artists Blake Morgan

Blake Morgan's Diamonds in the Dark. An Album. An Experience.

Thursday, September 12, 2013 Kenny Muzzey

“You have to let some things go, in order to be able to grasp new and better things,” says Blake Morgan as he describes Diamonds in the Dark, his most recent album, which went live this Summer.  Morgan explains that this is a “record of firsts” as all the tracks were inspired by a particular period where his life “changed in terms;"  of an “important, but difficult time, which opened up the rest of my life.” Morgan quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson, “When half-gods go, the gods arrive,relating this to the aforementioned time frame of which the album was based. “You have to let go of the half way things you have in your life if you are going to get the full lessons.” He goes on to mention that the album is “a record of tremendous hope” and had been more “honest and authentic” on this album than he had been on his previous records. In addition to that, a unique aspect of this album is that the tracks are ordered almost identically to the order in which they were written.

The title of the album, Diamonds in the Dark, is symbolic. Morgan describes that the songs are the diamonds that he had picked out of this difficult period; the darkness. He had noted that the album was receiving a “very connected reaction” from audiences and listeners. The title of the record brings to mind the quote “The stars shine the brightest when the night is the darkest.” Which is something everyone, no matter who you are, can relate too. We all go through difficult times; we all have those stars, gems, diamonds that we gather from the darkness. And we take something away from them and express them in a different manner of speaking, whether it is a song, a photograph, a poem, a movie, or a lesson learned. Morgan was once cited for saying “Music is so relevant and so important to what it means to be human. It reminds us what we’re fighting for.” And this album, Diamonds in the Dark, is a very distinct representation of that.

When asked what musicians he looks up to and models his music after, Morgan mentioned “You are what you eat” and goes on to say he has “eaten a lot of The Beatles,” which accounts for the majority of his influences and even why he wanted to become a musician in the first place. Morgan attended a show to see Jesca Hoop and while at the show he was taken by the headlining band, Punch Brothers. Impressed with the work of Chris Thile, mandolinist and singer of Punch Brothers, he stated that Thile was a "new star" for him. 

It's definitely no secret that Morgan has largely been an activist for appropriate compensation for artists. Currently, Pandora is seeking to cut royalties paid to artists by about 85%.  It's difficult to gauge exactly how artists are compensated by Pandora, but as an example....  For every 20,000 song plays, an artist could be paid about a dollar.  The artists are "not compensated a lot" for the use of their work as it stands already.  Morgan believes it is hypocritical for a company, Pandora, to preach to investors on Wall Street that they are doing extremely well, becoming massively successful, and have a bright future while simultaneously telling Congress the company is suffering, dying and cannot expect to be successful unless the royalties paid to the artists are reduced.  Other artists have recently stepped up and are making their voices heard as well, such as Pink Floyd, David Lowery, Aimee Mann, Thom Yorke, Nigel Godrich, and the list goes on. 



strongly states that artists need to speak up.  Making music "is not a game, it is not a hobby, this is a profession." He notes that something profound is happening and both musicians and music lovers are standing together and saying that what this company is doing to musicians is unfair.  Morgan also states that he likes Pandora
 and has nothing against them, however he strongly disagrees with their behavior.  Are they the struggling, "victimized," and unsuccessful underling that they tell Congress they are?  Or are they the booming, rapidly expanding, success story they sell to investors?  

What can help companies like Pandora, Spotify, and artists alike is putting an end to ad sponsored piracy; the BitTorrent sites, where individuals are allowed to download music at no cost to them, the consumer. He asks, “What is in it for these sites, how do they make their money from allowing people to steal music?” He then goes on to explain that “It is the ads you see on the side.” The offensive thing to artists is not the fact that people may share their music, but the fact that big corporations and other companies make profit off people stealing music. He followed up by commenting that if ad sponsored piracy is eliminated, funds would flow back into businesses like Pandora, and back into the pockets of the artists who created the music in the first place.  Finally, Morgan said that there is a big difference between “sharing music, versus stealing music.”

Morgan has a bright future, stating that Diamonds in the Dark was a turning point for him artistically and he is “very excited and optimistic” about the changes. He is already energized and excited for his next record, although, not entirely sure what the record will be. Diamonds in the Dark is what Morgan hopes will be the bringer of many future records for him. He discussed that after he went through that tough time in his life; crossing through that darkness, which some people spend their whole lives trying not to avoid and ignore, his reward was a sort of new found perspective and his highly optimistic feelings towards his future work. 

As an artist, producer, and owner of a record label, ECR Music Group, Morgan has gained a very unique insight into the world of music. He has the perspective of an artist, a singer, songwriter, and musician, so he can relate too many of the musicians he works with; guiding them, offering advice, while simultaneously producing the record and managing the label. 

 “Artists influence the label as the label influences the artists” states Morgan

So check out Blake Morgan’s latest album, Diamonds in the Dark.  The album is highly symbolic, with a strong source of positivity. As something we, as human beings, can relate to, the overall message of the album is relatable. “You have to let go of the half way things you have in your life if you are going to get the full lessons.” Morgan’s mellifluous vocal styling accompanies a rich and resonant symphony that simmers you into a state of relaxation.

Blake Morgan's latest album can be purchased Amazon, Itunes, and anywhere else music is sold.

~Kenny Muzzey~

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