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Morgan Wallen

Morgan Wallen

One of the 21st century's biggest country music stars, Morgan Wallen sets traditional themes -- faith, drinking, love -- to music that borrows from R&B, pop, and rock with multi-platinum results. His 2018 debut album If I Know Me broke records with its lengthy stay on the U.S. Top Country Albums chart, while its singles topped the country charts and made serious inroads into the U.S. Hot 100 Singles chart -- trends that continued on his later albums. With 2021's hugely popular Dangerous: The Double Album, Wallen took an increasingly boundaryless approach that extended to the Lil Durk collaboration "Broadway Girls" and 2023's One Thing at a Time, which added alternative rock influences to his repertoire, broke records for its lengthy reign atop the Billboard 200 Albums chart and "Last Night," its crossover number one single that spent 16 weeks at the top of Billboard's Hot 100.

Born in Sneedville, Tennessee, on May 13, 1993, Wallen grew up in the Knoxville area. His father was a preacher who loved the bombast of hard rock, while his mother was a teacher whose tastes ran to contemporary Christian sounds. Wallen developed a strong interest in music at a very young age; he started singing in church when he was three years old and took up the violin when he was five. He later learned to play piano and guitar, but in high school his passion was baseball, pitching for the team at Gibbs High School in Corryton, Tennessee. He was good enough to earn offers to play college ball on a scholarship, but late in his senior year, an elbow injury put an end to his days as a pitcher, and he began considering music as a career.

In February 2014, Wallen appeared on the popular televised singing competition The Voice, blind auditioning for the judges with the song "Collide" by Howie Day. Usher liked Wallen's performance, and Morgan joined his team. After the second Battle Round, Wallen was stolen by Adam Levine's team, but Morgan was eliminated in the playoffs. The Voice gave Wallen nationwide exposure, but it also helped him find a collaborator; Sergio Sánchez of the band Atom Smash was a vocal coach on the show, and the two began writing songs together that suited Wallen's country voice and rock & roll attitude. He moved to Nashville, where he and Sánchez formed a short-lived band, Morgan Wallen & Them Shadows.

After settling in Music City, Wallen landed a manager and an agent, as well as a publishing deal with Big Loud Shirt Music, which placed his songs with a number of up-and-coming artists. Big Loud's record label, Big Loud Music, gave Wallen a chance to record as a solo act, and he went on a tour of radio stations to get back in shape for performing. In 2016, he made an impression on the radio with his tune "The Way I Talk," and a five-song EP featuring the track soon followed. In 2017, he collaborated with Florida Georgia Line on the single "Up Down," which made the Top Ten of the Country Singles charts and earned a gold record. Both of these songs featured on Wallen's debut album, April 2018's If I Know Me. Featuring production by Joey Moi, the album entered the U.S. Top Country Albums chart at number 11, debuted at 72 on the U.S. 200 Albums chart, and also appeared on the Canadian and Australian album charts. If I Know Me ultimately reached number ten on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and hit number one on the U.S. Top Country Albums chart following a record-breaking 114-week stint. In September 2020, the Recording Industry Association of America gave the album platinum certification (in January 2022, it was certified double platinum). If I Know Me spawned two other hit singles, "Whiskey Glasses" and "Chasin' You," both of which topped the U.S. Country Airplay chart and reached the top 20 of the U.S. Hot 100 Singles chart.

In the wake of If I Know Me's success, Wallen toured with Florida Georgia Line and continued to work on new music. In July 2019, he issued the single "This Bar," while "More Than My Hometown" arrived the following May and topped the U.S. Country Airplay chart. During the COVID-19 global pandemic, Wallen wrote enough songs to record a double album. Appearing in January 2021, Dangerous: The Double Album reunited Wallen with Moi and also featured production work by Jacob Durrett, Charlie Handsome, Matt Dragstrem and Dave Cohen as well as cameos by Chris Stapleton and Ben Burgess. Spanning romantic ballads and neo-country tracks that leaned on R&B and pop influences, Dangerous debuted at the top of the U.S. 200 Albums chart, ultimately spending ten weeks total at number one; after staying in the Top Ten for a total of 104 weeks, it became the longest-running Top Ten album for a solo artist in the chart's history. Dangerous debuted at number one on the U.S. Country Albums chart and set a record for its lengthy stay at the top of that chart. Along with quadruple platinum certifications in the U.S. and Canada, the album was certified gold in Australia. Dangerous: The Double Album also featured "Sand in My Boots," which topped the U.S Country Airplay chart; "7 Summers," which topped the U.S. Hot Country Songs chart; and "Wasted on You," which topped both charts. Roughly a month after the album's release, Wallen was suspended by his record label, his songs were removed from country radio, and the Academy of Country Music declared his album ineligible for their awards as a result of a video where the singer used racially insensitive language. That May, he was reinstated to Big Loud Music's artist roster.

In April 2021, Wallen issued the gospel waltz "Don't Think Jesus," which topped the Hot Country Songs chart and reached number seven on the U.S. Hot 100 Singles chart. Late in the year, he collaborated with Lil Durk on "Broadway Girls," a Top 20 hit in the U.S. that also reached number one on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart. Early in 2022, Dangerous: The Double Album won Album of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards. At the American Music Awards, Wallen won the Favorite Male Country Artist Award, while "Wasted on You" won the award for Favorite Country Song. That February, the singer embarked on his first headlining tour; that month also saw the release Tyler Joe Miller's single "Wild as Her," which Wallen co-wrote. That May, he issued a pair of songs, "Thought You Should Know" and "You Proof." Both reached number one on the U.S. Hot Country Songs chart, with "You Proof" becoming a Top Five hit on the U.S. Hot 100 Singles chart. These singles, along with "Don't Think Jesus," appeared on Wallen's third album One Thing at a Time. Released in March 2023, the expansive 36-song set included collaborations with Eric Church, Hardy, and ERNEST and fused country, alternative rock, and hip-hop influences into songs with a more personal viewpoint. One Thing at a Time topped the Billboard 200 Albums chart for months following its release. All of its tracks entered the Billboard Hot 100, breaking the record for the most songs by an artist on that chart at one time, while the single "Last Night" became his first to top the Hot 100-- the first single from a male country singer to reach that position since Eddie Rabbitt did it with "I Love a Rainy Night' in 1981.

Once "Last Night" reached number one, it stayed there for 16 weeks, trying a record held by Harry Styles' "As It Was." One Thing at a Time spun off four additional singles in 2023--the biggest of these was "Thinkin' Bout Me," which reached number one on the Country Airplay charts, although they all performed well--keeping the album high in the charts for the rest of the year. Early in 2024, Wallen released "Spin You Around (1/24)" to counter the release of a tenth anniversary edition of his 2015 EP Stand Alone that featured eight unreleased songs. The reissue happened without his approval, leading him to re-record "Spin You Around" with his regular producer Joey Moi. ~ TiVo Staff

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