Here’s Why Maren Morris Was All Over The Grammys Tonight

Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic.
At the 2017 Grammy Awards, the name Maren Morris kept popping up. The "My Church" singer kept appearing throughout the night in promos for the show and, when the time came, she performed with none other than Alicia Keys. And — sorry, Maren Morris — a few of us here at Refinery29 had to stop and say, "who dis?" Which isn't to say the country star isn't a Big Name, but she doesn't have the same name recognition of, say, Beyoncé. So, why was she so prominently featured during the awards show? Well, she's kind of a big deal. Here's why. 1. She started her career at age 11. Yes, you read that correctly. Morris was a country prodigy, performing at clubs after just a decade of living. According to Rolling Stone, she released an independent album at 15. By the time she was 21, she'd performed all over the state of Texas.

2. She was a songwriter.

Like Jessie J, Bruno Mars, and countless other pop star mainstays, Morris found success a songwriter — no singing involved. After her teen success, she turned her back on the performing part to focus on writing. According to an interview she gave to NPR, the Texas native started out as a staff writer for a music label. Her first big hit went to none other than Tim McGraw. Morris wrote the song "Last Turn Home," which McGraw released in 2014. She stopped shipping off her songs when she realized that, hey, she'd rather sing them herself. Morris transitioned to full-time performer with the song "My Church." ""My Church" — that was really the tipping point for me going from songwriter to artist because the second that song was done and we were listening back to it, the first thought in my mind was, wow, they were right. And I'm not sending this to anybody," she told Encore's Audie Cornish.

3. She was rejected from both The Voice and American Idol.

Which goes to show you that competition shows don't always have their finger on the pulse of stardom. These days, contestants on The Voice are trying their hand at Morris's tunes, so it all worked out in the end. "I think about all of the freaking talent shows I've tried out for in my life and I'm so glad I didn't make any of them," she told Rolling Stone. "It's full circle, because I was rejected from The Voice. I was rejected from American Idol — and I'm happier for it now." 4. She toured with Keith Urban. It's Keith flipping Urban. Self explanatory. 5. She's been compared to Rihanna, Bonnie Raitt, and Sheryl Crow. Some combo, right? But for all her country categorization, Morris isn't strictly one genre. She told Rolling Stone, "I didn't really set out to make a country or a pop record. I just wanted it to feel like me. And 'me' is listening to. . . so many genres. If it's fun and it's true to you, I don't really see the point of labeling it." Morris's music seems to defy genre, which is difficult to achieve. (Other country stars that leapt out of the country confines have done quite well for themselves — see our lady Taylor Swift, who all but owns slick country/pop these days.) 6. She won the Country Solo performance at the Grammys — her first Grammys win. Also nominated in this category: Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, and Carrie Underwood. She had stiff competition, but she sure as hell deserved it.

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