Indie artist morgxn started music at an early age and eventually left his roots of Nashville to make pop-soul music in LA. The new singer prefers his name in lower case and came out at age 18. During the interview, he mentioned to Windy City Times he prefers being described as queer and feels it's colorful.
His debut studio album vital is available now accompanied with music videos depicting the LGBT community in various ways. His song "carry the weight" was used in HBO's Share the Love Pride campaign. Robert Smith approved his version of The Cure's "boys don't cry," showing he knows how to provide his own take on a classic.
He created a new track with Walk the Moon's frontman Nicholas Petricca called "home," then sang it together at Lollapalooza this past summer for the first time live. He sat down to talk about his life right before that performance with Windy City Times.
Windy City Times: How do you say your name?
morgxn: Morganthe "x" is implied.
WCT: Where are you from originally?
morgxn: Nashville, Tennessee. I grew up and went to school there. My parents are from there also.
WCT: Did you study music?
morgxn: I literally have been singing my whole life. My mom says I was singing before I made sentences.
I found a voice teacher in Nashville when I was nine who opened my world up to all sorts of music. Coming from Nashville there was mainly one kind of music. That never felt like where I was. The voice teacher turned me on to Stevie Wonder and Luther Vandross. I learned about my sexuality through this voice teacher and the music he brought into my life.
WCT: He was a gay teacher?
morgxn: He was. Now in retrospect, there were many gay teachers in my life. They were men who were not out. This was a different time and I wasn't even out. I was around 10 years old.
It is interesting how I was drawn to these role models and people who I realized were gay later on. It was a tough time to be gay and in Nashville. I couldn't be myself. I think some of that still exists even with the openness of sexuality. I am grateful to be open. There is still a stigma about being open, especially in the South.
WCT: When I lived in Nashville, there wasn't a Pride parade at that time.
morgxn: Oh yeah, to even have a gay street, as it does now, did not exist. Being gay was very secretive. That is something I thought about growing up. Why is sexuality painted as sin or something to be ashamed of? Sexuality is blood and water. It's essential and vital to who you are. Holding that in can hurt.
WCT: And it can come out in other ways. I was raised Southern Baptist.
morgxn: Gurl, I was the voice of Jesus once for LifeWay Christian Magazine as a Jewish closeted gay kid in Nashville.
WCT: Here you are now…
morgxn: Here I am now living my life. My journey as an artist is about learning to let myself to come out and come through.
WCT: What inspired you to make a Cure cover song?
morgxn: If I am going to cover something I want to tell some version of it that is different than the original. I feel like the song found me. My producer Ryan Marrone suggested The Cure.
It is a very simple melody, but it is so effective emotionally. When he had suggested the song, it was right after my dad had passed. The lyrics felt like a message to my dad, who grew up in a time when a man showing emotions was wrong and against the rules.
We recorded it in a small room and that is what came out. That is what music is to me, a necessity.
WCT: Did you come up with the "home" video?
morgxn: Both Moses Moreno, who is the director of that video, and I have queer stories that are different but similar. We wanted to tell the story of a boy finding his version of a home.
We made the video with both a boy and a girl in it. When we cut it to just have the boy, then it brought the whole story forward.
That boy we found the day before the shooting. The drag mother in the video is the cousin of the boy in real life. He had just come out and been taking voguing lessons at the local dance center. It felt like a documentary it was so real when we were shooting it.
WCT: Talk about "carry the weight."
morgxn: HBO using "carry the weight" as a song for pride and love is the whole reason I am an artist. I am here to make music that speaks to people on that level.
That song came out of a place where I am still learning to speak up for myself. At this time we are often told that who we are is not allowed. Corporations make money on people feeling they are not enough. "carry the weight" is my anthem to myself that says I am enough. I am here and queer!
See morgxn on tour with Dreamers and Weathers at Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln Ave., on Wed., Oct. 10, at 7 p.m.; visit lh-st.com .