Country star Maren Morris is having a busy week. Right on the heels of having her single “Girl” reach No. 1 on the country airplay charts, and of her side project the Highwomen making its concert and TV debuts, Morris has signed with Universal Music Publishing Group to administer her self-published catalog of songs.
“I have loved working with the staff at UMPG for a while, just through the past years of writing with their songwriters,” Morris said in a statement, “so to officially be in the UMPG family feels like coming home in a way. I am so looking forward to our partnership together and can’t wait for the songs to come.”
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“Maren displays fearlessness and energy in every lyric, every melody and every performance,” said Troy Tomlinson, UMPG Nashville’s chairman/CEO, who has kept up a busy pace since coming over to the company from Sony/ATV in mid-June. “UMPG is so happy to have the opportunity to represent a talent of her caliber and looks forward to delivering outstanding creative opportunities.” UMPG chairman/CEO Jody Gerson pointed out that “she has successfully crossed genres, moving seamlessly between beloved country music superstar and topping pop charts” (with “The Middle”). “We are thrilled to welcome her to UMPG’s creative global home.”
As Variety noted this week, the triumph of “Girl” at country radio marks the first time a woman has topped that Billboard chart in 17 months, and on the Mediabase airplay chart, places her alongside Kelsea Ballerini as the only other female artist to so ascend this year.
Putting out “Girl” as a single “was a risk,” Maren told Variety over the weekend between performances with the Highwomen at the Newport Folk Festival. “Every sophomore album from an artist is terrifying. It’s like the sophomore slump — are you gonna bomb and totally lose people? And putting ‘Girl’ out, it just summed up the whole record; I mean, that’s why I named it ‘Girl.’ But I didn’t think it was even gonna crack the top 10. … Weirdly enough, it’s my fastest single. Because ‘I Could Use a Love Song’ was my only other (solo) No. 1, and that took 42 weeks to get there. And ‘Girl’ was 28 weeks.”
Morris has been bold in committing to being part of a so-called supergroup, the Highwomen, with Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires and Natalie Hemby in the same calendar year she’s launched that all-impor6.tant sophomore album and tour. The Highwomen made their live debut at Newport last weekend and first TV appearance Tuesday on “The Tonight Show,” with an album due Sept. 6.