On Wednesday, morgxn performed a stunning set to open for Patrick Droney. The artist played piano and sang a combination of classic morgxn hits and new singles from his latest album MERIDIAN. Between each song, morgxn shared part of his history, cracked jokes, and spread awareness about the latest “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida. The set was intimate, comforting, and a beautiful expression of art. Before the show, I had a chance to speak with morgxn about his love for music and his songwriting process during the pandemic. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Margaret Koulen: How did you get into music? Who inspires you?
morgxn: I always loved to sing. My mom said I was singing before I could talk. My great grandfather was a vaudeville singer, so even though I didn’t have anyone I knew in the music industry today, I was inspired by my family. When I first went out into Nashville, I was singing Christian gospel, even though I was a Jewish kid. I was just a kid who loved singing. I had a teacher who taught me how to look at songs and find the chords, but I was mostly just a kid who liked to sing.
I am inspired by a lot of great singers. Right now I can think of Luther Vandross and Stevie Wonder. I didn’t know that the sound of somebody’s voice could embody sorrows. I had no idea that Luther Vandross was queer and when I listened to his music I thought “Oh my god, I can hear his pain.” I heard a lot of his music when I was finding myself and discovering who I am. That subconsciously shaped the singer and the communicator that I am today.
MK: You just released an extended version of MERIDIAN. How is this a continuation of MERIDIAN volume 1 and 2?
morgxn: While I was creating music, I kept thinking: What is actually driving me to wake up and create? There were days when I had no idea what to do with myself. There were times in the pandemic when everyone was figuring out how to be the best human and I was just stressed and anxious and the song BURDEN helped me find myself. So working on these songs was not an active choice of making an album. MERIDIAN is all about how things change and fall apart and fall together without your input. It is also what I wanted to call WONDER. My intention was to have WONDER be the start of this album, but it got a life of its own after it went viral on TikTok and everything. I woke up one morning thinking: No, this song is supposed to be called “MERIDIAN,” but it was WONDER. And then PORCELAIN is about this Japanese idea, kintsugi, that something like a vase breaks and when it’s put back together, it is more valuable than it was before. So everything on this album is about that. Things fall apart and come back together without your control.
MK: How has the return to touring been after the pandemic?
morgxn: It is just a very tender time in history and the world to be entering any kind of space. I love being in-person, but the truth is that you can still make great art virtually. I just remember my desk in LA. It was propped up with crystals and I sat on a little stool and hand held my microphone and recorded WONDER with Sara Bareilles. So you can make art anywhere. It’s not about the place, it’s about the heart and the intention.
MK: Is there anything you want to say to your fans?
morgxn: Oh my goodness, keep going. Whenever you think it’s going to break and fall apart, that’s when the magic happens. That’s what MERIDIAN is all about. I wouldn’t be talking to you today if I didn’t keep going.