Crooner Kylie Morgan is plotting a path to country stardom, and she’s only 15.
9 p.m. Friday
110 W. Main, Norman
Oklahoma native Kylie Morgan has plans for the future that measure up with most other country artists, like having a video on rotation on CMT or sharing the stage with Carrie Underwood, but she also has other goals that most have already reached, say, like getting a driver’s license.
“It blows my mind of how lucky I am,” Morgan said. “That I can do what I want to do at 15 ... who does that?” Although not old enough to legally drive, Morgan is still pursuing a career in country music with the same vigor — and success — of peers twice her age. She has released a couple of albums with another in the works, landed in the ranks of CMA’s “Who New to Watch” in 2010 and has opened for rising contemporaries like Steel Magnolia and Gloriana. She performs Friday at Coach’s Brewhouse in Norman with several appearances there in the months following.
Morgan got her start at 12 when her grandpa gifted her with her first guitar, although she’d graced the stage many times before then.
“I’ve always been a performer,” she said. “I started as a dancer then moved to gymnastics. I quit gymnastics and started doing musical theater, and I realized how much I loved singing and being onstage ... performing for people.”
She has found country music to be the most liberating, focusing her full efforts on this career for the past year and a half. For being so young, she doesn’t come across as some countrypop tart, instead opting for a glammed, but gritty demeanor.
“I’ve grown pretty fond of Miranda Lambert,” Morgan said. “I just like how real she is, how she doesn’t have to put on an act for anybody. She’s just how she is, and people just love her.”
Another artist made her realize that she didn’t have to wait to make things happen.
“Taylor Swift was the one that made me realize that if I want to do this at a young age, then I can do it,” she said.
And she has, with confidence and discipline well beyond her age. That has rippled through her music since the very start; her breakthrough song wasn’t about a boy or heartbreak, but instead a friend’s younger sibling suffering through cancer.
“I try to write what I’ve been through, because I know there are so many other people going through the same stuff and feeling the exact same feelings as me,” Morgan said. “What I’m trying to portray with my music is that you aren’t alone. People are going through this, not just you. I try to write songs so that people can sit down for three minutes realize they are going to be OK.”
The lyrical content has bled through to her presence. Morgan seems decades removed from childhood, moving like an old pro and making you believe it. When she speaks of performing at Oklahoma Opry at 13, it seems like she’s been at this for a very long time, not less than two years. She’s quite convincing, and it’s more than listeners who can be confused by her age.
“I’ve been to so many shows where people thought I was older. I met the head of the venue, and he thought my dad was my husband,” she said, laughing. “I was like, ‘I’m just 15, guys!’ I get so many surprised looks when people find out my real age.”
It’s taken just a few short years to get to where she is now, but quite a few hours. That’s come at the price of the regular high school experience. She balanced both country music and coursework at Newcastle High School last year before moving to online school due to the demand of recording and touring schedules. She’s only a little slightly bummed about what she’s missing out on, being much more excited of what’s to come.
“I had my freshman year of high school, and that’s all I really need. There are things bigger than high school to me. Yeah, I’ll miss out, but the things I get to do are just so much better than high school,” Morgan said. “I just want to go up, as far as I can. I’m not a settling girl. I’ve got to have it all or nothing.”