Maren Morris: Genre Be Damned

Photos by Jamie Nelson When Maren Morris began plotting her sophomore album GIRL, she was in uncharted territory. Her 2016 major label debut LP, HERO, was a critical and commercial success, netting the now-28-year-old singer-songwriter a Grammy Award (Best Country Solo Performance for “My Church” at the 2017 ceremony), a CMA Award (New Artist of the Year in 2016) and her first number one country song (“I Could Use A Love Song”). It established her as one of country’s most promising young songwriting talents, as well as one of the best new vocalists performing today, genre be damned. And as if that weren’t enough, she’d found crossover pop success (and massive boon to her already growing fan base) touring the world with One Direction’s Niall Horan and through the blockbuster success of “The Middle,” a pop collaboration with EDM artist Zedd and electronic music group Grey which, at press time, has sold more than 750,000 units. But matching the success of her debut work was only a piece of what Morris was up against when she began writing material for what would become GIRL. She was also releasing music into a climate that, though long unfriendly to female artists, heavily…

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