Morgan Myles: From ‘The Voice’ to The Opry

Morgan Myles held back tears as she walked out onto the hallowed Ryman Auditorium stage to make her Grand Ole Opry debut on Friday, January 6. It was a career-defining moment for the country singer, who moved from Williamsport, Pennsylvania, to Nashville, Tennessee, 17 years ago to pursue music full-time. 

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“I don’t even know what to say,” Myles said to thunderous applause from the sold-out crowd. “It has been a long time in this town to get to here. I wrote a song called ‘Sanctuary’ and I don’t think there’s a better place on Earth to play this than the Mother Church right now.”

The emotional performance highlighted the singer’s powerhouse vocals and exemplified just why she was America’s sweetheart on The Voice, placing third during Season 22 in late 2022. Myles initially wrote “Sanctuary” as a prayer for her family before her cousin died of brain cancer. The song has since taken on new meaning.

“I feel like the best-written songs move with you through life,” she tells American Songwriter hours before her Opry performance. “They take you on a journey and can create different meanings as you grow. … It was a prayer of hope, a prayer for a miracle. ‘Sanctuary,’ for me now, it’s a gift to other people that are struggling.”

Myles also performed “Woman of My Word,” what she calls a “storytelling song.” She says it tells her journey as a songwriter, a woman, and a performer. “Since this crowd will be such a listening crowd, I didn’t feel like the song would get lost,” she says.

I’m not afraid of lonely, not ashamed of who I am

I know what I deserve, and I know that it’s a better man

Cause damn I know my worth and one thing’s for sure

I won’t take any less because I’m a woman of my word

The independent artist’s persistence proves she’s a woman of her word. Meanwhile, Myles’ Opry debut serves as a moment of reflection on her whirlwind year and career.

“Tonight’s about not giving up on your dreams,” she says with tears in her eyes. “It’s looking back on a lot of the sacrifices. It’s looking back on all the people that kept me going. It’s so much more than the stage. It’s an honor. It’s a deep, deep meaning of what hard work can do and talent and people that believe in you.”

One of those believers is Camila Cabello, who served as Myles’ coach on The Voice. Myles describes her time on the show as an “emotional rollercoaster” and says it challenged her on many levels.

“I took away so much,” she adds. “I mean, how can you not grow as an artist and as a performer? I absolutely loved working with Camila and learning and growing with her and making so many friends. … The biggest part for me was just truly wanting to reach more music lovers and hopefully, they loved what I was doing.”

Myles encourages others to audition for The Voice and advises future contestants to stay true to themselves. “The more you know who you are and the more that you can stick to it, the better off you are,” she asserts, adding that she views The Voice as a platform. “It’s about what you do afterward, so go on the show with a plan.”

The singer’s plan following her third-place finish includes building a team she trusts as well as releasing new music. Myles now spends her days in the studio after The Voice. She’s both writing and co-producing music with Nate Dodge and describes the sound as “very me” with a “retro soul and vintage vibe.”

Her forthcoming release features “Oh Love,” a track she wrote with Danielle Blakey and Steve Lester four years ago. It’s a song that has the singer talking to love as if it was a person while questioning the turmoil it sometimes creates in our lives. 

“Love is what we are all searching for and yet sometimes love can hurt us so badly,” she says. “I still believe in the beauty and power of love.”

Myles also is considering re-releasing the songs she performed during her Grand Ole Opry debut. It’s a career pinnacle she won’t soon forget, having also received a standing ovation that night.

“You just made the best night of my life,” she told the audience at the time. “You write songs to be on the stage like this and for people like you to react like that.”

Following her set, she received high praise from Opry member Vince Gill. “Morgan’s debut tonight was spectacular,” Gill, who took the stage later that night, told the crowd. He then invited Myles back to close out the show.

“For him to pull me back out on stage, he didn’t have to do all that,” she adds. “Having the curtains close, and everyone standing up, that was really special. … I have come this far; I can’t turn back now.”

Photo by Jo Lopez

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