Rising teen country singer Morgan Frazier says one of her biggest musical inspirations is a relative she never met – her great-grandmother on her father’s side who was known for playing guitar and several other instruments.
“I never got to meet her, but everybody said that’s where I got my talent from,” Frazier said in a phone call.
“I have these song books and poems of hers that I’ve always want to do something with one day. She left no recordings. That’s the sad part.”
Frazier’s fans can catch the 19-year-old Curb Records artist at 10 p.m. Saturday at the Country Club Dance Hall & Saloon, 2834 Washington Road. Admission is $3 for women, $5 for men after 8:30 p.m. Call (706) 364-1862 or see augustacountry.com.
Frazier grew up in the small town of Breckenridge, Texas, west of Fort Worth, where she sang the first song she ever wrote, Gates of Heaven, to her first grade class. The response wasn’t exactly a standing ovation. Her classmates laughed at her and sent her home crying. She vowed never to sing publicly again.
“I didn’t have a lot of friends,” she said. “I wasn’t cool in school. Maybe they were jealous of me.”
That didn’t stop Frazier, however, from pursuing her love of music. Her family hired a band from Branson, Mo., to back the 9-year-old on her first CD.
She was so determined to get some 1,000 copies at her house distributed, that she got her father to drive her to downtown Breckenridge. She went store to store and said, “Hi, my name’s Morgan Frazier. I’m 9 years old. I’m from here, and I was wondering if you would like to buy my CD.”
Often people would say, “What do you sound like?” and she’d belt them Your Cheatin’ Heart or another country classic. People would fork over $10 for her CD just like that.
She sold 60 copies that first day and ended up selling more than 30,000 as she expanded her door-to-door marketing technique to other towns and states.
Her family believed in her talent so much that her dad, a welder, and mom, a paramedic, quit their jobs to take Frazier out on the road to sell her CD and promote her singing career.
Through several breaks, she attracted the attention of Doug Johnson, the vice president of artists & repertoire for Curb Records, and his wife, Lisa, leading to Frazier being signed to Curb as a writer and singer at 16.
John Northrup, the president of Northrup Entertainment and a hit songwriter, became her manager.
Three years ago, grounded by her Curb Records deal, Frazier moved to Nashville. But don’t think for a second she hit instant stardom. That rarely happens in Music City USA. Most everyone has to put in some hard years before the good ones come.
“I survived by singing at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge on Broadway for three years making tips,” she said of the tourist destination once frequented by Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson, Faron Young and other country legends.
“You can’t make good money like that anywhere else downtown,” she added, “I’ve gotten to meet people from all over the world.”
These days, Frazier has been opening shows for stars like Luke Bryan, Sara Evans and Dierks Bentley. She hopes to have another single out this fall under the production of Buddy Cannon, known for his work with Chely Wright, Reba McEntire, George Jones and Kenny Chesney.
And down the road, she just might get around to turning those poems of her great-grandmother in hit records.
ANNETTE HERNDON CONCERT: Southern gospel songwriter and singer Annette Herndon, who has ministries based in Bethlehem, Ga., will perform at 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19, at New Hope Baptist Church, 5350 Georgia Highway 220 East, in Lincolnton, Ga. She has composed 100 Southern gospel songs recorded by several groups.