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Interview: Morgan Wallen Shares Valuable Lessons From ‘The Voice’ Run

Morgan Wallen interview 2017
Matt Winkelmeyer, Getty Images for ACM

Morgan Wallen got his introduction into the music world by appearing on Season 6 of The Voice in 2014. The 23-year-old, who was eliminated from Adam Levine‘s team during the Playoffs round, is now in the process of recording his freshman album, and hopes to release the project soon. Simply agreeing to appear on The Voice was a stretch for Wallen, who grew up pursuing sports before he decided to take a risk and make his singing debut on national television.

“I didn’t grow up being a performer, really. I played baseball. I never had a show of my own; my name had never been on a marquee sign or anything like that. It was technically my first show, I guess,” Wallen says of his The Voice experience. “I didn’t really know who I was as an artist, or even as a person, at the time.

“It helped me grow and helped me figure out a lot of things, through that show,” he adds. “It helped me figure out my voice as well, because I didn’t really know about warming up or anything. I didn’t know about any of that.”

According to Wallen, the producers of The Voice wanted him to be a pop singer, but he knew his heart was in country music. He had to make it through blind auditions and the battle round, into The Voice‘s Season 6 Top 20, before he was given an opportunity to perform the music he wanted to sing. Unfortunately, in his first week singing country, Wallen was eliminated.

“I’m not bitter towards it. I’m very grateful for the opportunity,” Wallen admits. “I learned a whole lot. I got my management through it, and my management is how I’ve gotten everything so far. It was a good kick start and stepping stone for me, for sure.”

Wallen’s rhythmic, Southern-infused debut single, “The Way I Talk” — the title track of his current EP — was found for Wallen by Seth England, one of the partners in Wallen’s management company, Big Loud Music. England was in Australia at the time, but he got the song over to Wallen for a listen.

“As soon as he heard it, he immediately thought of me, and he sent it over to me,” recalls Wallen. “I heard the song, and as soon as I did, I said, ‘Please don’t let it get away.'”

“The Way I Talk” was written by Ben Hayslip and Chase McGill. Wallen plans on showing off his songwriting skills on his upcoming project, though.

“Right now, there’s going to be at least five songs that I’ve written on the album,” he reveals. “To me, it’s always about which song is best, no matter if I wrote it or not, [but] I obviously want to have a huge part in writing my album.”

A Tennessee native, Wallen is joining Florida Georgia Line for several tour dates this year. The rising artist has written with FGL’s Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley before — that song is “hopefully” getting cut by another artist, Wallen shares — and they “hit it off.”

“I needed a lot of tour dates this year,” Wallen explains, “and they were kind enough to give me the opportunity.”

In addition to gaining new fans while on the road with Florida Georgia Line, Wallen is also hoping for some radio success with “The Way I Talk.”

“That’s for sure a goal, so I’m playing all the radio shows I can,” he notes. “Last year is my first year that I really had a legit tour, so this year, I want to be able to put the things that I learned last year, put it into my live shows — so I want to make sure my live show is better than it was last year, that’s a goal.

“I want to make more fans. Sell records,” Wallen continues. “I don’t want to be New Vocalist of the Year; that’s not a goal of mine. If those things come along, that would be awesome, but that’s not something I strive for. I just want to make music people like.”

“The Way I Talk” is available for download on iTunes.

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