Two years ago at CMA Fest we chatted with current Team Blake country singer songwriter, Morgan Fraizer. As she prepares to battle with other artists in the next round of NBC’s The Voice.
Tim Hall of Airplay Weekly: Alright Morgan, let’s talk a little bit about how you got started in the music business. Where did you come from and how did you end up in Nashville?
Morgan Frazier: I’m from a little town just outside of Abilene, Texas called Breckenridge. There are probably only three to four thousand people that live there. I just always loved to sing, I grew up singing in church and it just kind of went from there. I learned to play guitar when I was around ten years old, but even before that I made my first cd. You know, it was nothing professional. I actually recorded the vocals in a bathroom, but it was a start. My parents ordered a thousand copies that just sat in our living room for three months and I thought, well we got to get rid of these somehow so I came up with this crazy idea to go door to door to local businesses, muffler shops, car dealers, you know anywhere that would let me come in and sell my cd’s. I would just walk in and say, “Hi, my name is Morgan Frazier and I’m nine years old, and I was just wondering if you’d like to buy my cd?” You know, 9 out of 10 would say yes, I mean who could say no to a nine-year-old little girl in a cowboy hat? It’s kind of like Girl Scout cookies, you can’t say no. So that was my sales strategy. I ended up selling 30,000 copies of that first cd in about a two-year span just traveling around. I’ve been everywhere man, for sure! That brought me to Nashville. My parents brought us here and I still remember our first night in Nashville, and thinking it was so huge, because I’m from such a small town, and thinking it was so cool too. We knew no one here, no one in the business; it wasn’t like my dad knew someone in the business or anything like that. We had no connections and knew nothing about the music business. I happened to be at a random writer’s night and met my manager and then things took off from there. I ended up signing my deal with Curb Record s when I turned sixteen.
Wow Morgan, that’s crazy, what a great story! So, you started blazing your trail at nine, what was the process from nine to sixteen years old that brought you to sign with Curb Records?
Well I sold that first cd on the road for about two years, and then I made a second cd about the time I came to Nashville for the first time. Let’s see I was twelve years old then about to turn thirteen. I actually turned thirteen at a little place down here called “Past Perfect”, I had my thirteenth birthday party there. That was the night after I met my manager at the writer’s night, and everything else took off from there.
Great, so let’s talk for a minute about your songwriting. You’re a prolific writer, so what inspires you the most to write?
Morgan Frazier: I’m a big observer of my friends and family, you know people that will just tell me stories that I love to write about, but you know my favorite is when something happens to me personally and I can sit down and write about whatever it is that I am feeling at the moment on a piece of paper. It’s difficult sometimes, because you have to translate this huge story into 3 minutes and it has to be catchy too. So it’s difficult at times, but I love writing songs. When I was looking at songs for my album, I never wanted to sing about being a farmer’s daughter, because I wasn’t a farmer’s daughter. If I’m going to sing a song that I didn’t write I want to be able to say, “I wish I had wrote that song”.
That makes sense. So are there writers that you lo ok at that you go “I wish I could write like them.”?
Yeah, half the writers in Nashville! My first co-write in Nashville was with Dean Dillon, and he wrote practically every George Strait number one that there ever was, so I got to learn from Hall of Fame writers like him. I learned the structure of a song and Shane McAnally is another great writer friend of mine, if I could be half the writer he is, my gosh, that guy can turn out some songs! Doug Johnson wrote “Three Wooden Crosses” and “She Won’t Be Lonely Long”, songs like that. I’ve just surrounded myself with these hit writers, so I couldn’t be more fortunate.
So let’s talk about your latest single, “Yellow Brick Road”, what was the inspiration behind that song?
I think it was one of those two o’clock in the morning things. I’m not sure if I had watched the Wizard of Oz before it or not, but I had this idea pop into my head about this guy who played all the girls and he didn’t have a heart like the Tin Man, so I went in to write it with a good friend of mine. We sat down for about 30 minutes and had the song written. You know the first guy she meets is the real goodlooking farm boy that when you talk to him you are going “This guy doesn’t have a brain in his head.” So, he’s the scarecrow. Then the second guy is the Tin Man. Then the third guy she meets is afraid of commitment, so he’s the cowardly lion. It just all came together and I loved the song from the first day we wrote it.
Well, we love it too! Okay, just a couple more questions. If you could spend a day with any artist, living or dead, and just talk about life, writing, the music business, whatever, who would that be, and why?
I don’t want this to sound like a cliché, because it’s true, it would have to be Johnny Cash. I’ve always wanted to meet him since I was little girl. The very first song I learned to play on the guitar was “Folsom Prison Blues”. My grandpa taught me to play guitar, so I grew up on Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Montana, Hank Snow, that kind of music, so I was always a huge Johnny Cash fan. If I could sit down and talk to that man, I’m sure there’s a lot that I could learn.
No doubt, he was one of the greats! So what would you say to that nine-year-old girl back in Breckenridge today? What advice would you give her about the music business, knowing what you know now?
I would definitely say that the music business can be very hard. This is not for the weak hearted at all; you have to be in it all the way, forever. You have to be a strong person and keep being positive. When you are in the music business, you have to look for the things you love about it, and look forward to the things you love to do in it. Never give up, keep pushing for it, “Even if it breaks your heart”, like Eli Young says.
Great advice! Okay, last question what is the thing that Morgan Frazier loves the most about the music business?
That’s easy, I love performing for the fans, getting out there and connecting with the fans, feeling the energy, I recently opened up for Luke Bryan, and there were 16,000 screaming fans. I wouldn’t say that the bug hadn’t already bit me, but when I stood in front of all those people, and felt the high from that, I was like, “Okay, I’m through, I want to do this for the rest of my life!” Every night I want to be doing that! So performing is my favorite part, but songwriting is up there too, being able to sit down and write what I feel and to have people actually connect with it is definitely another one of my favorite parts!
To learn more about Morgan, visit her Facebook page.