By Brian Ives
It was the song that wouldn’t quit: after 58 weeks at radio, William Michael Morgan hit #1 on the country radio charts, with “I Met a Girl.” It was such a gradual run that it actually set a record for the longest road to the top spot.
“Fifty-eight weeks! We broke the record!” Morgan says. “I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but we’re braggin’ about it! It was an uphill climb, but thank the Good Lord for His guidance. It makes you feel good.”
One reason it may have taken so long is because it sounds like it’s from another era. “I just grew up on more traditional sounds, like Merle Haggard and Keith Whitley and George Jones,” he tells Radio.com. “And I try to tip my hat to them in my music.”
His sense of style also stands out among his peers: “We’re doing something completely different,” he says. “As far as our branding, we’re wearing a black cowboy hat, we’re wearing starched jeans and boots and belt buckles and button up shirts, that’s unheard of today.”
But of course, the main reason why “I Met a Girl” is successful is simple: it’s a great song, and Morgan delivers it well. “It was written by Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally and [Old Dominion’s] Trevor Rosen,” he notes, giving credit to the composers. “And I fell in love with it immediately, I know that sounds cliche. But it’s true. ‘She crossed the street, she crossed my heart, she fixed her dress, she bit her lip, she let me up, I met a girl with crazy shoes and baby blues.’ They just painted a great picture. And it’s just been a crazy ride with this song. I feel so blessed to finally have it go to number one.”
Some may find it a bit surprising that Sam Hunt, one of modern country’s biggest stars, co-wrote the very traditional sounding song, he replies, “Well, you know, it’s all country music. You can call it this or that, but it’s all country music at the end of the day. Everybody doesn’t have to do the same thing. It’s all country, man.”
Although he’s quick to note that he isn’t super interested in using modern studio techniques. Although some have suggested that he experiment with drum loops. “A lot of people tried to do that. Man, I’m not about that, it doesn’t fit me. I’m not knockin’ it, but it’s not me, man.”
He also doesn’t like the idea of playing to pre-recorded tracks onstage, which is something that routinely occurs in all genres of music these days: “I don’t like it, man. That’s just me personally; I like to have real, authentic music. There’s some people who have a fiddle on the tracks, and no fiddle player on stage. That’s a little cheesy, I think. But who cares about my opinion, I’m just a country singer.”
He seems like something of an old soul in today’s younger leaning country market. “I’ve always associated myself with older people, from the time I was 11, 12, 13 years old. My brother and sister are 11 and 12 years older than me, my girlfriend is 11 years older than me. I just always have hung out with older people. I don’t think your age is determined by how many years you’ve been on this earth; it’s a matter of how you carry yourself.”
“I Met a Girl” is from his just-released debut album, Vinyl. Check out his tour dates on Eventful.