Like so many artists who make truly vulnerable music, morgxn often hears from listeners who’ve been profoundly moved by
his work. Not long ago, the singer/songwriter received
a message that ended on a simple expression of gratitude: “Thank you so much for being authentic to who you are. It shines through.” On his new album MERIDIAN – a project in 2 parts—the follow-up to his widely beloved 2018 debut vital— morgxn brings that radiant authenticity to a mesmerizing selection of songs, and ultimately proves that sensitivity may be a deep source of strength.
Commencing with MERIDIAN : vol 1, morgxn’s latest release has its origins in a particularly chaotic 24-hour period back in March 2020. As the world was entering the unknown and going into lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic, the same day saw Billie Eilish posting a list of five songs that inspired her Grammy Award-winning smash hit “bad guy,” including morgxn’s very own “home” – the lead single from vital which was a Top 10 Alternative radio hit. “The world was entering a complete unknown, and at the same time I was having an extremely low and extremely high day all at once,” morgxn recalls. “It was this crazy thunderstorm of panic and excitement, and at some point I decided to just lean into the uncertainty, in the hope that I’d maybe discover something.”
One of the first outcomes of that journey, morgxn’s self- released single “WONDER” premiered in early summer and soon amassed over 50 million global streams, in addition to going viral on TikTok. Despite the track’s success, morgxn felt shattered by all the upheaval he’d recently endured—in both his personal and professional life—and found his heartbreak compounded by the isolation of quarantine. Nonetheless, he moved forward with making music, almost entirely by instinct. “Working on this album is what kept me waking up every day,” he says. “The songs kept raising their hand and asking me to be present, so that’s exactly what I did.”
In a series of remote sessions, morgxn soon began sculpting MERIDIAN’s kaleidoscopic sound by collaborating with a stellar lineup of songwriters/ producers, including Mark Jackson and Ian Scott (a duo known for their work with Bishop Briggs and Skylar Grey), Dave Bassett (Elle King, Weezer), Jennifer DeCilveo (MARINA, Miley Cyrus), Tobias Kuhn (Dreamers, Alice Merton), and Thom Powers of The Naked and Famous. As
the album took shape, morgxn landed on a title that had come to him in a dream, scrapping his original intention of naming the project wonder. “Meridians are the points on the body that energy flows through, and they’re always communicating with each other—even when that energy gets stuck,” he explains. “In a way I feel like all these songs were like energy markers for me, like they were helping me to stay connected even as so many of the structures around me were crumbling.”
Beautifully centered on his tender vocal work, MERIDIAN finds morgxn exploring such complexities as body image and impossible beauty standards, the power in reframing past mistakes, and the urgency of allowing yourself to experience the full spectrum of emotion. Electrifying and anthemic, lead single “PORCELAIN” unfolds as a passionate refusal to deny your fragility, its defiant energy channeled in stomping beats and majestic gang vocals. In revealing the song’s inspiration, morgxn points to the time-honored Japanese art form known as kintsugi. “It’s a process where a piece of pottery breaks and they use a gold glue to mend it, and the broken piece is more valuable than the supposedly whole piece,” he says. “To me ‘PORCELAIN’ is about admitting you might fall apart, and recognizing that showing up in the first place is the kind of strength that really matters.” Meanwhile, on the piano-driven “HOW DO YOU HOLD WHAT HURTS,” morgxn shares a stark but finely detailed meditation on the unbearable weight of deep-rooted pain. “I’ve been in therapy my whole life, but
I don’t always know how to hold what hurts,” he says. “The central question of that song is ‘How do you make space when there is no room?’, and I still haven’t found the answer.”
Through the years, morgxn’s ability to merge uncompromising honesty with elegant yet adventurous songwriting has earned him an adoring following, and led to such milestones as touring with the likes of X Ambassadors and Phoebe Ryan (along with taking the stage at leading festivals like Lollapalooza). More recently, morgxn has begun supporting others in their own creative expression by co-founding the WHAT IS VITAL Project: an organization that provides funds to artists in a variety
of mediums. “The WHAT IS VITAL Project is a way for me to practice what I preach, which is that the pursuit of one’s own artistic endeavors is the most vital thing in the world,” says morgxn. “As a queer artist who doesn’t fit into the mold of the queer mainstream, I had to go on and create my own stream.
I hope to help get people the resources they need to achieve what’s vital to them, without the usual institutions or arbiters of what’s viable and worthy.”
With MERIDIAN : vol 2 due out October 22, morgxn continues to contend with many of the questions he’s examined on the album. “There were definitely way more questions than answers in this whole process,” he notes. “But I don’t think my role here is to have all the answers. My role is to reflect what I see as true.” And by infusing so much emotional truth into his music—and avoiding the toxic positivity found in far less introspective pop—he’s created a body of work that’s undeniably uplifting. “I think there’s something powerful about realizing that you don’t have to go through things alone,” says morgxn. “Even in a year when I was more alone than ever, I ended feeling closer to my fans and my friends and my family, because I allowed myself to sit with what I was feeling and admit it to the people I love.
I was able to admit that I’m human and flawed and that I’m absolutely allowed to be. We’re all allowed to be perfectly imperfect.” The first single from MERIDIAN: vol 2 is “DON’T THINK ABOUT IT” with Grammy-nominated producer and songwriter Jenn DeCilveo. morgxn recently teamed up with Grammy-award winning and Tony-nominated artist Sara Bareilles for a reimagining of his hit single “WONDER,” and the pair performed the song together on Jimmy Kimmel Live!