Michelle Morrison Places Experience Over Performance

Category: music 294

“I don’t think performing is about being able to play your songs perfectly. It’s about sharing an experience through music, connecting through those emotions and the stories.”

Matt Carter 
Michelle Morrison at Folly Fest. Photo respectfully borrowed from facebook.com/MichelleMorrisonMusic. No credit available.

Michelle Morrison | FACEBOOK

Music has been Michelle Morrison’s constant companion since she was just a kid. Growing up in a house with “an old out of tune piano”, she taught herself to read notes when she was still in elementary school before eventually getting her hands on a guitar. 

I think I’ve always kinda been meant to play music. When I was around 11 or 12 I got a guitar. I wanted to be like Jimi Hendrix. That definitely didn’t happen and I didn’t start [seriously] playing music until I was about in the ninth grade. That’s when my teachers really started pushing me and saying I needed to sing more,” said Morrison.

“I performed John Prine songs in the school talent shows and I remember getting so nervous I’d literally black out and not even remember the shows. In university I started playing in a psychedelic folk band called Sawmill Creek. We were writing our own songs and doing gigs that we got paid for. That’s kind of when I was like, ‘okay, now I don’t just play music, I can actually call myself a musician, for real.’”  

After gaining some onstage confidence, Morrison and her guitar began traveling the world. When she was 20 she moved to Germany and busked on the street, earning enough money to travel Europe for three months. 

“Every time I travel, I manage to lock down random shows,” she said. “I’ve played shows in Germany, Iceland, Poland, Czech Republic, Australia, Sri Lanka and of course here in Canada. I had my first tour planned for southern Ontario in the spring, but COVID kinda screwed that up.”

Morrison likes to describe her live shows as more of an experience than a performance. She’s never been focused on perfection in her music. For her, playing music is a chance to connect with an audience on a level that’s different from a typical conversation, a quality she attributes to growing up on the East Coast.

Music isn’t about perfection. Growing up in the Maritimes, jamming with your friends, playing around a bonfire is a huge part of our community and I want to help preserve that part of our culture.”

“My shows are generally me, my guitar and my banjo,” she said. “I don’t like to take myself too seriously. It’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. In the music industry now, it’s all about perfection, flawless performance and tone. Live music has kind of become more about the performance than the music itself. That’s where I differ. I don’t think performing is about being able to play your songs perfectly. It’s about sharing an experience through music, connecting through those emotions and the stories. 

“I idolize the folk musicians of the 40’s, 50’s and the 60’s, those people who just hitchhiked around with their guitar and wrote simple songs to share their ideas. Back then, it didn’t matter what you looked like and it wasn’t overly complicated. It was about sound and feeling, and to me that is the essence of music. When people come to my shows, they’re invited to feel things. It means the most to me when someone can hear one of my songs and be like, ‘Yo, that moved me. I can relate to that.’ Music isn’t about perfection. Growing up in the Maritimes, jamming with your friends, playing around a bonfire is a huge part of our community and I want to help preserve that part of our culture.”

Morrison is currently plotting out her debut recording, which she plans to have completed in the new year.  She has already booked studio time with Dylan Ward’s Shiftwork Studios. 

“We are going to start recording early December,” she said. “It will be a bit of a process though. I’m a student doing my teaching degree at the moment and I also work as a personal support worker. But I can say I am absolutely so, so stoked! And I’m also happy to be working with someone who is a local, incredibly talented musician. I love the east coast music community and love that it’s all about musicians building up musicians and collaborating. I’m hoping to have the full album done by mid 2021. But planning to have a couple singles released by the end of January.” 

Morrison will join Cape Breton’s Villages for a performance on November 13 at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre in Fredericton. 

Upcoming Performances: 

November 13 | Charlotte Street Arts Centre | Fredericton, NB
December 5 | The Oak Tree | Perth-Andover, NB

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