Maren Morris Performs ‘Dear Hate’ at First Show Since Route 91 Festival [WATCH]
On Thursday (Oct. 5) in Kalamazoo, Mich., Maren Morris took the stage for the first time since the Oct. 1 shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, Nev. At the end of her set, she performed her hard-hitting, emotive and inspiring song "Dear Hate."
Readers can press play above to watch Morris' performance of "Dear Hate" from that night -- her first time playing the newly released song live. On Twitter, Morris says that, during her set, she "[f]elt hearts collectively come together. Even my own."
The emotion running through "Dear Hate" is palpable as the country music community continues to come to grips with the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, Morris included. Before performing the song, she addressed the crowd, noting that her show would normally be over at that point, but in light of the tragedy, she was going to perform one more song.
"I have had this song written for a few years and have always gone back and forth, like, 'Do I release it? Do I not release it?'" Morris said. "It's such a specific song -- so powerful, but, it's very specific."
Morris also called for a moment of silence in honor of the victims of the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting.
"Thank you guys for showing up," she told the crowd while wiping away tears. "You can feel so helpless ...
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"I never thought I'd be performing ["Dear Hate" live], honestly. But the message was so powerful the day we wrote it, and that was three years ago, and it rings even more true now, unfortunately," Morris added. "Music is such a healer, and you guys, as music lovers ... one of the most powerful things you can do is just showing up here tonight. We're not going to stop playing music. We're not going to stop going to shows."
From stage, Morris reflected on the "incredible" response to the three-year-old song, which features Vince Gill and was recorded in 2016. She concluded, "I hope, God forbid, if any of you lost anyone in the tragedy, or if you've just gone though some dark times, I hope this brings you a little light."
When Morris wrote "Dear Hate" with Tom Douglas and David Hodges in 2015, it was just days after nine people were shot at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. When she decided to officially record the song, Morris asked Gill to add harmonies and guitar, and Gill tells Billboard, “I was so moved I did something I've never done before -- I sang one of the verses unsolicited."
"After I finished and sent her my contributions, I told her she didn't have to use it but explained I felt compelled to sing those words. I’m so glad she decided to include it," Gill adds. "Over the years, I’ve been asked to contribute to a lot of songs. This is one of my favorite things I’ve ever done."
The last lines of "Dear Hate" -- which Morris sang in Kalamazoo just before walking offstage -- are charged with hope, courage and resilience: "Dear Love / Just when I think you've given up / You were there in the garden when I ran from your voice / I hear you every morning through the chaos and the noise / You still whisper down through history and echo through these halls / And tell me love's gonna conquer all / Gonna conquer all."
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