I’m doing great,” country music superstar Craig Morgan said. “If I were doing any better, I’d have to sit on my hands.”
This year 4th Fest will host its first headline music event before the traditional Fourth of July fireworks display, with the singer-songwriter playing Independence stage.
Morgan’s music career began around the turn of the millennium, and his subsequent success has led him to the heights of country music.
“I got in the business to be a songwriter, I enjoy writing songs,” Morgan said. “About 15 years ago I was offered a publishing deal writing songs, so I took it and left the Army. I came home to write songs and, in the process of doing my own demos, I was offered a record deal.”
In addition to serving in the military, Morgan spent time as an EMT. Having broken into the music business at 30, Morgan’s service background helped shape the man he is today and indirectly influenced his artistic side.
“I don’t know that it changed my music exactly, but I think it dictated a large part of who I am, which in turn does influence the music that I sing,” Morgan said. “Just like anything anybody does for a living, things that happen in their life, it influences their personality and their particular moral values and traits. Being in the military I think most definitely affected all of that. I tend to gravitate toward music that celebrates our lifestyle.”
Beyond the entertaining singer-songwriter side shown to the public is a humble and gracious man not quite ready to believe the hype on his own career.
“I’m still not really sure (if I’ve made it),” Morgan said. “Sixteen top 10s, I’m a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and I still feel blessed every day and know that it could go away at any moment.”
Not one to let fame go to his head, Morgan is ever aware of the tenuous nature of the music industry, and he feels grateful for all of his success.
“I really appreciate the fans, and of course the money,” he said, laughing. “I mean, I’m not Garth Brooks or nothing, but we’ve made a living and we’re being blessed. Doing what I do, I’ve had the great fortune of meeting a lot of people that maybe in normal occupations you don’t meet as many new people as we do touring around the world. Meeting all those different people, characters and cultures has given me a great deal of appreciation and gratitude.”
He said he’s lucky to be celebrating this year’s Independence Day on his home soil. Morgan, a native son of Tennessee, recalls spending the Fourth overseas.
“One year we were in Iraq or Afghanistan, I don’t exactly remember, but it seems like it was Iraq, on the Fourth of July,” Morgan said. “It was cool to be over there celebrating with those men and women that are serving pretty hardcore every day.”
Morgan’s storied tale continues ever onward with a seemingly nonstop string of new material across multiple mediums.
“New single coming out in August, album to be released later in the year or maybe early next year,” he said. “I’ve been working on that for quite some time, so we’re touring like crazy, season six of the TV show ‘All Access Outdoors’ that we’ve won a bunch of awards for; I keep busy!”
Passion and dreams are key to making it in the music business, Morgan said. But, he thinks the best approach is still grounded in stark reality.
“Make sure it’s something that you’re really supposed to be doing,” sad Morgan. “A lot of people like it, and it is really fun, but it is a particular skill set. I used to say, ‘Just cuz my momma liked it, doesn’t mean it was good,’ ” he said with a laugh. “There’s lots of great organizations that can help you with that and tell you whether or not you should be pursuing it, because it’s not for everybody. It’s not always easy, and you better be ready for a bunch of rejection and still be able to plow forward. But, chase your dreams. That’s what’s great about this country.”
The show will highlight the American spirit for the Fourth of July, and the top-ranked fireworks display will follow.
“It’s a lot more fun than bowling,” Morgan said.