If ever there were a born entrepreneur, Texas-bred teenager Morgan Frazier would personify it. The industrious singer-songwriter took control of her career very early on, deciding that she wanted to be a musician and coming up with a nose-to-the-grindstone plan to achieve the dream (read on!) before she even turned double digits in age.
Frazier not only began her plan, she saw it all the way through, eschewing a typical childhood to play shows and bring her music across the country, with the help of her supportive parents. By the time the talented kiddo arrived in Music City, she was an unstoppable force, landing a deal with Curb Records at 16 and scoring time with some of the city's top songwriters. She's now put out an EP, Yellow Brick Road, and the future is looking pretty golden as well.
We at Our Country had the opportunity to speak with Frazier about her self-driven journey, her songwriting, and what she's planning on conquering next. Enjoy!
Our Country: You got your record deal at just 16 years old. Can you talk about your path to becoming a performer?
Morgan Frazier: I've always loved to sing. I'm from Texas originally, and I made my first CD when I was 9 years old. It wasn't anything professional; my parents paid for it. My parents ended up ordering a thousand copies of it, and they sat in my living room for a while. And we were like, "Well, they're just sitting here, why don't we get rid of them--let's sell them." So, long story short, we ended up selling about 30,000 copies of those CDs from door to door in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma. I'd walk into hair salons and car dealerships saying "Hi I'm Morgan Frazier, I'm 9 years old, would you like to buy my CD?" It was probably hard saying no to a little 9-year-old in a cowboy hat asking you to buy her CD (laughs).
Did you write the music on that CD yourself?
Most of it. There were a few covers. "Me And Bobby McGee." "You Ain't Woman Enough To Take My Man."
I'd love to hear "You Ain't Woman Enough To Take My Man" out of the mouth of a 9-year-old!
(Laughs) My mom always hated when I sang that song. I was like, "I like this song!" The other cover was "Lovesick Blues" by Hank Williams Sr.
And so that started you off selling your music across the country. Your family was incredibly supportive from the get-go, right?
My parents are very spontaneous people, so they were like "Hey, let's do this, obviously we can make money at it and survive, so let's sell everything we have and pack up and go and do it." And I could never be thankful enough for that, because I'm from a really small town, and if it wasn't for them, I would probably still be in that small town.
So, then you moved to Nashville--by yourself--at age 16.
That ended up bringing me to Nashville. I was definitely in the right place at the right time, I don't think there's really a right way or a handbook to say "Okay this is how you get a record deal." I think everybody has their own path and mine was definitely God-sent. I never would have been able to do this without Him.
Your parents weren't worried about you being on your own in Nashville at just 16 years old? They didn't try to push you into college, or anything like that?
No, no. They were like, whatever you want to do. I graduated from homeschool when I was 16, and as soon as I started my deal I was in Nashville by myself just writing songs every day, and I worked at a place called Tootsie's Lounge, and I sang for tips to pay rent and all the things that I needed to pay here.
You're only 19 now. Are you still considering going to university?
(Laughs) There's no way I'd have time! I thought about it though--maybe going later. Or maybe taking some online classes.
You are a very strong songwriter. Have you written for any other artists yet?
No, but I hope to. If Miranda Lambert wants to cut one of my songs I'd be like, heck yeah!
What is your general songwriting process?
I primarily write on acoustic guitar, and I'm a very melody-driven writer. I usually come up with a melody first, and then put lyrics to it. There are those cases where I'll have lyrics already; you know, it'll hit me in the middle of the night or something. But mostly I'm a melody writer.
Speaking of songwriting, you've chosen a tough city in terms of competition--as you know, Nashville is full of extraordinary writing and performing talent. That said, what do you think makes your music stand out from the pack? What do you think is your most unique element as an artist?
I try to be me, and be comfortable with who I am and what I do. I'm not one of those people who, as a songwriter, is going to sing about how my daddy was a farmer or that kind of thing. Anything that I'm going to sing is going to be something that comes from my heart, and if I'm going to record something that someone else has written, it's going to be "Wow, I wish I would have written this, because this song is about me." So I hope my relatability shows through. My style is very girl-next-door; my main thing is I want people to treat me like I'm one of the girls, that they can come up and talk to me. I'm not wearing stilettos on stage and my hair's not perfect, you know, that kind of thing.