The 254

Morgan Lee Powers

By Kevin Tankersley

The Joy of Writing Songs

Morgan Lee Powers wrote her first song when she was a sophomore at Midway High School. She had gone through her first breakup, and the song that came out of that was called “I’m In Love With You.”

“And it’s really not very good at all,” she said. “I did release it at one point. It’s not out anymore because it was so embarrassing to me. It was like a reverse love song. Like a breakup song of course, but it was bad.”

Actually, Powers didn’t want to write songs at all. She would have been happy just to play covers of Taylor Swift’s music “until the day I die,” she said, but her guitar teacher, Josh Barnard, kept pushing Powers to write some original material.

“He said, ‘You should write, you should write, you should write,’” she said. “And I was like, ‘no, no, no.’ And then one day I was like, ‘Maybe I should write.’”

Barnard has evolved from guitar teacher to mentor, so he listens to Powers’ songs and offers feedback.

“He’s not going to sugarcoat it, and I’m very thankful for him,” she said.

Powers graduated from Midway in 2020 and will graduate this month with her bachelor of science degree in songwriting from Belmont University in Nashville, just two months after she turned 21. Since she graduated a year early, she reached an agreement with her parents — Donna and Jay Powers — that she’ll pursue music fulltime for the next year.

“I would like this year to be successful so I could keep doing that ideally,” she said, “and tour or pursue a songwriting co-publishing deal. My plan is to get a publishing deal and just write songs for a publishing company, because that’s where my joy is, in the writing of songs.”

Powers lives in Nashville, and enjoys being around other people who are pursuing music careers. “It’s very cool and encouraging,” she said.

Powers’ music is available through her website — — and on music streaming services. She has an album coming out later this month, and it will be available in both digital and physical versions. She said the album will definitely be available on CD and possibly on vinyl, if only because she would like a copy for herself.

Powers said her music and writing are influenced by the folk and Americana singer-songwriter Lori McKenna; Kacey Musgraves; and the country-Americana band Flatland Cavalry.

“They’re getting more and more popular, but I would like to say that I’ve been a fan of theirs since the very beginning,” Powers said. “I want to gatekeep them like, ‘They’re mine. I had dibs on them first,’ but I really love their style, very fiddle-based, just feels like home.”

“How Naîve”

Morgan Lee Powers’ new album, coming out this month, will be called “How Naive.”

“It’s about growing up, and all the stories of my friends and myself,” she said. “The title track is about getting married too early, which hasn’t happened to me but some friends have, and then there’s a song called ‘Simple Things’ that I really like. It’s about appreciating the little things in life.

“And then there’s another one that is called ‘Pearl Snaps,’ I wrote about myself. It’s all about falling in love with somebody who’s too old for you. So [the album] is about love and family. It’s got a lot about family. And growing up.”