Music without Borders: Local musician going international



Nathan Morris doesn’t have a home — at least not a permanent one. Instead, he moves around between three. Such is the life of a musician who refuses to be snared by the boundaries of any specific city or state.

His music is just as hard to pin down as he is, as it has been played in Starbucks nationwide and in the friendly skies aboard international airlines.

The 25-year-old Owensboro native has been a music lover since he was little.

“I was a pretty wild kid in elementary school,” Morris said. “I was a kid who wanted attention. I was the class clown, so when I was good my teacher would let me sing solos.”

Elementary school solos eventually turned into singing for churches, which turned into professional voice and piano lessons.

Morris said that listening and imitating some of the biggest pop artists of the ‘90s, such as Michael Bolton, had an enormous influence on his style.

He continued to train, and when the band Phat Chance came to town they allowed Morris to open for them. The group took him under its wing and taught him invaluable information about the music industry and songwriting.

Morris would begin bouncing around within the music industry, hungry to gain whatever experience he could. All the while he was writing songs for his first EP, “Leaving Duraleigh.” The release was nominated for independent release of the year.

Morris said his mom had been skeptical about his intentions of entering the field of music, worried that it was a hit or miss field. He said after his EP was released her worries subsided.

After a few years of road managing for a band, Morris moved home and worked at a car dealership. He eventually moved to Lexington and went to college to appease his mother, and pursued broadcast journalism.

However, his stay at UK wouldn’t last long. His persistent songwriting led to production deal that got him his deal with Starbucks and American Airlines.

He said he thinks his music has an appeal because of the way it differs from current pop music.

“I feel like a lot of pop music isn’t lyrically driven … I just try to write songs that actually have substance and actually make you think,” Morris said.

Morris said his work pushing EPs and searching for labels has led to a natural situation that has him living in three cities at once. He said he moves around between his two brothers’ homes in Lexington and Owensboro, as well as his place in North Carolina.

Morris said the landscape of music is changing, but musicians shouldn’t be worried. He said social networking and the web can actually allow for more exposure and a better relationship between musicians and fans.

“When people contact me (through social networks), I’m able to engage with them directly. Whenever you make people feel a part of it, they’ll continue to come back,” Morris said. “I want people to know that they’re appreciated and wanted. That’s how I eat.”

Nathan Morris is currently working on new material and pushing his previous releases, but said the future looks promising.