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Megan Moroney writes the kind of unforgettably cathartic songs that feel like a heart-to-heart with your most wildly honest friend: she’s tough but sensitive, fun-loving and fiercely witty, and completely unafraid to say what’s on her mind. Immediately proving her effortless star power, the Georgia-bred singer/songwriter/guitarist first burst onto the scene in September 2022 with her breakout single “Tennessee Orange”—a truly one-of-a-kind love song whose meteoric success includes cracking the Top 20 on Country radio and achieving a RIAA Platinum Certification as of April 2023, with Moroney landing on countless artist-to-watch lists and joining the CMT Next Women of Country Class of 2023. On her massively anticipated debut album Lucky, the Nashville-based artist doubles down on the lived-in intimacy and electrifying impact of her storytelling, ultimately sharing a powerfully detailed snapshot of her life at age 25.
Produced by Kristian Bush (the multi-award-winning artist/songwriter/producer and member of famed duo Sugarland), Lucky arrives on the heels of Moroney’s widely acclaimed debut EP Pistol Made of Roses—a 2022 release that prompted CMT to praise her as a “musical risktaker with powerhouse pipes.” Over the course of 13 hard-hitting yet exquisitely crafted tracks, Moroney speaks her truth about a whirlwind of emotional experiences: the pain of losing yourself in a toxic relationship, the frustration of dealing with mean girls and their petty antics, the no-regrets thrill of reconnecting with an ex on a rowdy night out (to name just a few). Anchored in the graceful and gritty vocal presence she first honed by singing covers with her dad and brother as a kid, Lucky brings all that fearless truth-telling to a timeless collision of country and folk and Southern rock—an undeniably fresh sound Moroney likens to “a vintage car that can fly.”
Although Lucky often finds Moroney opening up about the heartaches in her recent past, the album takes its title from a hellraising honky-tonk number that lets her more freewheeling side shine. With its blazing guitar riffs, saloon-style piano, and hip-shaking grooves, “Lucky” opens on a show-stopping line showcasing the full-force personality of Moroney’s songwriting: “Weatherman said there’s a 100% chance I’m goin’ out/And there’s a real good chance that I’m gonna burn the whole town down.” “I was listening to a lot of ’90s country at the time and wanted a two-stepping song,” she recalls. “I had an idea for a lyric that went ‘You’re lucky I’m drinking,’ which has to do with those nights when you’ve had a little too much to drink and might end up answering a text from someone you shouldn’t be talking to anymore. That’s something I know a lot of my girlfriends can definitely relate to, and I loved the idea of turning it into a feel-good party song.”
On songs like “Girl in the Mirror,” Lucky turns more introspective as Moroney reflects on the hard-won life lessons of past relationships. “I think ‘Girl in the Mirror’ is the most vulnerable I’ve ever been in a song,” she notes. “It’s about how sometimes when you’re in relationship, you want it to work so badly that you end up sacrificing your own happiness. On the day we recorded it, everyone in the studio was crying by the end.” Built on a beautifully stripped-back arrangement spotlighting the pure sorrow in Moroney’s voice, the result is a hushed yet hypnotic track that expresses the most complex emotions with a stunning simplicity (from the first verse: “He puts her down/She put him pedestal-high/The girl in the mirror/She’s lost her damn mind”).
Revealing the radiant imagination of her songwriting, Lucky also includes such standouts as “Why Johnny”—a lullaby-like song lit up in lush pedal-steel tones and elegant fingerpicking from Moroney, whose voice takes on an aching tenderness as she turns to June Carter Cash for love advice. “That song’s a letter to June, asking her how she knew Johnny was going to get over all the problems he had at the beginning and eventually become someone who wrote her love letters every day,” says Moroney. “It’s my way of asking if I should be patient with the guy I’m dealing with, or if I should just move on. It’s one of my favorite songs on the record, partly because of how it came together—I was playing guitar for the whole eight or nine hours we were writing it, and at the end my fingers were bleeding.” Meanwhile, on “Traitor Joe,” Lucky merges country with pop-punk as Moroney sounds off on the two-timing girlfriend of the guy she’s got her eye on. “I get a lot of inspiration from the edgier female country artists like Miranda Lambert, so my brain usually goes right to those angry-at-men type of songs,” she says. “But with ‘Traitor Joe’ I thought it would be fun to flip that, and make it into a song about how he should dump her and be with me.”
Born in Savannah but raised in Douglasville, Moroney covered songs like Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart” with her father and brother as a teenager, then took up guitar at age 16. “I got my heart broken so my dad brought me to Guitar Center and got me the Taylor that I still play now,” she points out. After undergoing knee surgery her junior year of high school (a turn of events that derailed her dreams of becoming a college cheerleader), Moroney spent two months in a wheelchair and used that downtime to sharpen her guitar-playing chops. During her freshman year at the University of Georgia (where she studied accounting), she won the Miss Sorority Row pageant by performing a cover of Deana Carter’s “Strawberry Wine,” then took the stage at a campus event attended by country star Chase Rice. “Chase invited me to open for him at the Georgia Theatre but told me I needed to have an original song,” she says. “I’d never written before but I finished a song in time for the show, which ended up being sold out. Right away I fell in love with performing—it was so cool to feel a room full of people connecting with the words I was singing.”
Not long after that night, Moroney changed her major and joined UGA’s music-business program, eventually landing an internship with Kristian Bush. Just two months into lockdown, she graduated from UGA and moved to Nashville on her own in hopes of kickstarting her music career. “I wanted to connect with other songwriters, but because of Covid I ended writing by myself most of the time,” she says. “Kristian checked in with me after a couple months and asked how it was going and I told him, ‘Honestly—not great.’” At Bush’s urging, she headed to Atlanta to record a handful of demos that soon caught the ear of Juli Griffith of PunchBowl Entertainment, who later took her on as a management client. In early 2021, Moroney made her debut with “Wonder”—an irresistible first glimpse at the full-hearted candor of her songwriting—and racked up over two million views within 24 hours. “It was the first time I understood that writing about my real-life experiences could be therapeutic for other people, and it motivated me to keep going,” she says. After spending all of 2021 writing and refining her songs, Moroney delivered Pistol Made of Roses in July 2022 and soon returned with “Tennessee Orange”: an impossibly catchy slow-burner that puts a brilliant twist on the typical love song. “I’m a diehard Georgia fan, but one day I found myself in a boy’s Tennessee shirt and realized my mom would kill me if she saw me wearing it,” she explains. “I thought that was a clever idea for a love song—sort of like, ‘Look what I’m willing to do for you.’ I had no idea it would be the song that changed my whole life.” Along with surpassing a million streams in just five days, “Tennessee Orange” found Moroney fielding offers from nearly 20 record labels, then inking her deal with Sony Music Nashville/Columbia Records by the end of the year.
Since the arrival of “Tennessee Orange,” Moroney has achieved such milestones as making her debut at the Grand Ole Opry and selling out her first-ever headline run (the spring 2023 Pistol Made of Roses tour). Now gearing up for an opening slot on a summer tour with country legends Brooks & Dunn, she’ll hit the road for a nearly-sold-out tour in support of Lucky this fall—a coast-to-coast trek including stops at iconic venues like the New York City’s Bowery Ballroom and the Troubadour in Los Angeles. “The way the shows are selling out has been so surreal, especially when I think about how not too long ago I figured I’d grow up to be an accountant,” she says. “I wish I could tell my younger self to dream bigger, and I hope this record somehow inspires people to go after what they’re really passionate about. But mostly I hope my music helps people feel like they’re not alone in whatever they’re going through. All these songs came from me writing about my life; I don’t ever put on a persona or try be something I’m not. I’m just a 25-year-old girl from Georgia who happens to be very in touch with her feelings, and knows how to turn them into songs.”