Craig Morrison, a native of Sydney, Australia, moved to Nashville in 2011 to persue his dream of being a country music star. Already successful in his homeland of Australia, Craig was named Male Artist Of The Year at Australia's Central Coast Country Music Festival in 2012, and his single "Fences" became a Top 5 hit on the Australian Country Music Tracks Chart.
He released his self-titled U.S. debut album in May 2012. The album was recorded and produced in Nashville by Grammy nominated producer Mark Moffat. The first single from the album, "Fences" is an uplifting track about dealing with life's obstacles.
Craig performed at the CMA Global Artist Party during this year's CMA Music Festival, and was also a performer at the DreamWest fashion show and concert.
Nashville Love had the pleasure of chatting with Craig last week about his debut album and what we can expect from this talented Aussie in the future!
Nashville Love: Your father was dubbed a “founding member of Australian pop music.” What led you to country music?
Craig Morrison: They say my father’s big in pop; my dad’s number one song was “I’ve Been Everywhere,” which was released by Hank Snow and Johnny Cash. When they say that my dad was heavily involved in pop, they are talking about in the mid to late 60’s, which was around about the time of Bandstand, Six O’Clock Rock, and all those wonderful programs you had here. We had them in Australia. My dad had….he was very famous. He toured with the Mouseketeers. It wasn’t really that he was pop, in fact my dad did country, rock and roll and a number of different genres.
Nashville Love: With all of this music that you were exposed to as a child, who was your biggest musical influence?
Craig Morrison: My dad (laughs)! When I was born I thought everyone’s dad was a singer. I grew up in that lifestyle. It was very colorful and I cherish every minute I had.
Nashville Love: Who would you compare your sound to?
Craig Morrison: I’ve been in the industry and long time, I was born into it. So I’ve had an incredible amount of influences. The first song I ever learned was “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers. The first two big concerts I ever saw were Kenny Rogers and Garth Brooks, but also in my late teens I loved Van Halen. I grew up with music, so I have a vast amount of influence and it would be wrong of me to try and pinpoint just one of them.
Nashville Love: You recently won an Australian songwriters award (National Australian Songwriters Award) last year for "Hot Kinda Love." Did you ever expect that kind of recognition for your songwriting?
Craig Morrison: That was really cool. I won that just at the end of 2011 before I came back here. I’ve been writing for a while and to receive an award is always a surprise. This is the most prestigious award I’ve gotten since I’ve been back involved with music.
Nashville Love: How important is it to you to write your own material versus recording a song someone else wrote?
Craig Morrison: I write music because I like writing music. I just enjoy writing. We have some of the most incredible songwriters here in the United States. We have some great ones in Australia as well, but I have to be honest, here in Nashville in particular, are the most amazing resources of songwriters that I have ever come across in my life. So, I’m more than happy to go out and listen to their songs. If I find one that I relate to, then I would love the opportunity to be able to sing their song.
Nashville Love: Are there any personal favorites on your new album?
Craig Morrison: My favorite songs would be “Fences” and “Just Another Sundown” and “Stay Up Late“. I love them all, I really do.
Nashville Love: Your new single is “Fences,” which is about the obstacles in life that you have to face. Do you have any ‘fences’ right now?
Craig Morrison: Everyday! That’s why I love this song. We all get out of bed in the morning and say it’s a brand new day and lets get on with it. There’s something that you gotta accomplish that day and for me, that’s the fence. This song is so easy for people to relate to because, to me, if I look back six or seven years ago, to now be living in Nashville with my 2 and a half year old son, my wife and my dog, and finally to be releasing a song to radio, those are amazing hurdles to overcome. Now, to have achieved those, its just amazing! Dare to dream!
Nashville Love: What are your touring plans this year? Anyone in particular you’d like to tour with?
Craig Morrison: Well, I’d love to be out touring tomorrow (laughs)! I’d love to tour with anyone who would have me! I’ve got a lot of ground to make up! There’s over 300 million people in this country, that’s a lot of friends I’ve gotta make! I’d jump at the chance to get out there on the road with anyone. I’m dying to have the opportunity to be up on stage four or five nights a week and honing my craft, making friends and doing what I came here to do.
Nashville Love: What can people expect when they see you perform live?
Craig Morrison: A curly haired Aussie jumping around (laughs). I like to have a lot of fun in my shows. If I’m not smiling, there’s something wrong. I love being on stage and making new friends. I just want to have fun with you guys and that’s what my shows are all about.
Nashville Love: You've toured alongside Mötley Crüe. How would you compare the Crue fans versus the country music fans?
Craig Morrison: They are both incredibly passionate. It was an amazing period of time (touring with Motely Crue), the fans are young and enthusiastic, but by no means are they anything like what a country music audience is. One of the things I really fell in love with about a country music audience is the friendship there is. They are good people that want to listen and have fun. It is a fantastic environment to be part of.
Nashville Love: So now that you are living in Nashville, do you go back to Australia frequently?
Craig Morrison: I went back four times when I first got here (Nashville) because the album is being released there. In fact the second single is at radio there. “Fences” went to #5 on the Australian Country Music Charts. “Just Another Sundown” was released in Australia just a few weeks ago and is #19 on the Australian Country Music Charts which is really exciting! But ya know, I’ve clipped my wings now. I want to stay here. It’d be great to go back to Australia because I could do a tour, but I have to focus on what I have here now. The people here have been kind enough to give me the opportunity to make something of my life and my career here and I want to continue to make the most of everything.
Nashville Love: What do you miss most about Australia?
Craig Morrison: There are a number of things, but none of which make me get up in the morning saying I’ve got to go back to Australia tomorrow. I have family in Australia and that’s the hardest thing. I actually communicate more with my family being this far away than I did when I lived only half an hour drive away. It’s kinda funny, when you are that close you tend to take for granted the fact that you have everything that close.
Nashville Love: What can we expect from you over the next year?
Craig Morrison: My dream is get out and do shows. I’m anxious for people to see me live and get to know who I am. I’m doing as many radio tours as I can right now, which I think is very important. I want people to get to know me, then they can understand my music more as well. I just want to become more known so I can have that opportunity to get out and meet people. And I might even write a hit song! Ya never know! (laughs)
To find out more about Craig Morrison, visit www.craigmorrisonmusic.com.
Become a fan on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/craigmorrisoninc
Craig's self-titled U.S. debut album can be purchased HERE.