The Meaning Behind Megan Moroney’s Breakout Hit “Tennessee Orange”

Megan Moroney made a triumphant debut on the country music scene with her debut single, “Tennessee Orange.” The imagery-driven track, released at the tail-end of 2022, quickly became an organic viral sensation. 

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Co-written by Moroney, David Fanning, Paul Jenkins, and Ben Williams, “Tennessee Orange” is a playful yet honest admission of love. The song’s instant success earned Moroney a major label deal with Arista Nashville (now part of Columbia Records) and a nomination for Song of the Year at the 2023 CMA Awards.

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During an interview on the ASCAP Awards red carpet in November 2023, Williams talked to American Songwriter about the meaning behind “Tennessee Orange.” Below, in his own words, the award-winning songwriter describes how the track came to life.

“It’s such an awesome story. I love telling it. I was in Megan’s first Nashville co-write ever, which is amazing to look back and think about. That day, I actually showed up to my office, which is Major Bob Music. I had gone into my room and just kind of gotten ready for my 11:00 AM [co-write]. Tina Crawford, my publisher at the time, came downstairs, knocked on my door, and said, ‘I canceled what you had, by the way, because Megan’s writing with David Fanning and Paul Jenkins. They’ve never really written before, and I think we just want you to be in that room, so I’m just going to move you over with Megan today.’ I was like, ‘Okay, awesome!’ 

As soon as that happened, Megan called me, and she said, ‘Yay, I’m so glad you’re hopping in. I had this idea last night,’ which was ‘Tennessee Orange’ and the whole hook in Georgia. ‘They call it a sin. I’m wearing Tennessee orange for him.’ I thought that was a really cool idea, but also, anything she gets excited about, I’m excited about because she’s the artist, and she wants to say things she believes in. 

We wrote 95% of it that day. She changed a little bit of the first verse and the second verse, and then we got back together two weeks before she was cutting it. Then, we changed the last chorus when we went, ‘And I still want the dogs to win.’ We added that just because she is such a Georgia fan. She bleeds red, and she just didn’t want it to come across that she was a Tennessee fan. When we play it live, people really resonate with that.”

Photo by David McClister, Courtesy of Sony Music Nashville


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