Country Star Morgan Evans Knows How To Take Rejection

3 April 2014 | 1:33 pm | Scott Fitzsimons

Keeping focused amid first album pressure

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Newcastle-based country music singer-songwriter Morgan Evans may have played the show of his career at the CMC Rocks The Hunter festival recently, but he knows better than anyone else that he's still got a long way to go.

The show doubled as a launch for his debut self-titled album, which has been in the works for years. In that time, which has seen Morgan build up a strong network in the US and cement his presenting role on Foxtel's Country Music Channel, both the expectations and pressure have risen.

“Before [release] it's like your baby,” he told backstage at CMC Rocks. “I guess it still is, but as soon as you put it out it sort of becomes everyone else's and your favourite song doesn't really matter anymore. It's like 'What are the singles? What's on the TV? What do people like?' I guess you find that out at the gig.”

"I'll send in a song I love and they'll send it back [and say], 'Nah, that sucks'."

In a genre that doesn't always have the greatest internal quality control, Evans has found a team in co-managers Kerry Roberts and Rob Potts (who is also CMC Rocks' co-promoter) and his label Warner that keeps his focus.

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“Rob will be the first person to tell me what's wrong with the show or what I could've done better. Or if I said something I shouldn't have said he'll go, 'You're an idiot, why'd you do that?' Sometimes that hurts the first time they say it but you fix it, instead of beating around the bush and keeping on doing it for the next six months.

“And my record label's the same, I'll send in a song I love and they'll send it back [and say], 'Nah, that sucks.' [laughs] I don't necessarily think it sucks if they do, but it will make me listen to it in another way and think about 'Why do they think it sucks?'. I'm just lucky to have people like that around me. It's taken a long time to get to the point where there's people around my to trust like that.

He added, “It's really important to work with people I trust. There's a lot of people out there. Everyone at the signing tent was like 'Great show! Great show! Great show!' Which is awesome… but it's great to work with people that are like, 'Great show, but I think you could've done this better.'”

Evans will be supporting The Wolfe Brothers – who are also Lee Kernaghan's current backing band – in a foray into city venues this week. It's the latest step in country music's push into the metro markets and the focus will probably be on the crowds, more than the artists on this run.

“Nothing is ever the audience's fault, it's always the guy on stage,” Evans said. “But for me when a crowd is up and into it, it takes everything to the next level. I reckon music and gigs should be judged like surfing, where you get half the marks for the wave and half the marks for the rider. For me, [when people ask] 'Was that a good gig last night?' 'Well, I was x and the crowd were x' and that's the way I sort of judge a gig.”