Morgan Ovens’ story begins in Canada, but it only started to get interesting when she moved to Nashville, Tennessee, as a young twenty-year-old. It was six years ago that I saw her play for the first time, a singer/songwriter on the bill for a tiny coffee shop called the Good Cup in the hills surrounding the city. Amidst the caffeinated chatter, Morgan Ovens cleared her throat and sang out the first note of a self-penned tune. There was a sweet shyness about her that made you listen, and although she wasn’t sure what direction she was going in musically just yet, she was headed there full steam.
Fast forward to today. Morgan shows up to our interview in sunny Los Angeles with a high fashion ponytail and a leather jacket. Long gone is the Nashville girl in cowboy boots. She’s now the epitome of L.A. sexy cool, though her attitude couldn’t be anything further from that. She’s all smiles, even noticing the chirping birds.
"You should hear them in the morning! If they’re a 10 on a scale from 1-10 right now, they are 1,000 in the morning!” She says brightly, laughing.
One would think she’s a real-life Snow White, particularly when she excitedly recounts her experiences of kissing brazen deer on Catalina Island that walked right up to her. The birds sing so loudly outside her English cottage style home, it’s almost as if they’re beckoning her to come out and play. She even has a Great Dane that is comparable to the size of a small horse, but hangs on her every word and rarely causes trouble when mom’s around.
And as expected of a real-life Snow White, Morgan has already had the bitter taste of a poison in her life and has woken up from a metaphorical slumber of sorts. This year, she has come forward with a brave confession: she has spent the past few years suffering from an eating disorder.
Her bright eyes narrow slightly when she talks about it. “I’ve always cared about what people think way too much, and because of all these dreams I had for music that never came true, I became depressed. I wasn’t very confident in myself, and I developed an eating disorder because of it.”
Last summer, she began something she calls her “Social Experiment,” where she started to peel away at the layers and expose her own scars. “I was doing a lot of self-discovery and sharing it,” she says.
Morgan posted videos with admissions of the things that she was most self-conscious about, and admittedly, “It was terrifying at first.”
It was her first hit release, even though it wasn’t music.
Fans began to connect to her message all over the United States, and it was like a lightbulb went off for Morgan.
“I was trying to figure out who I am, what my real story is and becoming more comfortable with that. I realized what I’m really passionate about right now: sharing with kids what I wish I would’ve known at their age. My latest EP is very body-positive, and it’s about having the freedom to be yourself and not care what other people think about you,” Morgan says, and although the message sounds simple, it’s one of the hardest for young people to embrace.
“So I am touring middle schools now performing free concerts, and I also do a little talk with them, sharing my story. I believe there is so much power in that,” Morgan says seriously, nodding.
She began her school tour in the Midwest, continuing on to Las Vegas and California, and she’s only getting started. Her voice is being strengthened by the support and partnership with non-profits like Girls on the Run, Mental Fitness, Inc. and Girl Talk.
When I ask Morgan what she’s discovered about herself through the process, she laughs. “I am so silly! I didn’t even realize how silly I am, but if you watch my Snapchat, you’ll quickly see. I sing all the time, especially when I’m cooking or baking. I’m a huge neat freak- I love organization. I’m not a partier. I like to have fun and go out with my friends, but I’m not one who wants to stay out until 2 a.m. every morning every night, and I’m tired of pretending like I want to do that with certain friends. I’m a morning person- who knew? I'm learning how important family is; I lost sight of that."
Check out Morgan Ovens' music and continuing story here.