21-year-old Morgan Keller is breaking into the music scene with her debut single. Her vibrant and positive attitude reflect her as an artist in her sound and lyrics. Keller’s single “Who’s There?” is an infectious body-positive anthem that will make you add it to your new favorites playlist.
Have you always had a love for music?
Yes, I began singing from the second I could talk. My mom told me that when I was 2 years old I used to take out my pacifier so that I could sing the songs playing on the car radio. Music has always been an important part in my life—I grew up taking dance classes, performing musical theatre, and singing whenever I could.
When did you realize music was something you wanted to become really serious about and want as a career?
I know it sounds super cheesy, but as a young child it was my dream to be a professional performing artist. However, I really became serious about actively pursuing a career when I came to college and starting honing my craft as a songwriter and performing my original music in clubs around the city.
How was the process of writing your debut single “Who’s There?”
I began writing the song last January when I was back home for winter break in New Jersey. I had no idea where the song was going to go. A lot of times I write melodies before lyrics, and so while I’m crafting the melodies, I normally use placeholder words (basically I sing random words to fill the space) and “who’s there?” sort of came out. I originally intended on changing that later, but I realized that I kind of liked the idea of that line. During this time, I was struggling a lot with body image issues and self-love. For a while I had wanted to write about these issues that I had been struggling with for years but I didn’t know where or how to begin. I realized that “who’s there?” was a perfect way to dig into the story. I came up with the concept of having the hook be my reflection talking back to me in the mirror. The rest of the story sort of poured out from there.
How did the concept of “Who’s There?” come about? Did you know you wanted your first single released to be a body positivity concept?
As I mentioned previously, the concept came from a place of internal and external turmoil with myself. At the time I was struggling pretty intensely with my self-image and body-image and I wanted to make a serious change to improve my mental and overall health. This song marked a turning point for me in that I realized I needed to take my mental health into my own hands—and I wanted to honor that journey and share it with others that have ever struggled with these same issues. I knew I wanted this song to be my debut single because of how important the message was and how much it represented me as an artist.
Was it scary being so vulnerable in your lyrics and sharing your experience with body-image?
Absolutely. I was terrified to show it to anyone in fear that it would open up a conversation, which is ironic because that is the exact reason I love the song so much now. I want this song to open up the dialogue between people—especially young women—and show them that they are not alone in struggling with loving themselves and their bodies. In my experience growing up, these topics were sort of taboo and stigmatized. This lead me to believe that I was alone in feeling the way I did. However, it’s interesting because I recently began opening up conversations with close friends who I’ve known since childhood and it’s insane how similar our experiences were, in terms of the relationship we had with our bodies. I remember saying “Why have we not talked about this before? I had no idea you felt the same way I did!” and I want this song to spark those same conversations between young women out there.
The song definitely gives off Julia Micheals, Bridget Mendler and Colbie Calliet vibes, but who’s your musical inspiration?
As a songwriter and performer, I definitely take huge inspiration from Julia Michaels! I’m also super inspired by artists such as Paramore, Adele, Young The Giant, Halsey, and Radiohead.
Any upcoming singles? What’s next for you?
Right now, I’m working on recording a few songs for an upcoming EP. Hopefully, these will be released within the next year. In terms of what’s next for me, I’m moving to Los Angeles for the spring semester where I will continue songwriting and performing. I’m super excited to join the music scene in a new city and meet/collaborate with other writers and artists.
What do you hope people gain from listening to your single and your future music?
My current goal as an artist is to create music that people can dance to and that people can relate to. So, if people can listen to my music and know that they aren’t alone in feeling the way that they do and also be lifted out of a dark headspace even for a few minutes, my work is doing its job.
Any advice to those struggling with their body-image or self-love?
I think a really helpful piece of advice would be to not be so hard on yourself. I know it’s a lot easier said than done, but we can all be so unnecessarily tough on ourselves (as an admitted perfectionist, I know) and we don’t realize how big of an impact that can have on our mental health. Something that helped me was making little changes in just the way that I would talk or think about myself. For example, just catching negative self-talk or thoughts and saying “no, instead of pointing out a flaw, point out something positive about yourself”. At first it seems stupid, but after practicing this for a while, your entire mindset begins to change—or at least it did for me. For example, I used to be extremely self-conscious when I would go out with friends because I was constantly thinking about what others would think about the way I looked or acted or dressed—I couldn’t even enjoy myself because I was so in my own head. Now, when I go out I’m not even worried about any of that anymore—I can just be in the moment and enjoy the night (what a concept!). That being said, self-love is a journey and tough battle and there will be rough days for sure. I don’t think I’ll ever be “cured” but I’m definitely at a 1000% healthier place mentally than I was a year ago. So celebrate the little victories because they are important and be proud of your progress wherever you are in your journey!