Morgan Wallen raises a toast with “Whiskey Glasses” – By Preshias Harris for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

Morgan Wallen raises a toast with
“Whiskey Glasses”

Happy heartbreak song written by
Ben Burgess and Kevin Kadish honored at No. 1 party

By Preshias Harris for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

Some songs just hit you right away, and
that’s how it was for Morgan Wallen when he heard the demo for
“Whiskey Glasses.”

“I heard it and we were like, Hell
yeah!” said Morgan during the media meeting prior to the
presentations. He and the song’s two writers, Ben Burgess and
Kevin Kadish were at the Sutler in Nashville on Monday, July 29 to
celebrate the chart-topping success of “Whiskey Glasses.” The
song is the third single from Morgan’s debut album, If I Know Me,
produced by Joey Moi. The celebration was hosted by ASCAP and BMI.

Morgan received national attention when
he competed on season 6 of The Voice in 2014 where he joined
Team Usher and was later ‘stolen’ by Team Adam Levine. Although
Morgan was ultimately eliminated in the Playoffs, his performance led
to a record deal with Big Loud Records and the album If I Know Me.

I reminded Morgan that “Whiskey
Glasses” had knocked Blake Shelton’s “God’s Country” off
the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. I said that
must have been a strange feeling, particularly as Blake had been a
Coach when Morgan competed on The Voice.

Morgan agreed. “’God’s Country’
is one of my favorite Blake Shelton songs he’s ever had,” said
Morgan. “And one of my best friends, [Michael] Hardy, was a writer
on that, so I got to talk a little trash to him about that! But I
knew “God’s Country” would probably end up back up there [at
No. 1] so I didn’t feel too bad for him.”

I asked Morgan how he had he narrowed
down all the songs he could have cut to the fourteen tracks that are
on the album, If I Know Me.

“It’s not the easiest thing,” he
admitted. “I have a really good team that helps with that. What
we do is, they ask me if I like a song, or if I write a song and I
tell them that I like it, we put it on a song link. I’ll just
listen to it periodically to see which songs stick and see which ones
fade. It takes some time, for me anyway. Sometimes you hear a song
and you know for a fact, like ‘this is not going anywhere.’
Sometimes you’re real high on a song then a couple of weeks later,
you’re like, ‘I don’t know, I don’t think it’s as good as I
thought it was when I wrote it,’ or whatever. So we just go
through a process.”

Morgan described the team process to
selecting songs. “We’ll have a couple of meetings, we’ll have a
white board with the songs listed. We’ll all go around and say,
‘what do you think about this one? Do you think this is an album
cut? Do you think this is a single? Do you think this is a Song of
the Year type of song? Is this just a barely making it type of song?’
And we’ll just figure out from that moment on, which ones that we
collectively all feel strongly about. I have a very understanding
group of people, too. If I feel strongly about a song, like ‘I
need this song,’ they’ll say ‘all right.’”

That was the process, Morgan said of
‘grinding down’ the list of potential songs to the fourteen cuts
that are on If I Know Me. He noted that the process has
started all over again as he and his team at Big Loud Records start
planning for the next album.

Turning to Kevin Kadish, I said I knew
he co-wrote and produced “All About That Bass” for Meghan
Trainor. It was a huge hit and had 1.7 billion YouTube views. It was
nominated for Song of the Year and Record of the Year at the Grammys.
I asked him if he has a different approach writing for and producing
country acts compared to pop or rock acts.

“Honestly, I just write songs,”
said Kevin. “I don’t have anything in mind when I’m writing,
really. I just try to write the best song of the day. Sometimes you
have to adjust the vernacular for different genres. You can get away
with certain things in pop that I think you can’t really get away
with, lyrically, in country. But I think a great song is a great song
at the end of the day.”

Kevin went on to say that he is never
sure that a song is going to be a hit. As a songwriter, he feels
that it’s out of his control, because even if it’s a great song,
if people don’t like it, it doesn’t matter.

Morgan had met up with Ben Burgess when
he first moved to town. It was cool, he said, that he could cut a
song written by Ben, particularly one that hit him in such a special

Ben Burgess recalled where he was when
he heard that he had scored his first number one as a songwriter. It
was during a week in Dallas and he’d gone up to just south of
Austin with some friends. He got a text from ‘Cat Daddy’ –
songwriter Craig Wiseman – saying “you got yourself one” so he
stayed an extra day to celebrate.

Speaking of the success of “Whiskey
Glasses,” Ben said it was just a testament to what a force Morgan
is and this is just the beginning for him. Ben said he could picture
them in thirty years from now in South Dallas, hearing that song and
saying, ‘Wow, they’re still singing it!’

Morgan noted that although “Whiskey
Glasses” is a heartbreak song – the guy has lost the girl –
they didn’t want it to feel that way. He said when he sings that
song, people in the audience don’t look sad at all and are all
having a great time. They added little touches to make the song
“sound drunk, nor sad,” said Morgan.

The music video looks like there is a
whole lot of whiskey being drunk. I asked Morgan if it was real
whiskey for the video shoot, or just colored water.

“There was a little bit of sweet
tea,” said Morgan with a laugh. “And a little bit of real
whiskey. We started that video about 8:00 a.m. so if I’d have drank
the ‘real thing’ the whole day, I would not have made it to the
nighttime scene of that video. So we had a little bit of both!”

“Chasing You,” also from If I Know
Me, is Morgan’s latest single. It was released July 29, the same
day as the Number One party for “Whiskey Glasses.” “Chasing
You” was written by Morgan with Jamie Moore and Craig Wiseman. The
new single is already making an impact: it is this week’s “most
added single” at country radio.

Morgan will be performing on a lot of
stages for the rest of 2019. He continues down the road with Florida
Georgia Line and their nationwide Can’t Say I Ain’t Country
through September. He will then support Luke Combs on the
fall leg of Combs’ Beer Never Broke My Heart Tour.

Music and tour updates at Morgan’s

and on Facebook

# # #

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