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No matter what Hollywood would lead us to believe, the road to stardom is not an easy road. The talented simply don't wake up one morning with a record deal and award nominations. It requires hard work, time, financial investment, and Fountain Inn's Morgan Riley has been following this path since she was very young.
She was born in Maryland, but when her sister attended Furman University, Morgan's family migrated down to the Upstate and Morgan and her husband settled in Fountain Inn. By this time, she had already worked with a pop/r&b producer in New York and recorded several songs. Once she was here, she recorded with Sit-N-Spin Recording Studios and submitted some of her songs to a contest, which won her a record and production deal with Sony.
It doesn't end there. Morgan sought out Frank Green of Skytone Entertainment. If that name sounds familiar, it's because Mr. Green is very well known in the music industry, and has worked with stars such as Kenny Rogers, Garth Brooks, Martina McBride, Faith Hill, just to name a few. Mr. Green was very impressed with not only her voice, but also with her work ethic and willingness to invest in herself, and signed Morgan to Skytone. "It was like a Christmas present because I signed on December 26th, 2013, and started the album in early 2014."
With an unbiased passion for music – regardless of genre – it’s clear that Skytone Entertainment artist Morgan Riley offers something new to country listeners. album Collage is just that… A melting pot of genres with an ever-so-slight country dominance. While the road to this release hasn’t always been smooth, Riley has handled each curve with hope and exuberance – all the while finding her sound and writing to connect with her fans. “I’m a firm believer in everything happening for a reason – everything that’s happened throughout my life has led to my relationship with Skytone and the release of this album. I couldn’t be happier.”
A Maryland native, Riley knew she was destined to be a singer from the start.
A dream inherited by her grandmother, who also sang. At five, Riley began performing at weddings and anniversary parties and by 15, she was recording at a local studio. Confident in years of practice and experience gained in live and studio performance, she made the move to New York City at 18.
In New York City, Riley found herself regularly performing with a pop-R&B group and recording at the city’s legendary Hit Factory Studio. In a struggle to find her true sound, she moved back south to Greenville, South Carolina and began to perfect her country edge. “I’m generally undeterred by any type of hardship or roadblock. My mom and dad have been a huge inspiration when it comes to this. They won’t let me give up…” Auditioning for the Pride of Carolinas, she beat out 4,300 people and received single placement on the competition’s compilation album by Koch New York, featuring the best artists in North and South Carolina. Shortly after, she began working with producer Chris Clay (TLC) on her album Affinity. “Chris has always been such an incredible supporter of me and what I do and, of course, is an incredible talent. I so enjoyed working with him on Affinity. The album really represented where I was at the time… Still, I felt I had a bit more country in me that needed to come out.”
Affinity landed in the lap of veteran producer and engineer Frank Green, whose track record includes multiple #1’s and just as many gold and platinum albums. Riley met with Green, performed a few of her originals and was quickly signed to his label, Skytone Entertainment. “My whole life I’ve dreamed of being signed to a label by someone that believes in me and all I do. I’ve certainly found that in Skytone and Frank.” The deal was made sweeter yet when Riley and Green began writing together for Collage material – a writing relationship whose chemistry she describes as “off the chart”. Drawing inspiration from her top musical influences – everyone from Carrie Underwood to Alanis Morrisette, Evanescence to Jewel – has given her unparalleled flexibility when it comes to writing. “I find I can write any kind of genre. I’ve also taken bits and pieces from different genres and pulled them into my writing. Collage is very much a product of that.”
Morgan is currently in the studio recording her brand new EP fixed to release soon. Collage was a success with Riley being nominated for female country artist and breakthrough artist of the year in New Music Weekly national magazine and a few of her radio singles being number one in the country for country music on SoundCloud with over a million views. "I can't wait to see what's next! It's been such an awesome musical journey and I am so blessed to have amazing parents, a supportive family and awesome friends and fans. "SkyTone is a successful label who have always been supportive and help me find my country side. I love singing and I am so thankful God has given me this talent and I love sharing my music with you all!" Thanks for listening and supporting the music! Love you all!
MORGAN WISHES TO
THANK THE FOLLOWING:
"I SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY NOW - HAVING THE LORD IN MY LIFE. HE'S BEEN A HUGE INSPIRATION IN MUSIC. SO I HAVE TO THANK HIM FIRST."
MORGAN'S PARENTS - For believing in her and giving her the funding to begin her career in the very beginning.
DANIEL RALPH - Morgan's husband
Producer, Frank Green of Skytone Entertainment; Booking agent Joyce Crist; Publicist, Dawn Dejongh; Photographer, Tricia Deboer; Mark Switzer, Sound Engineer; Steve Kirby, Keyboard; Paul Huggins, Lead Guitar; Thom Edmonds, Drummer
UPSTATE EXPOSURES MAGAZINE - For their continued support of music in the Upstate
"MORGAN LOVES HER FANS, SO THANK YOU GUYS. WITHOUT YOU GUYS I WOULDN'T BE DOING WHAT I'M DOING."
CHECK OUT MORGAN'S LATEST MUSIC VIDEO!"
Heather Kitchen, Editor-In-Chief
Heather is the editor-in-chief of Upstate Exposures Magazine. She is also the owner of Heather Kitchen Images professional photography based in Inman, South Carolina.