The country singer, whose new album 'Psychopath' is out on Friday, opens up about six years of sobriety in this week's issue of PEOPLE
It’s been six years now, but country singer Morgan Wade still vividly remembers the moment she decided to quit drinking.
That day — 6/17/17, a date she now has tattooed on her arm — Wade, 28, was visiting New York City for the first time — and a night of heavy drinking ultimately inspired her to change her ways.
“I drank more than I’ve ever drank in my life,” she says of the fateful night in this week’s issue of PEOPLE. “I remember a hangover that lasted for a couple weeks. I was so depressed, I didn’t think I was going to make it out of that.”
But make it out she did. Wade quit drinking that day and hasn’t looked back, though she admits it hasn’t always been easy. The “Wilder Days” singer says she looked to Russell Brand’s book Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions for guidance, and became fixated on sparkling water as an alcohol alternative.
She even relayed the exact moment things changed in the lyrics of her 2022 song “Carry Me Home,” on which she sings, “Though it was with a slight hesitation/Put the last drink down on a table in Penn Station.”
“I’ve had tough moments even in the last few months where it’s been really hard,” she says of maintaining her sobriety. “It’s been so long that I have to remind myself the reasons why I’m sober. As time goes on you’re like, ‘Well, maybe I’m different now. Maybe I could drink and not be the same person.’ And then it’s like, ‘No, you’ve got to stay away.’”
Wade says she didn’t come from a family of drinkers, and only took up the habit at 19, when she went to college. There, she was studying to eventually become a cardiothoracic surgeon — but quickly found that she liked the effects of alcohol.
“I was like, ‘OK, I like how out of my shell I’m getting,’” she says. “[Soon drinking] was all I wanted to do.”
As she began to pursue music more seriously, her drinking worsened. Gigs at bars meant free bar tabs, and she’d often go drink for drink with her male bandmates. “I couldn’t stop,” she says. “I’m kind of like that with everything — it’s all or nothing for me with everything I do.”
Eventually, things turned around, and Wade says getting sober was a “big defining moment” of her life that’s helped improve both her relationships and her health.
“Everything’s changed for me,” she says. “Obviously I still make mistakes and screw up, but I’m like all right, at least I remember what I did, and I can not do it again.”
Though the ACM-nominated star says she feared sobriety might impede her ability to write a good song, she now feels her songwriting is “so much better” than it was.
Wade will showcase those talents on her upcoming album Psychopath, which is out on Friday. The record puts Wade’s gritty Americana sound on display on standout tracks like “Roman Candle” and “Outrun Me,” plus harder-rocking songs like “Meet Somebody” and “Alanis,” named after Morissette herself (with whom Wade performed at the 2023 CMT Awards in April).
“With this record, I put a lot of pressure on myself. It was harder to write just because it’s the second one, so a lot of eyes are on this. Was the first one just lucky? Did I just get lucky that it turned out great?” she says. “But the process was the same. I can’t just write to write. Everything that’s on there I wrote and I put heart into it. I try to be as authentic as possible.”
Psychopath also contains what might be Wade’s most personal song to date: closing track “27 Club,” in which she sings, in an almost surprised manner, of having successfully avoided the same fate that befell many musicians with substance abuse problems, including Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin and Amy Winehouse.
“I wrote that song in three different chunks in different times of my life. I wrote the first verse a long time ago, and then the second verse a good while ago as well,” she says. “Then the last verse, I turned 28 in December and wrote that in January. To me it was just kind of like, ‘Hey, look, you’ve made it. There’s been a lot of times in these past few years that you didn’t think you were going to continue to make it,’ especially with my mental health and my depression and everything. And so to be able to sit there and be like, ‘Alright, I’ve got another day, I’ve had another year….’ That felt [like] a good way to end the record.”
As she prepares for the new record to hit shelves, Wade says she hopes it’ll give listeners an escape.
“That’s what I love about music,” she says, “is getting lost in a song and being able to not worry about something for a minute.”
For more on Morgan Wade, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.
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Read the original article on People.