ASBO Meets: Morgan

Photo Credit: Thomas Knights

Hailing from Watford, singer-songwriter Morgan has become one of the most anticipated new voices within British music in the past few years. With a foot in both the pop and R&B worlds, Morgan is an artist who draws you in through her lush melodies, captivating performances and charismatic personality. She recently signed with South London electronic collective Rudimental’s label ‘Major Toms’ and her career has been on an upward trajectory ever since. She has now revealed her latest track and video, entitled ‘Nobody Else’ an electronic-tinged pop banger featuring London based rapper Kasien. ASBO met with Morgan to discuss this latest track, her journey and future plans.

Where are you from originally and how would you describe what you do for people who haven’t heard your music before?

So, I’m from Watford, born and raised. I love it because it’s just outside of London so it’s a bit quieter, but it’s still very close to there which is ideal for my music career. The music I make is commercial pop R&B but with an edge to it. I want to bring a different side to pop music, my biggest inspiration is Rihanna and what she does. She has stayed true to herself and her culture whilst also catering for a wide pop audience. That’s what I want to do.

What are some of your first memories relating to finding an interest in listening to and making music?

Well, I grew up in a very musical family. Mr Vegas, the Jamaican dancehall artist, he’s my cousin. I’ve got quite a few musical family members, it’s in my blood. Growing up, my dad had a studio in the spare room in our house, I used to sit on his lap and watch him produce. He writes rap music and sings. He’s a really good singer, I think that’s where I got my voice from.

Photo Credit: Thomas Knights

What inspires you as an artist? Both musically and non musically?

Ok, so musically what inspires me is seeing people perform. People like Rihanna, Beyoncé, Michael Jackson, seeing these artists, that’s what pushed me as a child to want to be a musician because they’re so good at what they do. The hard work that they put in is inspirational. I also get inspired by putting myself in uncomfortable positions, I feel like for as long as you’re comfortable then you’re never going to strive for more. Let’s say I have stage fright, I would put myself in front of a crowd and it would feel uncomfortable, but you have to do things like that to get over stage fright. In terms of non-musical influences, I’d say my mom’s side of the family. They’re half English and half Jamaican, it’s a really sick mix. It’s very interesting because the two halves of me are different culturally and musically.

Your song Behave featuring Jevon, tackles some sensitive topics thematically. Where do you draw ideas from when writing songs like this? Do you write from personal experiences or do you pull ideas from somewhere else?

You know what, when I write music, I enjoy writing about personal experiences when it feels right, but most of the time I prefer to write about imaginary situations. When you write about something you’ve gone through, it can get a little bit too personal, some people can thrive off of their own experiences, I can’t do that, I’m not that sort of artist. I do prefer to write about imaginary situations, like my song Mulholland Drive, I haven’t lost my license before, I find it more creative and more inspiring to write about things that haven’t gone through. However, I did have in mind the fact that a lot of people have gone through what I sing about in the track, even if I haven’t. So I feel like a lot of people could relate to the track.

You featured on Rudimental’s hit, ‘Be The One’ alongside Digga D, how did that collaboration come about? What was it like working with them both?

All three of us made that together in the studio, there was an Afrobeat version which was just me and TIKE which was going to be the original, we sat with that version for a while, but after the success of Rudimental’s track with Tion Wayne, we realised how much people loved rappers on garage and decided to make a garage version with a rapper featuring and make that the main version of the track.

We decided to get Digga D, he’s one of the hottest rappers at the moment. We got into the studio with him, he wrote his verse and we were all catching the vibe together it was great. He makes drill music so we didn’t expect him to vibe with the track as much as he did, he loved it, it was great to be in the room with him and the rest of the guys as we made it.

On your YouTube channel you have a lot of stripped back, acoustic versions of some of your hits such as Behave and Mulholland Drive , what is it about these more intimate versions that you enjoy creating so much?

My love for these more stripped back versions comes from who I am as an artist and how much I love performing live. I grew up singing at church, so for me, anything live is amazing. I want to show people a different side to my vocals. I want to show people two sides to me and my songs, so people can listen to the stripped back more emotive versions or the more upbeat versions depending on their mood.

Your latest track, Nobody Else featuring Kasien, is very dance-focused with electronic music producer Karma Kid providing production. Is your creative process for making more dance focused tracks?

I’m not the sort of person who goes into the studio with a set-in-stone plan. I like to be quite free in my creative process, I don’t want to force anything. Sometimes you can go into a session and want to make a dance track or a pop track and you end up coming out with something completely different because you forced it too much. I think music is about feeling so if I make a song and I get a good feeling about it I will go with it. When I made ‘Nobody Else’ with Kasien, we both had a feeling in our stomachs like this song is special. The lyrics are very inspiring, we wanted to write a song about waking up, feeling good and treating your body well just having a good time. The video also reflects that vibe.

What has been the most challenging thing about being an artist, and what has been the most rewarding

The most challenging thing is making sure you stay true to yourself. I think it’s very important that you always stay true to how you are, it sounds very cliché but it’s true, in this industry you can get forced to look or act a certain way, and you must stay true to yourself, because at the end of the day, if I become this global superstar, and I’ve not been myself throughout the process, I’m not going to feel like I’ve got there through my talent.

The most rewarding thing is being on stage, you can sit in front of a laptop and see your stream go up and that is a great feeling, but it’s just numbers on a screen. When you are in front of people and they’re screaming your name and singing your songs, it gives you goosebumps. I performed at the Grand Prix at Silverstone recently, that was incredible, it was my first gig back with Rudimental, after everything that’s happened with Covid-19 it reminded me of how much I love performing.

What is your biggest goal for your music career?

I want to be international, I don’t just want to smash England I want to smash the whole world. I also really want to curate an amazing live show, with lights and lots of dancers. I also want to win at the Brit Awards.

What would you like to do next in your career? I know you have released a lot of singles and an EP, is there going to be an album on the horizon in the future?

Yeah, when the time is right I’m going to be dropping an album, at the moment I’m still growing as an artist. I’m very early in my career, I have already come so far but it has only been a year since I’ve been releasing music professionally. I’d say in the next three years there’ll be an album. For now, we’re focusing on smaller projects and releasing singles.

Words: Conor Aiden Fogarty