You might not know his name yet, but Matt Morris is no stranger to the music game.
His father is country singer Gary Morris, and at age 11, Morris won over the folks at Disney Channel to earn a spot on “The Mickey Mouse Club” It was on that show, alongside Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Ryan Gosling, Keri Russell and other now-superstars, that he logged some serious performing time and began a lifelong friendship with [artist id="1231683"]Justin Timberlake[/artist].
Friday’s “Hope for Haiti Now” telethon proved to be a monumental introduction for the singer/songwriter. With 83 million viewers glued to their televisions around the world, Timberlake and Morris performed their rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” which has topped the iTunes singles chart.
Morris’ first studio album, When Everything Breaks Open, is out now on Timberlake’s Tennman Records, and famed Austin guitar wizard Charlie Sexton and Timberlake co-produced the project.
“It’s an elaborate album, and it goes a lot of places,” Morris told MTV News. “So many people came together — Justin, Charlie, Edie Brickell and Patty Griffin [as backup singers] — not to mention all the musicians from L.A., Austin and Denver who all put in on this. It’s like this collective artistry that is bigger than me. It’s amazing.”
As was obvious from their “Hope for Haiti Now” performance, Morris shares a special relationship with his label CEO.
“Justin and I have been friends for a long time, and we have this unspoken musical connection,” he said. “He’s got his finger on the pulse. … And I don’t think it’s an intentional thing. I think it’s just part of who he is. He just gets it. He brought something that was really current and in the moment — and not in the pop-music or pop-world sense, but like in a real essence-of-creativity sense — he brought something really special to this album.”
Morris hasn’t picked a single yet, and fans seem to responding to a few songs equally, (“Money,” which features JT, is in the running, and “The Un-American” is being picked up by college radio), but with a spot on one of the most-downloaded songs in the country, he’s setting his aspirations high.
“It would be a rock-star dream to have Lady Gaga put together an outfit for me to wear at a big televised performance,” he laughed. “So, Lady, if you’re out there watching this right now, I wear a size-48 jacket, 30 waist. Call me.”