Morgan Evans Faces Ups and Downs on New EP: “The Most Authentic Way to Represent This Time in My Life”

When life turns on its head, we all have to find our own ways to cope with the changes. For singer-songwriter Morgan Evans, that process involves translating his emotions into melody and giving his heartbroken ruminating a memorable rhyme scheme.

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After going through a public divorce (he was married to fellow artist Kelsea Ballerini), Evans released the ballad “Over For You.” How many times did you say you loved me / When it wasn’t true? / I’m just wondering / How long has it been over for you, he asks in the chorus of the track.

Evans debuted the track in a live setting while playing a show back home in Australia. Given the public discourse over Evans and Ballerini’s divorce, the track naturally generated a healthy amount of buzz online and eventually ended up on his latest EP, Life Upside Down—though he says he didn’t write the track with that sort of attention in mind.

[RELATED: Morgan Evans Goes Behind His Heartbreaking Hit, “Over For You”]

“I remember sitting in the corner of the room and saying, ‘Well, it’s going to be a waste of time if we try to write anything else,” Evans tells American Songwriter.

Written with Jeff Warburton, Tim Sommers, and Madison Love, the track started out as a slate-clearing endeavor intended to open up space in Evans’ mind for songs that didn’t center around his divorce. After his fans got a hold of it, Evans said it “took on a life of its own.”

“I wouldn’t say ‘Over For You’ was written to come out really,” he explains. “I think I wrote the song because it needed to be written for me.”

He continues, “It has provided a lot of really positive experiences for me. I’ve seen people connecting with that song—it’s unlike anything I’ve ever done before. It felt personal when I wrote it, but I’ve realized over the last six months that feeling is how [many] people feel in a breakup. People will reach out through comments or direct messages to share their stories. As a songwriter, that means a lot.”

Elsewhere on the EP are the similarly somber “On My Own Again” and the markedly upbeat “Hey Little Mama” and “All Right Here.” The two latter songs made up the original foundation of what would become Life Upside Down.

Evans started the writing process for the EP at the end of 2021 with the intention of continuing his string of floor-filling, summer-time anthems. “Hey Little Mama” and “All Right Here” certainly checked that box.

“We started tracking those in the studio in May of last year, then we revisited them,” Evans explains. “I feel like I got an experience with those songs that I never really get. [Sometimes] you finish a song, put it out, and then after three months of living with it you wish you could change something. Because we’ve been tracking them for so long, I got to go in and change those things.”

Evans and his co-writers stripped down the songs to what they are now: straight-forward, fun-loving tracks that offer a break from the heavy topics on the rest of the EP.

“It’s kind of a ridiculous bunch of songs together, which I think is the most authentic way to present music from this time in my life,” Evans says.

While the two positive tracks on the record are familiar territory for Evans, “Over For You” and “On My Own Again” called for a heightened sense of vulnerability, which was generated through an open line of communication between Evans and his co-writers.

“I think [I needed] an environment where it was comfortable to talk about stuff for a little while,” he says. “I have found that the concept of the song is sometimes the hardest thing. I think Paul McCartney said, ‘If you have the title, you have 50 percent of the song.'”

He continues, “For me lately, it’s been a very internal thing. So it’s about [creating] that space where it’s comfortable to have those conversations.”

A descriptor for the EP calls it the most “heart-wrenching” music of Evans’ career and some of the most optimistic. Whatever the listeners’ mood, they can get something out of Life Upside Down.

“I hope they take away from it whatever they need to,” Evans says of the audience’s reaction. “A lot of people will discover it hearing ‘Over For You’ on the radio, but then I hope they listen to the next few songs as well and [find that] sense of optimism, hope, and positivity.”

Watch American Songwriter’s Interview with Morgan Evans:

Photo by Chady Awad / Warner Music

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