Morgxn Talks Debut Single “Love You With The Lights On”: Interview
With Zane Lowe’s stamp of approval and an avalanche of blog support, Nashville-born newcomer Morgxn has made quite an impression with debut single “Love You With The Lights On” — a soulful, electro-anthem with a deceptively important message. On the surface a slinky bedroom-banger, the viral track is actually concerned with much deeper issues like alienation and the inability to connect.
I recently spoke with the buzz artist about “Love You With The Lights On” and he explained how it’s the result of turning a negative emotional experience into an uplifting epiphany. Morgxn also disclosed an interesting tidbit about the upcoming video and revealed that he’s dabbling in multiple genres on his first project, which will be released via his own wxnderlost label. Get to know the singer/songwriter (and listen to the killer Monsieur Adi remix of his first track) below.
I read that “Love You With The Lights On” is actually about beauty standards and self love. Can you elaborate on that? I was at a Halloween party in LA last year and I’m wearing this rainbow toucan suit and even with my friends around me, I had the feeling I was alone. When I went home, the first thing that poured out of me was the thought, “you only love me with the lights off.” I felt sad and weighed down by that thought. I hit a place in my life romantically and spiritually where I didn’t feel like I was connecting. I kept working with that idea and when it shifted to “I want to love you with the lights on” — it became my anthem.
It was my hope to love with the lights on and ultimately it was my hope that one day I will be loved with the lights on. I just finished shooting a video that I think that will expand a little bit more on it but I find that we sit behind our fears, even if you’re aware of them or not. For me I was aware that I was afraid to connect. “Love You With The Lights On” has been a gift to me because it’s reminded me that I want to be seen and I want to see people. Naked is one way you could say it, but I’m talking about naked in a huge way.
You mentioned the video. What’s it about? I will tell you that it’s inspired by a Robert Mapplethorpe picture, but I don’t want to say much more because I want it to come out and I want it to be a statement.
Fair enough! Tell me about the Monsieur Adi remix. I had a group of friends over to my apartment the night the single was released and as a last minute surprise, I played them the remix and basically they lost their minds. It turned into a huge celebration.
Is the soulful electro sound of “Love You With The Lights On” reflective of your album? I’m calling the project and my label Wxnderlost because it’s kind of a reminder to myself that this all began from not knowing where I was going or how I was gonna get there. I think there’s a lot of talk about knowing where you’re going and being so sure but I felt very alone and sort of just really not knowing how A and B were gonna add up to Z. I decided to make my own direction out of the journey.
There’s variety. I’m a melting pot. I’m from Nashville, Tennessee and I grew up in a gospel and country world. When I was a kid I was singing in gospel choirs. I was like the small, chubby Jewish kid who had the biggest voice in the room. Nashville’s the kind of town where you learn from an early age that the song and the story is everything. When I moved out to LA a couple years ago, the sonic territory I was exploring was totally different. I experiment with a lot of sounds, but everything has a darker, electronic underbelly.
Do you have a background in music? My background is in theater. I was an actor and I got to explore emotions. I’ve been writing my whole life, just taking journal entries and making them into songs, but I reached the point where I felt like there was more that I wanted to explore. It was when I explored working with DJs and saw how powerful electronic music can be that I started combining my sense of songwriting with exploring the different textures and that’s really what lead me to this record.
I believe you featured on a Tiësto track. I featured on two of his records. In that world, they are always looking for new voices. Tiësto heard “Fighting For” and “Change Your World,” which were two songs on his last album. He heard my vocal and reached out and built the track around it. I remember watching Tiësto play in Miami at Ultra and seeing people really let go. That was empowering to me.
Who are your songwriting inspirations? Stevie Wonder is the person who changed my world, he took me from Nashville and transported me to a whole other universe and I became obsessed with him and Luther Vandross when I was in middle school. Those voices were unlike anything that I had heard.
Is there one song you wish you had written? “I Can’t Make You Love Me” — sung by Bonnie Raitt, but felt by me every day. Just that song, that idea. It’s very connected to the way that I hear melody and the way that I write is like pulling through the feelings of rejection and how do you pick yourself up when it seems like life just keeps kicking you down. And there’s something really empowering about “I can’t make you love me if you don’t” because you realize, in that moment, that you have to move on. I’m lucky that I grew up in Nashville where I was surrounded by those kind of melodies and those kind of words because now it’s a part of who I am.