talent was always there—the innate talent of a natural born performer whose destiny was inevitably under the spotlight.
Effortless, pure, rich, sweet without being saccharin and even owning a little feminine swagger, Morgan is poised to be a voice on the radio that is easily and instantly identifiable. From the sweet waltz of "Part Of My Show," to the edgy push of "Cowboys Ride," to her the insanely infectious "Yellow Brick Road," you’ll know it’s undoubtedly Morgan. And it’s undeniably good.
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