Out indie pop singer-songwriter morgxn is ready to make an impression on 2019 with a string of live shows and a stash of innovative singles and videos.
Born and raised in Nashville as Morgan Karr, morgxn moved to New York City to pursue a career in acting, then to Los Angeles for music.
Karr said that even though he’s more of an electronic pop, dance and R&B artist, the more organic and traditional styles of Nashville influenced his style and tastes as a musician.
“I think what I picked up from Nashville were real songs by real people about real things,” he said. “It was just always the sonics that never really stuck on me. Country never really got into my bloodstream.”
Karr said that while he was growing up, country music was for the most part all there was, though he also got involved in gospel music. The gospel influence was surprising, as he was a Jewish boy who just wanted to sing. Music was the only outlet that he could find.
“There were these big ol’ choirs for me to join and sing. I grew up around musicians. Some of the people I idolized the most weren’t the famous people that everyone was obsessed with, like celebrities and music stars. To me, the musicians that I loved were my parents’ friend who played piano at the bar and my mom’s friend who played flugelhorn at family events. I just fell in love with songs and musicians who really loved to look at the world and write about it.”
Also setting morgxn apart from the crowded flock of electro-pop singers are his eye-catching music videos, which often have thought-provoking messages and themes to go with the creative and stylized imagery.
“It’s no coincidence that when I started my first video for ‘Love You With the Lights On’ it was based off of a Robert Mapplethorpe photo,” he said. “Part of the reason I did that was because I knew I can be wrapped like a mummy the entire time and that would be all that I need to show. To me, a music video as a medium is an incredible way to tell a story. Like the song ‘Translucent,’ what I wrote the song about was one thing, but as I was recording a stripped version of it, I discovered what I was talking about when I wrote it became something completely different.”
He explained that when he made the music video, he didn’t want to be the artist who gets stuck to one interpretation of his own music because he believes the songs evolve and grow with you.
“When I went to make the video for ‘Translucent,’ I wanted to talk about what I felt in that moment, which was sort of the crossroads I felt as an artist. That somehow masculinity was something that people try to define for you and I’m trying to define masculinity for myself.”
Karr added that even though things are more open and accepting for queer music artists, there is still intense pressure for them to conform to the industry’s expectations as far as image and behavior.
“I try to spend less time worrying about what other standards people have for me and instead I try to analyze the standards I’ve built for myself over time that don’t hold up anymore,” he said. “We talk a lot about toxic masculinity, for sure. There’s definitely more to be talked about in that arena. But even within the community with queer people, we have this tendency to fight with ourselves and I don’t know what that is. I just speak for myself.”
As a Southerner, morgxn said he had a preconceived singular notion of what a man was supposed to be. Part of his journey as an artist is breaking down those walls and exploring it for himself.
“That’s an important journey for every person, whether you are queer or straight or whatever. You have to analyze the systems you are born into so you can break them down and take what works for you and is vital and leave what is not.”
For now, morgxn is readying himself to take his music on the road as the opening act for electro-pop singer-songwriter and DJ Robert DeLong.
“We will definitely have some surprises in store for sure,” Karr said. “I’ve been a fan of Robert’s for a while. He’s got a lot of cool electronic influences in what he does. I think our sounds are different, but match in a really cool kind of way.”
Singer morgxn performs with Robert DeLong 8 p.m. Feb. 17 at The Foundry, 29 E. Allen St. For more information or tickets, call 215-309-0150 or visit www.facebook.com/morgxnofficial.