Maren Morris Says Her Country Success Came ‘At a Moral Cost’
Maren Morris is adding a new layer to the story of her departure — or not — from the country music format.
In a new interview with Variety, Morris doubles down on a sentiment she first expressed earlier this month: That it's impossible for her to fully separate herself from country music, because the genre is so deeply enmeshed with who she is as an artist as a person.
But she still sees some unacceptable downsides to working within the industry side of the format.
"I don't think I'm this bada-- or anything; I just got so sick of being a 'yes' person to get ahead," Morris explains. "I've been successful, but — I think — at a moral cost. I couldn't keep doing the same song and dance."
Essentially, the singer says, she wants to stop hitching her wagon to the cycle of promotion, press junkets and Music Row politics. In her Variety interview, Morris points to heroes like the Chicks and her fellow the Highwomen bandmates (Amanda Shires, Brandi Carlile and Natalie Hemby, plus a rotating cast of special guests like Yola) for inspiring her to speak out for causes she believes in, even if that means going against country music's status quo.
During the civil rights protests that took place across the nation and world in 2020, Morris began to feel more than ever that it was time to call for change in country music. At that year's CMA Awards, while onstage accepting an award for her hit song "The Bones," she had a realization.
"I looked around at the crowd and stupidly realized for the first time that there were basically only white people there," she remembers. "I wish that I had woken up sooner."
Morris' next chapter might finding her distancing herself from the parts of the industry that frustrate her most, but she's not reinventing herself entirely. As she puts it, she's got no plans to become a "pop star," adding, "Obviously, no — like, that's hilarious."
"... I'm not getting out of Dodge. I love living in Nashville, and I don't consider myself an expat of country music," she continues. "There's so many amazing people here making music that matters. I'm a piece of this town, and I want to make it better in the same ways I want the music industry to be better."
Most recently, Morris put out a two-pack of songs called "The Tree" and "Get the Hell Out of Here." Collectively, they're her new EP The Bridge.