What’s the hype with Morgan Wallen?

Country musician Morgan Wallen preparing to take the stage for a concert. (Courtesy of Morgan Wallen’s Instagram.)

Arguably the biggest star in the country music industry as of 2020, Morgan Wallen released his highly anticipated single “7 Summers” on August 14th. After signing a record deal with Big Loud Records in 2016, the Tennessee native released his debut album If I Know Me in 2018 including the already-hit-songs  “Whiskey Glasses” and “Chasin’ You.” Wallen currently holds two songs on the Billboard Top 100: “Chasin’ You” and his single previously released during 2020’s quarantine period “More Than My Hometown.”

While at Big Loud Records along with other prominent country artists Chris Lane and Jake Owen, Wallen has been awarded with Billboard’s #1 song of 2019 (“Whiskey Glasses”) on both the Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts as well as his first-ever nominations at both the Country Music Awards (2019 New Artist of the Year) and Academy of Country Music Awards (2020 New Male Artist of the Year).

Morgan Wallen’s style also catches the public eye. Performing shows in his flannel button-downs with the sleeves aggressively ripped off, slim-fitting jeans, pointed toe cowboy boots, and his mullet, Wallen sure will catch your attention whenever he is out.

Born in 1993 in Sneedville, Tennessee, Morgan Cole Wallen grew up singing in church. Wallen attended Gibbs High School, nearly an hour out of his hometown where he also played baseball. He received several offers to continue playing at the collegiate level, but he suffered an elbow injury his senior year of High School. He then turned to music after graduating in 2011. Wallen grew up as a Tennessee Volunteers fan, as they lived not too far away from the college town of Knoxville. He did not attend college, but he spends much of his time cheering on the Vols throughout the year. Wallen even put out a song titled “Had Me By Halftime” which vividly describes the environment of a college game day in Rocky Top. He also enjoys many activities that the outdoors has to offer. You can often find him making posts on social media with fellow musicians on the water while fishing, or on the green while playing a round of golf. 

Growing up as the son of a preacher, he has always been active in the church and close in his relationship with God. Wallen is quick to mention his faith whenever he performs. As he was an opening act in Tupelo, Mississippi on Jason Aldean’s We Back Tour, he said “There are only a few things in life that will help me get through a tough situation I’m going through– I got my family, I got my friends, and I got my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Just days later on Wallen’s Instagram live, I mentioned what he had said several days prior in Tupelo. He responded to my comment with the words “He is my Lord and Savior; I got a lot of faith in that; more faith than I got in anything.” This goes to show that no matter how popular he may be, he still falls back to the foundation of how he was raised and his faith to get him through his trials and tribulations in life.

He initially found a start in the music industry soon after high school as he found a spot on Season 6 of The Voice in 2014. Wallen was eliminated during the playoff round of the show, but is said to be grateful for the vocal coaching, support, and assistance that the show has given him. After his stint as a participant on The Voice, Morgan released his first EP, Stand Alone, a year after. 

Wallen released his initial single, “The Way I Talk”, in 2016 followed up by several more over the next couple of years. His debut album, If I Know Me, holds some of his most popular hits: “Up Down”, “Happy Hour”, “Whiskey Glasses”, “Chasin’ You”, and “The Way I Talk”. “Up Down” was written by Wallen’s good friend and Mississippi native Michael Hardy (HARDY). Country music duo Florida Georgia Line also assisted Wallen with “Up Down” bringing more fame to his name. 

Morgan Wallen headed to his tour bus after performing. ( Courtesy of Morgan Wallen’s Instagram.)

Following the discography of Morgan Wallen’s music career, his cover of Jason Isbell’s hit “Cover Me Up” once again boosted his career. Wallen joined Florida Georgia Line on the road in 2017, beginning his journey with various artists on tour. He then went on to accompany Luke Bryan, Jake Owen, Florida Georgia Line (again), Luke Combs, and most recently Jason Aldean. Wallen launched his own If I Know Me Tour in the early months of 2019 with fellow artists HARDY and Lainey Wilson. He has made several appearances at various music festivals such as Stagecoach Festival, Rock The South, and Red White and Boom Festival. Wallen kicked off the year with another single which he released on New Years Eve, “This Bar”. He then met with world-renowned DJ, Diplo, to come together and release “Heartless”, which was the debut song for Diplo’s country music album Chapter 1: Snake Oil

Many fans can closely relate to Walllen’s life as he has a heavy presence on social media. His new hit “7 Summers” was already viral on TikTok just weeks before he announced its release. During the nation’s quarantine, Wallen posted a short clip of “7 Summers” on his Instagram page. After its initial “leak”, the clip found its way to TikTok where the popular hashtag “7summers” has brought in over 24 million views prior to its public release on August 14th. Wallen stated that social media played a huge part in him releasing the song so early. He commented on social media in saying- “It’s a cool thing—me being on the fence about it, then being able to put it out and get people’s feedback. Seeing the response played the biggest part in this release. I think that speaks to just how much fans mean to me and fans mean to music.” His newfound hit was most likely scheduled to release on his upcoming album. Although Wallen has yet to post a release date for his upcoming album, he has already posted numerous clips of his upcoming songs during his time in quarantine.

By the end of its initial release date, “7 Summers” was at #1 on iTunes as well as #3 on Apple Music. This has never been seen before for a country song on Apple’s all-genre streaming chart. It also reached #3 on Spotify’s “United States Top 50” and #13 on Spotify’s “Global Top 50” song charts by just the following day, trailing the likes of Cardi B, Drake, Harry Styles, and Juice WRLD. These positions are new peaks for a country debut. Wallen has nearly an astonishing 10 million monthly listeners on Spotify in addition to his 2.5+ Billion total career streams and it seems as if he will continue to grow as an artist and songwriter alike.