Bridging the physical and musical expanse between Sydney, Australia, and Music City, USA is no small feat for a Country singer. Over the years, plenty of aspiring stars have taken that leap of faith to follow their dreams, packing up and moving to Nashville from halfway around the world.
Aussie Country singer Craig Morrison has managed to cultivate a successful career at opposite ends of the globe, however. The Sydney native and Nashville resident continues to release music at home and abroad, often promoting different singles in different markets simultaneously. In the face of a perpetually changing music business, Morrison stands as an excellent example of an artist who recognizes the importance of a global career path.
Morrison’s U.S. debut, Craig Morrison, finds the singer at ease in the Country music styles of both Australia and the U.S. Released in 2012, the album is available worldwide through digital distribution label GMV Nashville. Recorded in Music City under the masterful touch of Grammy Award-nominated Aussie producer Mark Moffatt (Keith Urban, Gloriana, Jason Aldean, O’Shea) the album includes Morrison’s 2011 single, Hot Kinda Love, as well as his stateside debut, Fences (a Top 5 smash in Australia). Morrison says he chose Fences for his first U.S. release due to the song’s personal and allegorical meaning.
“‘Fences’ was the first song I found for this album, and I just had to have it,” says Morrison. “When I listened to the demo while out on a radio tour, I just could not put it down. I love the message, as I believe life is about overcoming hurdles. I think everyone can relate to this song in one way or another.”
Renowned music critic, author and historian Robert Oermann gave the song high marks upon its release, noting, “This Aussie cracks the U.S. Country marketplace with a gently rolling social statement about the nature of barricades in our lives. Well written and expertly produced, it’s a mighty promising debut.”
As Fences continues its run on the charts in America, Morrison’s latest Aussie single, Just Another Sundown, is already a Top 4 success Down Under. In an ironic twist, the globe-trotting Aussie shot the video for Fences in Australia, later releasing it in the U.S., while the Just Another Sundown video was shot in Nashville and is currently in rotation on Australia’s Country Music Channel (CMC).
The son of legendary Aussie artist Lucky Starr, Morrison grew up surrounded by the day-to-day rigors of the entertainment business. His father is widely regarded as one of the cornerstones of the Australian Pop genre and the first artist to record the legendary Johnny Cash anthem, I’ve Been Everywhere.
By the time Morrison was 13, he was acting in television commercials and performing on stage with his dad. After playing in a handful of rock bands around Sydney, Morrison eventually reconnected with one of his first loves, Country music. He knew he had found his true calling as an artist.
2010 saw Morrison make the finals in Australia’s most prestigious talent competition, the Toyota Star Maker, while 2011 produced an Australian Songwriters Award for Hot Kinda Love in the Country Song of the Year category. That same year, Morrison relocated to Nashville, where he began working with producer Mark Moffatt on his U.S. debut.
The pair worked diligently to select only the best songs and session players for the project, ensuring the album met their collective standards for quality material. With a creative sound that embodies the spirit of Craig’s high-energy performances, the resulting record not only thrilled Australian audiences, but made an impression on Nashville’s industry crowd as well.
“We had to work out which songs I related to best, which ones demonstrated the positive lyrics and strong hooks we were after, and at the same time, which ones felt good to sing,” Craig explains. “It took six months to cull back the list to our final selection, which is eight tracks penned by some amazing outside writers and three tracks written by myself.”
Two of those three self-penned cuts are actually a collaborative effort between Craig and his wife, Nichole.
“Nichole and I love to write, and we have a great, creative synergy working together,” he says. “Nichole has a very descriptive vocabulary and brings new ideas to the table for melody that work really nicely when I’m creating music and lyrics. Not to mention it’s also the only way I ever get anything finished!” he laughs.
2012 has truly been the breakout year for the Aussie artist, however. Splitting time between his two homes in Nashville and Sydney, Morrison was recognized as Male Artist of the Year at Australia’s Central Coast Country Music Festival.
Back in Nashville, he celebrated the release of his self-titled U.S. album in May with a performance on the iconic Billy Block Show, and the following month made his debut at the world’s largest Country Music event when he performed at the CMA Music Festival. With singles charting in both Australia and the U.S. in 2012, Craig Morrison has certainly learned how to climb Fences as an artist.
Whatever the next obstacle is for the tireless and talented singer from Sydney, it’s a sure bet that he’ll be ready to meet the challenge.