Everyone has had a friend who was the last to know their relationship was flawed. That is the situation in the Morningsiders song “Sunbeam.”
“I like that the singer is maybe the last one to know that this relationship is not perfect. It’s fun when the listener has a clearer-eyed view of the situation than the singer,” Magnus Ferguson, Morningsiders’ guitarist, and songwriter tells American Songwriter.
“Sunbeam” can be found on Morningsiders’ latest EP, Easy Does It, which was released on October 8. The band—made up of Ferguson, Reid Jenkins (fiddle/vocals), and Robert Frech (piano)—was founded while the three were students at Columbia University. They made a name for themselves when their song “Empress” topped Spotify’s Viral 50 in 2015 and was featured in a Starbucks commercial. Since then they’ve continued to develop their sound, which falls under the indie-folk umbrella.
“We make pop music that is guided by our love for folk and traditional music. What that means for us is that we try to tell stories, and we do our best to have the music serve the story,” says Ferguson.
“Sunbeam” immediately pulls listeners in with a bright, upbeat sound that matches the song title perfectly. Its catchy beat and fiddle feature draw in the folk elements of the trio. Despite the sunny sound of the song, the lyrics hold a lot of depth and reality.
“The song is about an unbalanced relationship. The singer is definitely head over heels, but in a slightly off way,” says Ferguson. “It’s kind of about moving out of those early days of being totally smitten by someone when they can’t do any wrong in your mind. We tried to keep the energy a little frenetic and playful to recreate that slightly manic mindset.”
While Ferguson’s exact musical roots are difficult to pinpoint, one of his inspirations growing up was a friendly neighbor in Houston, Mrs. Krystal. “She would watch us when my parents were out, and she’d often sing these beautiful, old songs for us. I was learning the piano at the time, so I’d try my best to accompany her,” he explains.
Getting to see a song change and develop over time is one of Ferguson’s favorite parts of the songwriting process.
“Every repetition changes it a little bit,” says Ferguson. “Sometimes I go back and listen to early demos and kick myself for leaving out certain elements, but I think there are always going to be pieces of gold left on the cutting room floor.”
Check out the visualizer for “Sunbeam” below. Photos by Shervin Lainez.