For Indie Pop Star Morgxn, Only A Life Without Labels Is Worth Singing About

Private moments of pain have always made for great pop music. In morgxn’s case, a startling brush with homophobia turned out to be an artistic catalyst.  

The incident took place, the Tennessee-born singer-songwriter said, at the 2017 Women’s March in New York when he was accosted by a passerby, who hurled a vicious anti-LGBTQ slur in his direction.

Though understandably rattled, morgxn (pronounced “Morgan”) immediately decided to channel the experience of being deemed a “faggot” ― something he said had never happened before in front of his mother, who had also been attending the march ― into a song.

“She’d never witnessed somebody just throw hatred in my face like that,” he told HuffPost. “At first I didn’t even hear it, because I’m used to it. But it made me think, ‘Why, as a society, do we feel like experiencing hate is the norm?’ We currently have a sitting president whose example is throwing hate at somebody and having no repercussion. So, of course, there are people who are going to look at that.” 

The result was “Carry the Weight,” an emotional cut on morgxn’s 2018 debut album, “Vital.” The song, he said, has become “the most videoed moment” in his live shows and “the most tattooed lyric” of his indie pop career.

“It’s created good conversation, so that’s really special,” he said. 

Pop singer-songwriter morgxn released his full-length debut album, "Vital," in 2018.

Tim Mosenfelder via Getty Images

Pop singer-songwriter morgxn released his full-length debut album, “Vital,” in 2018.

Deeply personal lyrics, a distinctive falsetto and a sensual stage presence have helped make morgxn, whose real name is Morgan Karr, a rising star on the indie pop circuit. The mainstream music industry seems to have caught on, too, by slowly taking notice of the singer-songwriter’s talents. His chosen path, however, has been anything but linear. 

In fact, he experienced his first burst of success via a different artistic medium: theater. He relocated from Nashville to New York in 2008 to join the ensemble of Broadway’s “Spring Awakening.” The hit musical helped launch the careers of Jonathan Groff, Lea Michele and other actors, but it turned out to be a much different type of turning point for morgxn. 

“It was a really tough experience, because I remember standing onstage and feeling empty,” he said. “I didn’t know what to do with that. I just wanted to find my own voice and my own way of existing.”

In an effort to “shake the universe,” morgxn relocated from New York to Los Angeles in 2011 and began writing.

“I don’t think I trust people who haven’t, at some point in their life, sold everything they’ve owned and moved somewhere,” he said, “because I think sometimes you have to give the universe a big gesture that you’re ready for something new. For me, that was that.” 

Though morgxn cites Prince and David Bowie as artistic influences, he’s “really not interested in labels” w

Mike Marsland via Getty Images

Though morgxn cites Prince and David Bowie as artistic influences, he’s “really not interested in labels” when it comes to his signature sound.

Within a few years, that “gesture” began to pay off. Following guest appearances on two songs by DJ Tiësto, morgxn released a debut single, “Love You With the Lights On,” in 2016. His full-length debut album, “Vital,” dropped in May 2018.

The anthemic choruses and handclap rhythms of “Vital” occasionally bring to mind Panic! at the Disco and The 1975. Although he cited Prince and David Bowie as musical influences, morgxn stressed that he would like his signature sound to be undefinable.

“I’m really not interested in labels,” he said.  

When it comes to his private life, he takes a similar approach, identifying publicly as queer and using the pronouns he, him and his.

“I’m categorized as a human,” he said. “That’s as specific as I want to get, because for the first time in my life, I’m living my life authentically in a way that feels good to me, and not to society or anyone else.” 

Though he has never shied away from expressing inclusive themes in his work, morgxn is hopeful he can help open doors so that music performed by openly LGBTQ artists will no longer be confined to queer spaces.

“If I saw someone like me in a rock venue ― not a traditionally queer space ― that would have been very impactful to me,” he said. “You need queer people in non-traditionally queer spaces, and it needs to be normal.”

"For the first time in my life, I’m living my life authentically in a way that feels good to me, and not to my society

Michael Hickey via Getty Images

“For the first time in my life, I’m living my life authentically in a way that feels good to me, and not to my society or anyone else,” morgxn told HuffPost.

Momentum for “Vital” has been building slowly but steadily since its release last year. In January, morgxn released “Vital: Blue,” a companion EP containing acoustic takes on five of his tracks, including “Carry the Weight.” 

He followed up with two brand-new singles, “A New Way” and “OMM!,” the latter of which dropped earlier this month. Released in partnership with GLAAD, the video for “A New Way” has garnered more than 1 million views since June.  

On the mainstream stage, morgxn’s profile is also on the rise. He teamed up with rockers Walk the Moon ― best known for the 2014 smash, “Shut Up And Dance” ― for a televised performance of his song, “Home,” on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” in January. And in July, he sang “A New Way” on “Good Morning America.”

If I saw someone like me in a rock venue ― not a traditionally queer space ― that would have been very impactful to me. You need queer people in non-traditionally queer spaces, and it needs to be normal.
morgxn, singer-songwriter

On the concert stage, he’s been just as prolific, hitting Lollapalooza and South by Southwest (SXSW), among other festivals. He’ll kick off his first headline tour in September, playing venues in Boston, Atlanta, San Francisco and many other cities.

Still, the rapidly shifting ways of consuming music can be tough on a young artist looking to find footing in a fickle industry. morgxn is conscious of this, but he said paying close attention to airplay and streams “undermines the journey of being an artist.”

“I can say confidently that I try to measure [success] by how I feel about the music I make,” he said. “I’ll receive a message from someone on Instagram or Twitter about how something I’ve written has helped them, and I’m like, ’Well, there’s proof that something is connecting.’ That’s real, and that’s success.”  

Stephen Colbert Reveals What Trump Really Thinks Of The American Taxpayer

Stephen Colbert isn’t buying President Donald Trump’s latest excuse for restricting immigration

The Trump administration expanded its “public charge” rule, making it harder for anyone receiving any form of government assistance (a person who could become a “public charge”) to obtain legal permanent residence status.

Trump defended the move as saving taxpayer money. 

“I don’t think it’s fair to have the American taxpayer pay for people to come into the United States,” he said.

But the “Late Show” host noted the irony of Trump’s claim that he was trying to save money for taxpayers given that he was standing in front of a chopper ready to take him from one of his golf resorts to a White House event.  

Mimicking Trump, Colbert said: “American taxpayers should only pay for the important stuff, like my helicopter rides to and from the golf.”

Trump has spent more than 200 days of his 2½ years in office at golf resorts that he owns. So far, taxpayers have ponied up $110 million to fund those trips.

Taxpayers shelled out $106 million for golf trips by President Barack Obama during his eight years in office, a cost that became a constant talking point for conservative groups such as Judicial Watch and Fox News hosts.

They have so far been largely silent on Trump’s resort expenses. 

A Musical About Princess Diana Is Set To Open On Broadway In 2020

A musical about the life of Princess Diana is Broadway-bound. 

Directed by Christopher Ashley, “Dianais scheduled to open at New York’s Longacre Theatre next March. It follows the life of the “People’s Princess” (played by Jeanna de Waal) during her turbulent 15-year marriage to Prince Charles (Roe Hartrampf), culminating in her 1997 death at the age of 36. 

“Thrust into a spotlight brighter than any the world had ever known, Diana soon finds herself at odds with her husband, an unrelenting news media, and the monarchy itself,” a synopsis of the show sent to HuffPost and other media outlets reads. “Leading fiercely with her heart, Princess Diana stands up for her family, her country and herself, while managing to capture the hearts of the world.”

“She defied expectations, she rocked the royals and she created a legacy that will endure forever,” the press note concludes. 

From the sounds of it, “Diana” ― which debuted this spring at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego ― takes a few cues from “Evita,” Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1978 musical about Argentina’s legendary first lady, Eva Perón.

Jeanna de Waal and Roe Hartrampf star as Princess Diana and Prince Charles in "Diana," a musical to open on Broadwa

Little Fang Photo

Jeanna de Waal and Roe Hartrampf star as Princess Diana and Prince Charles in “Diana,” a musical to open on Broadway in 2020.

It also boasts an impressive pedigree. David Bryan, who co-wrote the score, is the longtime keyboardist for Bon Jovi. He and Joe DiPietro are also the creators of the 2009 hit, “Memphis,” which won four Tony Awards. 

In 2017, Ashley received a Tony Award for directing “Come From Away,” which continues to play to sold-out crowds on Broadway. 

The San Diego production, however, received mixed reviews.

“The show doesn’t work but that hardly matters these days for a musical that can draw in the tourist masses,” Los Angeles Times critic Charles McNulty wrote, adding that the score sounded “dated.”

The Hollywood Reporter’s review was more generous, saying that the musical “seems to have many of the pieces needed for a hit” despite “flaws.” 

For London-born de Waal, whose Broadway credits include “Kinky Boots” and “American Idiot,” bringing Diana to life is a dream come true. 

“I hope people who come to see ‘Diana’ that didn’t know about her and weren’t aware of her journey leave the theater with an idea of what she did for the world and the changes she made,” she said in a March interview. “She’s still such a huge part of our zeitgeist … I think we want to celebrate her.”

Miley Cyrus Trolls Brody Jenner After Kissing His Ex On Italian Getaway

Miley Cyrus, she who cannot be tamed, is officially living her best life after splitting with husband Liam Hemsworth, soaking in that post break-up glow with a potential new fling. 

The “Mother’s Daughter” singer and the “Hunger Games” star called it quits on Saturday after less than eight months of marriage and many more as a couple. The two announced they’ve decided to “focus on themselves and careers” in a joint statement that took a wrecking ball to the hearts of fans everywhere. 

Cyrus, however, is seemingly taking an on-to-the-next-one approach, as hours before the news broke, she was spotted kissing Kaitlynn Carter. Carter recently ended her not-so-real marriage to reality TV star and Kardashian step-sibling Brody Jenner.

The two have been vacationing in Lake Como, Italy, with Cyrus’ sister and were seen packing on the PDA at the Il Sereno hotel over the weekend, where onlookers said they were “not trying to hide it at all.”

Cyrus and Carter have been breathlessly documenting their travels on social media all week, provoking some eyebrow-raising responses from the internet and their exes. 

“Rock the boat, don’t rock the boat baby,” Carter captioned a sun-kissed image of her and Cyrus. 

Jenner sent out the first missive, writing ― what else ― “Hot girl summer” in the comments under the photo.

But “The Hills” star seemingly took his joking too far for Cyrus’ taste, quipping that “Pics of Liam and I holding hands on the beach” are coming soon.

Cue Cyrus entering the conversation with a commendably petty response, alluding to a fight Jenner and Carter had on a recent episode of “The Hills: New Beginnings.”

″@brodyjenner go take a nap in your truck and cool off #HotGirlSummer,” she hit back, adding two dancing girl emojis. 

Cyrus is apparently looking toward the future after the split, sharing an inspirational message about change on her Instagram. 

“Don’t fight evolution, because you will never win. Like the mountain I am standing on top of, which was once under water, connected with Africa, change is inevitable,” Cyrus posted.

“Life’s a climb… but the view is great,” she later wrote under a separate photo. 

Hemsworth, meanwhile, has been the only one in this love square laying relatively low. The actor stepped out with older brother Chris Hemsworth in Byron Bay, Australia, where the two picked up some frozen yogurt. 

He even reportedly shut down a reporter when asked about the split, explaining that he didn’t “want to talk about it, mate.”

14 Sweet Parenting Quotes From Chris Hemsworth

Chris Hemsworth is no stranger to the joy and chaos of parenthood.

The actor and his wife, Elsa Pataky, have three children ― a daughter, India Rose, and twin sons, Tristan and Sasha. Since becoming a dad in 2012, he has been open about his experience raising kids.

In honor of his birthday, here are 14 sweet quotes about fatherhood from Hemsworth:

On Becoming A Parent

“I think it makes you less selfish, because it’s no longer about you. It can’t be. It’s about someone else, which is refreshing. It’s nice to not spend all your time thinking about your own problems and garbage up there, and I just have so much fun doing it. It’s the best. And now I’m a bit more choosy, I think, with when I work and how I work because it better be worthwhile to take me away from them.”

On Blissful Moments

“Last week, we were in the car driving somewhere, and my little girl was in the back seat with me. I was really tired, and I leaned over and I put my head on her lap, without even thinking about it. I just wanted to lie down a little bit and sleep because it was a 40-minute drive. And she started patting my head and singing a song through her pacifier. I don’t even know what song it was … I looked at my wife, who was in the front seat, and she had tears in her eyes. There’s the idea that we as parents spend all this time protecting our children. No, I think they’re protecting us. Sitting in the car with my head on her lap and her singing to me, there was this understanding of, ‘Wow, she’s looking after Dad, and that’s her job.’ You know? And that was such a joy. Oh, there’s nothing better! It was the happiest moment of my life.”

On His Kids

“My daughter is full energy, like my wife and I, and strong-minded and has an opinion, like we do. And my boys, one’s a bit more calm and chill and the other is much more sensitive to things. You see this right away, when they’re first born. One cried, one didn’t, with the boys.”

On Learning As A Dad

“I think [parenthood] brings out the child in all of us. That’s what’s so beautiful. It reminds you of the fascination you had with things, and how you can spend hours just being with someone. It’s amazing.”

On The Kind Of Parent He Is

“Hopefully a good one! My wife thinks I am. I love it. It’s the greatest thing I’ve ever been a part of. When I am at work, she’s what I’m thinking about, and when I’m not at work, she’s who I’m hanging out with!”

On Keeping His Kids Grounded

“When I think about my kids, I don’t want them to miss that joy. Elsa and I talk a lot about how we instill that same appreciation and respect for things. I don’t want them to feel like they’re privileged in any way. The fact that we have money and their parents are famous, that somehow they’re special, that scares me because we grew up with no money.”

On Winning A ‘Dad Race’ At His Daughter’s School Field Day

“There was just this wave of nirvana. I turn around and I go, ‘Where’s my daughter? Where is she?’ And she’s like, ‘Dad, did you win?’ And I’m like, ‘Did I win? You didn’t see it?!’ They gave me a sticker. A first-place sticker .”

On Being The Only One At Home Who Doesn’t Speak Spanish

“My wife will be telling them off … and I’ll be standing there like, ‘That’s right!’ ‘What’d you say? What’d you tell him?’”

On How Parenting Changes Things

“Do you know what’s been the greatest lesson in having kids? For the first time, it’s not about me anymore. This internal dialogue about my own boring story isn’t at the forefront of my thoughts. It’s about them now, their welfare. If I make a film, what is that going to allow us to do? What is it going to give them? That’s been really refreshing, I’ve got to say, because it’s so easy to become self-centered, particularly for me in this business.”

On Work-Life Balance

“There are times when I’ve thought, ‘Wow, because having kids is more important to me, some of my roles have suffered.’ There’s definitely a couple of films I could’ve put way more energy into, but I was like, ‘No, I’d rather be with my kids.’”

On Leaving His Daughter For Work

“She’s normally like, ‘Yeah, see you, Daddy. Cool.’ She was like, ‘Papa! Papa! Papa!’ She doesn’t always call me Papa, either … I wasn’t, like, sobbing, but…”

On His Mother’s Advice

“A couple years ago, I asked my mum about that. ‘How are my kids going to learn good values? We now have money. How do I raise them to appreciate things?’ She said, ‘I don’t think money matters as long as you love your kids.’ It’s a very simplistic idea. I think it’s true because, looking back, it was the way they treated us ― as equals ― and the love they gave us that made my brothers and me who we are. It wasn’t the fact that we didn’t have money.”

On Protecting His Kids’ Privacy

“The exploitation is something I’m very wary of. We’ve been offered things, like ‘Advertise such-and-such and have dinner with your family.’ There’s no way.”

On Perspective

“There are other things in my life now ― family, kids. I don’t want to have to be in the position where I care if the phone stops ringing. I’m OK about potentially not acting.”

Taylor Swift Says She Stayed Silent In 2016 Election Because She ‘Wasn’t Going To Help’

Taylor Swift is finally coming clean about her decision to stay silent and not support ― or condemn ― a political candidate in the 2016 election. 

The “Archer” singer, who appears on the cover of Vogue’s September 2019 issue, said she felt she would hurt Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s chances in the election if she said anything. 

“Unfortunately in the 2016 election you had a political opponent who was weaponizing the idea of the celebrity endorsement,” the 29-year-old told Vogue’s Abby Aguirre. “He was going around saying, I’m a man of the people. I’m for you. I care about you. I just knew I wasn’t going to help.”

"You had a political opponent who was weaponizing the idea of the celebrity endorsement,” Taylor Swift said to explain

Inez and Vindooh for Vogue

“You had a political opponent who was weaponizing the idea of the celebrity endorsement,” Taylor Swift said to explain why she did not speak out during the 2016 election.

At the time, Swift had a bit of a sullied public reputation after Kim Kardashian called her a “snake.” She cited that insult when explaining to Vogue that she thought her presence would’ve only hurt Clinton ― not helped. 

“The summer before that election, all people were saying was, ‘She’s calculated. She’s manipulative. She’s not what she seems. She’s a snake. She’s a liar,’” Swift told Vogue of the backlash she’d received.

“These are the same exact insults people were hurling at Hillary,” Swift explained. “Would I be an endorsement or would I be a liability? ‘Look, snakes of a feather flock together. Look, the two lying women. The two nasty women.’”

Many celebrities rallied to Clinton’s side during the election. Katy Perry regularly performed and campaigned for Clinton on the campaign trail, as did countless others in the candidate’s “army” of Hollywood supporters, which included Beyoncé, LeBron James, Chrissy Teigen, John Legend — but not Swift, who faced further backlash for not picking a side in the election from celebrities and fans alike. 

The Daily Beast wrote an article on “Taylor Swift’s Loud Election Silence—and Connection to Donald Trump” while fans speculated on Twitter about who the singer was voting for. Everyone was talking politics on the internet and in Hollywood ― everyone except Swift, that is. 

“A notable voice has been missing from the chorus: that of Taylor Swift, the world’s biggest pop star,” declared a 2017 editorial in The Guardian, highlighting the singer’s silence on Trump. 

“Her silence is striking, highlighting the parallels between the singer and the president: their adept use of social media to foster a diehard support base; their solipsism; their laser focus on the bottom line; their support among the ‘alt-right,’” the piece added.

Swift had also stayed out of the limelight in past elections. In a 2008 interview for Lifetime’s “Every Woman Counts” special, she explained why she sidestepped any sort of major political statement.

“I’m not gonna sit here and go into my political views because that’s not what I chose to do,” Swift said at the time. “I chose to do music.” 

When 2016 rolled around, Swift told Vogue, she did the only thing she felt she could do: disappear. 

“Literally millions of people were telling me to disappear,” she said. “So I disappeared. In many senses.”

After the election, Swift shed her politically neutral platform and began endorsing specific politicians and causes. She told Vogue she took her time because her “mistakes are very loud.” 

“When I make a mistake, it echoes through the canyons of the world. It’s clickbait, and it’s a part of my life story, and it’s a part of my career arc,” she added.

Head to Vogue to read more of Swift’s interview. 

Tyler Mitchell’s Historic Beyoncé Vogue Portrait Is Headed To The Smithsonian

A portrait of Beyoncé by Tyler Mitchell, who last year became the first Black photographer to shoot the cover of Vogue, is headed to the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. 

Mitchell’s photograph was among the series of shots he captured of the iconic singer for Vogue’s September issue last year. Beyoncé is wearing a shimmery gold Valentino dress and a gold Philip Treacy London hat in the portrait, titled “See Your Halo” in Vogue. 

The photographer announced the news on his official Twitter account on Tuesday. 

“A year ago today we broke the flood gates open,” he wrote. “Now I’m glad to share this picture is being acquired into the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection.”

The official Twitter account for the National Portrait Gallery also celebrated the announcement on Tuesday. 

“We’re just so crazy in love with her that we had to do it!” a tweet read. “We look forward to adding this new work to our collection.”

In another post, the National Portrait Gallery’s Twitter account noted that another portrait of Beyoncé is currently featured in an exhibition at the art museum.

It has yet to be announced when Mitchell’s portrait of Beyoncé will go up.

Last year, at 23 years old, Mitchell became one of the youngest photographers to shoot the cover of Vogue.

Speaking about his historic accomplishment, Mitchell, who grew up in a suburb of Atlanta, told Vogue he was looking to change the way Black bodies are perceived.

“For so long, black people have been considered things,” he said in the article. “We’ve been thingified physically, sexually, emotionally. With my work, I’m looking to revitalize and elevate the black body.”

Travis Scott Had Everything Coming Up Roses For Kylie Jenner’s Birthday Surprise

In today’s edition of “Things Rich People Do,” Travis Scott covered the floor of Kylie Jenner’s house with rose petals in a surprise display for her 22nd birthday.

On Monday, the lip kit mogul posted footage of the floral bonanza on her Instagram videos. She flashed a letter to the camera from Scott that read, “Happy birthday!!!! We’re just getting started. Love you!!!!”

Jenner’s actual birthday is on August 10.

Scott and Jenner’s daughter Stormi can be seen playing amid the flowers. Nothing screams decadence more than a toddler, unaware of her immense wealth, playing with thousands of dollars worth of rose petals.

Fans of the KarJenner clan know that Scott frequently gives his girlfriend over-the-top gifts.

When Jenner gave birth to Stormi in 2018, Scott reportedly gifted her a black Ferrari LaFerrari (the cost of the vehicle starts at $1.4 million) and, later that year, gave her a vintage Rolls-Royce for her 21st birthday. Prior to spontaneously buying Jenner an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watch earlier this year ― customized with diamonds that cost more than $50,000 ― Scott held nothing back on Valentine’s Day with a dreamy display of heart-shaped structures made entirely of roses.

While the rest of us are just hoping our partner will surprise us with some Seamless, Jenner’s got diamonds, roses and several different cars. Oh, to be obscenely rich.