Morgan Karr is no stranger to the stage. An actor, singer, songwriter, and artist, Morgan was part of the talented Broadway cast of “Spring Awakening,” and was named winner of Amateur Night at the Apollo. The Nashville-born entertainer is now bringing his powerful voice and the music from his debut self-titled EP to crowds on both the East and West Coasts. Read on to learn about the “11:11 Army” he’s developed with his fans and why he defines his music as “too theater to be pop, and too pop to be theater.”
Without using the words “alternative,” “pop,” “rock,” or “hip-hop,” describe your sound.
My music sits at an intersection of many genres which I tell people is too theater to be pop and too pop to be theater. My hope is not to be placed in a box. I draw on a lot of my influences, and my voice has a sound all its own.
If we want to get interesting with mashing up some artists you’ll already know… I’m Jason Mraz meets Whitney Houston. Or Rascal Flatts meets Stevie Wonder meets Ben Folds meets GLEE.
At the end of the day, I’m Morgan Karr the 6-year-old meets Morgan Karr the 24-year-old…
How have you been promoting your debut EP?
Social Media, live concert release shows in Nashville, New York, Chicago, and DC. I’ve had some great online/print articles help spread the word too. Otherwise I’m just sending it out into my online universe.
How do you engage with your fans?
Every way possible. I have a virtual street team– the 11:11 Army. 11:11 has always been special to me. I have long made wishes at 11:11, and when I began tweeting I would tweet to do so. I share more than music… I share hope. At least that’s my HOPE 🙂 Over time people have tweeted back at me on 11:11. This kind of circular energy is my favorite!
The 11:11 Army was created only in May, and already there are about 50 people from around the world who help to spread the MK Gospel. I’ll send them new songs, demos, exclusive content LONG before everyone else would get it. In return they help to spread the word in their circle.
**PLUG** — Anyone can join by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with their name, City/State, and favorite Superpower/Superhero. The superhero thing and how it relates to me may be another article for another day 😀
Fan engagement is obviously so important to me. I make music to share messages that are important to me and that I hope will strike a chord in someone else. I love hearing how my songs have reached far and wide! I think honesty is KEY when it comes to fan engagement. I try to engage in as many ways as possible and I genuinely want interaction. I want to know what works/doesn’t work and I’m very open to hearing from my fans. Fans can smell a fraud. Be genuine. Be real.
How does your musical theatre experience play into your live performances?
I have a great live show and it’s absolutely important to keep it that way. Recording is a souvenir of an entertaining live show. I am averse to artists that think it’s the other way around…
I sometimes get the comment that I’m too musical theater. I really don’t know what that means or why that’s important. If you like my music and you think I give an entertaining show… then what’s the point in discussing too THIS or too THAT?
But I’ve had a lot of training in musical theatre that I think adds to my live shows. I love to perform!
Tell us how you incorporate social media into your career?
It’s a huge part of what I do. Like I said, I love engaging with my fans. It’s like one big party on the interweb of people who have similar interests. If you like me and my music and follow me online… then you’re my kind of people 🙂
I try to do contests online for EP giveaways/concert ticket giveaways/etc. I like to see what people respond to and what they ignore.
What’s something you’re trying to improve upon?
There is not a day I am not trying to improve. Here’s a favorite quote of mine by Ira Glass:
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.
— Ira Glass
I am constantly looking for ways to improve the work I’m doing. I am proud of the steps I’ve taken, and I think it’s important to recognize good work, but I’m constantly striving to go farther and dig deeper. I don’t mean to sound all “heady” but these are my thoughts. I’m only 24. I know a lot and have A LOT to learn!
So what am I trying to improve on?
Got any new projects in the works?
A lot of writing since my EP was recorded. Recording a few new tunes. Writing. Traveling. Some big “maybe”s on the horizon. Isn’t that how it always is? We’re a well-oiled dam about to burst 🙂
I’ve been doing a lot of writing with a girl Alina Smith (www.alinasmith.net) in LA. I’m loving the sound we have when we create together. She’s an amazing singer/songwriter who moved from Russia to LA 7 years ago and is an incredible writer/singer. Look for our joint show in NYC on August 12th. More info on my website.
Other than that I’m just living my life and taking it one day at a time.