"I'm an artist and happen to be queer--I think that's how I'm changing the musical landscape," says singer/songwriter morgxn as we begin our chat to premiere his latest pop single. As one of the leading voices in LGBTQ music today, that's exactly how we define him as well with his real and authentically passionate approach to songwriting.
In addition to his hit song "home" (which now has millions of streams on Spotify) and "bruised," which we premiered last year, there's a new emotionally impactful song that we're listening to on repeat from his debut album (entitled "vital," out May 18): "me without you."
Here, we chat with morgxn about the song and give you, Out readers, the premiere listen.
OUT: Tell us about "me without you." Who is the song about? Tell us about that moment in your life.
morgxn: it is a song about loving someone so much and not knowing what to do when they're gone. it's a song about searching for home when that person is 'home' and without them, you don't know home anymore. and ultimately, it is a song about recognizing and saying "i love you" before it is too late to say it anymore. i wrote it for my father.
So impactful. How are queer artists like yourself changing the musical landscape today?
morgxn: i'm an artist. i happen to be queer. i think that's how i'm changing the landscape -- let's talk about love and let's talk about it without defining or scrutinizing gender or sexuality. i think there is something empowering to claiming my sexuality and it's not something i grew up embracing. especially before my father passed. it was not something i could ever do. we are changing the landscape because we refuse to see the landscape as less than or different than our straight family. we are as vital as anyone else.
Your debut album, vital, is out on May 18, what do you hope fans will take away from it?
morgxn: this album is vital to me. it kept me in the studio. it kept me connected. it kept me searching for a bigger picture in all of it. when i lost my grandparents. when i went on tour and experienced real faces outside of my bedroom studio. the record grew. i grew. when i continued to process my father and what that meant to be a man without him. when the election happened. VITAL was an invitation to think about what keeps you going and what stops you in your tracks. and how sometimes they are the same. and how we all feel a lot of the same things. but we can carry the weight. and that is vital. vital was like a torch i carried to light my way. as a word and as a concept. and i still don't feel done with the word. i am still exploring it. now through photography and still through music. and hopefully one day a book. vital is a messenger. and the record is my dance with him.
Who inspires you to create the music and sounds that you do?
morgxn: i think i'm inspired by the moment. by the youth that are speaking up and the voices on the internet that are talking about their bodies and their search for 'home.' i had a lot of people tell me early on "how to make music" and that i wouldn't fit the mold ... but none of it felt like the way i was trying to express myself. so i played around. i'd say a lot of this record -- especially vocally -- is the original takes. i left a lot of the need for perfection in another life. this was a really visceral process made with very few people and i'm proud of that. i get excited when a snare sits just right or a vocal phrase folds beautifully into a melody. so much of the record was about discovery -- what felt good at the time. there's still pieces i'm discovering in it and i guess it's 'finished' but i don't know that finishing is my job.
Who are you loving in the music scene today? Who are you listening to?
morgxn: hayley kyoko, haux, james droll, and river tiber.
Now, listen to the Out premiere of morgxn's, "me without you."
*Editorial note: We kept the interview in the lower-case font to adhere to morgxn's styling.