Morgan Evans may not be a name that you’re familiar yet but the Australian Country music star is about to hit the big time.
After enjoying success in his homeland, Evans moved to Nashville where he met his fiancee (fellow Country star Kelsea Ballerini) and signed a major label deal with Warner Nashville. Recently Evans came over to the UK to play for the first time and introduce himself to Country music fans.
I caught up with him backstage at The Borderline in London before his headline show to find out more about him, talk about his new single Kiss Somebody and find out his plans for new music.
How has the UK been treating you since you arrived?
Good. Everywhere I’ve been has been a really great experience. We started in Manchester at the Buckle & Boots Festival, which is real grass roots country festival up North. It was crazy! There’s 1,500 people there that I don’t know if they’d ever heard of me but by the end of the set, it was like this big party and I was like, ‘you know the UK country fans have got it going on’ and then we went up to Scotland. We played in Glasgow at this cool church an underground place called the Oran Mor. That was awesome.
Our travel got messed up and we spent a night in Dublin by accident (laughs), which was fun! We went to Bristol, which is a super cool town that I didn’t spend long enough in, and now London for literally probably six or seven hours. It’s been awesome though and crazy but really good.
What did you have in terms of expectations for the audiences coming to see these shows?
I’m here just introducing myself. The first single comes out next month and I just wanted to come over, check it out and not be a stranger basically next time I come over. I had no expectations and no ideas. It’s been amazing. The festival particularly was a great first experience and everyone’s been really friendly as well. I feel like there’s not a disconnect in the music at all. Some people say that you can’t play country if you’re not from America. These people here don’t care and I don’t care. It’s been a really cool experience.
Is it more or less scary to be performing to audiences that perhaps don’t know any of your music?
I think for some people that might be scary but because I did that already, it’s not a foreign thing for me. I was putting out music in Australia and playing to people who knew my music. When I went to America it was like starting again. This is the same kind of feeling, it doesn’t hurt my feelings or anything. I want to get in there and play. I feel like that night when we played in Scotland and last night in Bristol, I feel like they’re nights that I’ll look back on. I’ll remember when we did that little club and those people that were there. That was the moment that we shared so I think it’s important to do that.
One of the things we hear a lot when Country artists come over is that they are surprised by how well the audience knows their material. Have you had any surprises?
Yeah it was crazy. Last night there was a bunch of people who said, ‘you didn’t play While We Were Young, you didn’t play Big Skies’ which are these songs that I put out only in Australia. They said they heard them on SoundCloud but it wasn’t on my SoundCloud so I don’t know where they them (laughs). I’m playing all-new material that’s going to be released here officially so I didn’t expect to get that at all. I think that’s cool but I still don’t know where found it (laughs). I think that’s country music fans you know. I see that all over the world. Same in Australia, same in America. They really love it and when they invest in loving an artist they just go to the ends of the earth for them. I know because I was the same.
You mentioned that perception that if you’re not from America you can’t sing Country music. What’s the Country scene like in Australia? Is there much of one?
Yeah there is. The main difference is that we have an Australian kind of country music that doesn’t translate because it’s about Australia you know like these guys singing about utes, the outback and all that kind of thing. There’s a section of the country music down there that is just singing about everyday things like the same kind of stuff from America that translates here, and the same kind of stuff in the U.K. that translates everywhere else as well.
We had The Shires and Ward Thomas come down as well this year. It was awesome to see two UK Country acts doing really well and come to visit us.
What do you think of UK Country music?
They’re the only two that I really know, and Foreign Affairs (who supported Morgan on his UK tour) of course. Ashton Lane played with us in Scotland and they were really great too. That’s four UK Country acts I know (laughs). There’s a bunch that I saw at the festival as well but I didn’t actually get to meet those.
Tell us about the new music. You’ve got a single coming in July called Kiss Somebody…
I’m stoked about it. We’ve been working on it for a long time and finally the time is right to release it into the world. That makes me excited but also very nervous. The last couple of years my inspirations have changed musically. I moved to the other side of the world away from family and friends, and left my band behind. I got this loop pedal, which is no stranger to the UK music fans. This whole record has been written pretty much with me, an acoustic guitar and this loop pedal. It’s like a new chapter and I feel that it’s really what I want to say and who I want to be. I’m excited to share that with everyone.
What’s Kiss Somebody all about?
It’s about how to get over someone. It’s like a 101 on how to get over someone. When I was going to Nashville before I moved there, I would go and stay with my friend. The strip is probably half a mile long, and there’s just like 100 bars. Every single one has live music in it from all hours of day, 10 in the morning until 3 in the morning the next day. He would go out and play in these bars so instead of paying rent I would go and play in the bars with him. He had this girlfriend and he messed it up and then he fell more in love with her when she left him. It was really sad but then a year and a half later he was still be heartbroken about it so I was like, ‘dude you need to go kiss somebody’ (laughs) and that’s the song!
Surely there must be someone in Nashville that could have helped him get over that split?
That’s what I said! That’s the bachelorette capital of the world (laughs). He didn’t get over it, he moved to Japan.
That seems a bit extreme…
Exactly! (laughs) He’s an extreme guy. I wish I had the song here to show right now. That’s the inspiration for it.
Will there be an EP or an album to follow?
There’ll be music other music out between now and the end of the year. The full album will not come out till next year. There is so much stuff that I’m excited to share but at the right times and at the right places.
Given your experience so far in the UK, are you already making plans to comeback?
Absolutely yes. I’ve had the best time over here and I can’t wait to get back and play some more. It’ll probably be next year. Hopefully we’ll have the record out and we’ll come back and make some noise about that.
Is there anything else you’re hoping to achieve before Christmas rolls around?
Well when the single comes out here, it comes out in the US and Australia at the same time. We’re going to be shooting a video for the song. Then I’m on the road a bunch too opening up for different artists. There’s a few festivals and I’ll be going around to see all the radio stations. I’m really just introducing myself to that part of the world and then we’ll make a trip down to Australia at some point next year as well with the record.
How would you describe your music for those of our readers who perhaps haven’t heard it yet?
It’s the hardest question especially I don’t have any music to show you. I like to think of my inspirations. My three most inspiring artists as the moment are Keith Urban, John Mayer and Ed Sheeran. Those three are my three main inspirations right now in terms of what they do and how they do it. If I can fit somewhere in the middle of there, that’s a good goal for me but that’s a lofty height (laughs) so people can make up their own mind.
Morgan Evans releases his new single Kiss Somebody soon.