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Bye-bye Burbank, hello DTLA. (12/13a)
2019 TOP 50 SONGS
What comes after X? (12/12a)
A wider view of the issues (12/13a)
A very intriguing dude (12/12a)
Mason Jr. discusses his senior role at the Academy. (12/12a)
Ours is mostly bourbon.
Delicious in salads.
Ours are roasting, but it could be these slim-fit jeans.
An entire Christmas tree made of it. Is what we want. for Christmas.


After making a splash on The Voice, Big Loud’s Morgan Wallen won a brace of country fans with “The Way I Talk” and the chart-topping “Up Down,” and then kicked the door down with the irresistible Country #1 smash “Whiskey Glasses.” Most recently, this pastor’s son from Sneedville, Tenn., collaborated with Diplo on “Heartless,” a buzzing track created for the DJ/producer’s country-EDM project, Diplo Presents Thomas Wesley. We imagine he needed more than his usual share of whiskey to contend with our glassy-eyed questions.

What do the Grammys signify for you? Were you a regular viewer when you were coming up?
I’m learning so many things this year about the Grammys I didn’t know before. My favorite part is all of the generous programs they created for artists, songwriters, musicians, students and more. I visited with the Nashville chapter recently, and it provided a lot of insight. Also, I think it’s a high honor to be voted by your peers—and that is what the Grammys are all about. I’ve always maintained the position that we are all blessed and highly favored to do what we do, so if my peers feel I deserve any accolades, that’s up to them.

Tell us a little about the creation of “Whiskey Glasses.” What has the success of that song been like for you?
There isn’t a huge dramatic story per se attached to making this song. I was sent the demo to “Whiskey Glasses” by my manager. The demo hit me in two big ways. One, the song is incredible and clever, and I felt like I had lived that story. The second was discovering Ben Burgess, an incredible songwriter in Nashville. His voice is so cool, and he has such a unique delivery. Ben and I have now become very close friends.

The success of the song is more than I could have ever imagined. The song has actually been out for some time now, while the label worked “The Way I Talk” and “Up Down” at radio. It was the fans who kept this song alive; they’d constantly message my team, so we finally decided to put it out to radio. I’m glad we listened to them, because it’s become the biggest song of my career by far. I look forward to getting to the song every night in our set—it just takes the crowd to another level.

What was it like working with Diplo? How did it come about? Was this a different kind of creative process for you?
The story behind Diplo is kind of cool. Through my team, I heard Diplo was looking to collaborate with country artists for his Thomas Wesley project. We knew it was a long shot, because Diplo is such a big global artist, so he could work with anyone. I heard the demo to “Heartless” and asked if I could put my vocal on it immediately. After we did, we texted it to Diplo’s manager—and to our surprise, they responded immediately. I guess they wanted to know more about me and what we were building. Diplo’s frequent producer/collaborator, King Henry, came to my Los Angeles show and must have been impressed or something, because shortly after that we received a call that Diplo wanted to work together officially.

The process was a little different, but not all that much in the grand scheme. I sang my vocal a little earlier in the process than I usually might, but that’s also what made this cool. They kind of built the track around what I had already done and made it super emotional. I’m really proud of it.

Is there a particular recent experience—on the road, in the studio, whatever—that made you realize you’d hit a new level in your career?
It would definitely be hard to pick just one, because they are all brand new experiences. Lately, when I play “Whiskey Glasses” at my headline shows, the crowd cheers nonstop afterward. Sometimes the applause has gone on for three or four minutes, which feels like an eternity in the moment. I’ve had more than a few occasions where it’s hard to process what’s happened and the way that makes me feel. We’ve worked so hard to get on the fans’ radar, and now it seems like a tidal wave. I’m taking it all in stride and just remaining thankful for this cool time in my life. I’m as motivated as ever though to keep building on this.

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