Thursday April 25
Kylie Morgan has quickly proven herself to be a relatable storyteller and an engaging live performer. The Oklahoma native is known for baring her soul in her confessional lyrics and leaving her heart on the stage, whether she’s headlining her own tour or supporting acts like Old Dominion. In doing so, she makes her listeners feel less alone. While Kylie began writing songs at a young age, it wasn’t until her grandfather bought her a pink acoustic guitar for Christmas that it all came together. “I got my first guitar and it just clicked: Here’s where a verse goes, here’s where the chorus goes,” she says of her early songs around age 12. “It actually started to make sense for me, and you couldn’t get me out of my room writing songs.” She has since spent the past 14 years honing her craft in the writing room and on the stage. Kylie vividly recalls first sharing a microphone with her grandfather at a young age while singing Elvis Presley’s “That’s All Right.” At 14, she set out on the open road and began touring full-time and hasn’t slowed down since. In August 2022 she made her Grand Ole Opry debut and less than a year later wrapped her first-ever headlining tour. Kylie also performed a career-defining set at Nissan Stadium at CMA Fest 2022 and joined Old Dominion for her first arena trek as part of the band’s No Bad Vibes Tour. Shortly after she was taught her first chords on guitar, Kylie told her parents she was going to skip college and move to Nashville to be a country artist. By 15, the young artist was traveling back and forth to Nashville to write with anyone she could. One of her earliest co-writes and believers was Walker Hayes. “He became one of my core mentors and influences,” Kylie says of Walker, whose partnership led to her management and publishing deals with SMACKSongs. “I started going back and forth and realizing what I wanted to say as an artist and who I wanted to be.” One of those early songs was “Phoebe,” a poignant ballad about a girl who committed suicide at 15, the same age Kylie was when she penned the track with Rob Crosby and Liz Hengber. Soon, she was touring schools across the country to perform and talk about bullying. She eventually launched her own bullying prevention campaign titled It Matters What We Do after a lyric in the song. The more confessional she wrote, the more Kylie saw listeners latch onto her music. After being told her song “Independent With You” was too personal to be released, the singer-songwriter decided to post the demo on TikTok. She woke up the next day to one million views and countless comments about the song’s relatability. Kylie’s music has since amassed nearly 400 million streams. “That’s what gave me the courage to be even more vulnerable in my music and instead of being bright and shiny, I wanted to be open and real,” she says of the success of “Independent With You,” featured on her 2022 EP P.S. “I’m going to continue to grow, continue to discover new things about myself, and continue to reach the people that I feel like I need to say things to that they feel but don’t know how to say.” It’s this philosophy that Kylie embraced when writing her debut album, Making It Up As I Go, available October 13. The EMI Records Nashville recording artist wrote or co-wrote each of the project’s 12 tracks. She describes it as an album for the “in-betweeners.” Specifically, for “the ones who pretend to have it all figured out but are still finding out where they want to go, who they want to be, and how to get there.” Fan-favorite songs like the introspective “A Few Hearts Ago” and the CMT Music Awards-nominated “If He Wanted To He Would” set the stage for Kylie’s major label debut full-length. She says writing “Making It Up As I Go” helped inform the direction of the album. Getting older don’t make you wiser/ It’s the heartbreaks along the way/ Some prayers don’t get answered until you look back someday, Kylie sings on the anthemic title track. “Once we wrote that song, I was like, ‘I think this is the perfect name for the project,’” the singer recalls. “Whether I’m in my 20s or my 60s, I will still be making it up as I go and I think that a lot of us can relate to that.” Other songs, like the confessional solo write “Quarter Life Crisis,” have Kylie looking deep into herself and her dream profession. Here we are at 25/ Did I spend it well, did I do it right?/ Maybe I’ll just flip a coin/ And figure it out in the next dime, she nostalgically sings on the bridge of the song. Written in a lonely hotel room while on a radio tour for the first time, “Quarter Life Crisis” has the singer questioning her career and everything that has led her to this point. “I was living my dream, but I couldn’t have felt more alone in that moment,” she says. “The closer you get to your dream, sometimes the further you get from yourself, and that’s how it felt. … The whole album definitely contributes to the idea of transitioning and, instead of always wanting something more, which we all do, we have to be thankful for the present moment and the in-between.” Peppered throughout her confessional and more reflective tracks, Kylie shares countless anthems of female empowerment. Triumphant numbers like “Ladies First,” the clever tongue-in-cheek “Sugar Daddy” and the debut radio single “If He Wanted To He Would” paint strong women as the lead characters in the songs. It ain’t selfish to love yourself / It’s one thing we could all use a little more help with, Kylie stresses on “Ladies First.” Meanwhile, other songs, like the emotive “Class Rings” and autobiographical album closer “Old Me” see Kylie recalling past traumas with the wisdom of an older sister looking out for her younger self. Dear old me, the new you turns out okay, she promises herself on “Old Me.” The song serves as a self-penned letter she reads aloud to herself, and in turn a letter for the listener. “I hope that people hear this album and they self-reflect, and love themselves in the current state they’re in,” Kylie says. “When I’m writing a song, I’m also thinking about the music video in my head. I hope people see themselves visually when they hear this album.” Kylie’s wish is that listeners see themselves within the songs on Making It Up As I Go and that the album serves as the soundtrack to their journey. Along the way, she hopes they find the words that they may not know how to say through the music. ’Cause if we’re all being honest…we’re just making it up as we go.