Morgan Reese: The DIY Popstar

By: Joshua Bhujbal//

Morgan Reese is an emerging bedroom-pop artist based in San Francisco. She started off promoting her single “October Snow” on the app TikTok with no intention of going viral and now has a platform with 50,000 followers. She is a songwriter and singer that has always enjoyed performing from a young age and an experienced self-taught guitar player that started playing when she was just five years old. While speaking to Reese, she shared, “I had a pretty long commute to school when I was little, and my mom and would listen to a lot of Prince music. I thought it was so cool and asked my mom what instrument that was and from then on I wanted to play like Prince.” Moreover, Morgan Reese has produced all of her music single-handedly, which is not an easy feat at all. She explained that she has had no formal training whatsoever, and she mostly learned to produce just from her trained musical ear and long hours of trial and error. Another surprising fact about Reese’s music is that it is truly ‘organic’ bedroom pop. To clarify, she composed and recorded all of her music right in her college dorm. She rationalizes that she is a very resourceful person and independent worker who is always trying to learn. Overall, she is living proof that anyone can make music!  

Reese reflected on why she started making music professionally. “Music is comforting for me […] as an only child, you have a ton of alone time which when I decided to play a bunch of music and learn the songs,” she expressed. “At some point after that, I realized I should just make my own songs. If I didn’t have music, I don’t know what I’d do with my life.” On another note, Reese normally writes music after an emotionally charge event because it’s her method for blurting out all the feelings going through her mind in way that’s meaningful. She wants to interpolate her complaining or outbursts into something that people can relate to. If you have not listened to “Pretty Boy” by Morgan Reese, this is just one example of her philosophy. The song resembles the nostalgia over a crush which makes you feel warm and filled with butterflies just from one listen.  

Reese explains that she has multiple categories of inspirations. She’s influenced by UMI, clairo, and boy pablo, which is where she found her indie-pop aesthetic. Moreover, she loves listening to Jimi Hendrix and other artists from the 60s who utilized bass guitar quite generously. Lastly, Reese admires Amy Winehouse’s melodies and songwriting skills which Reese tries to emulate as well.  

When asked who her dream collaboration would be, Morgan revealed she would love to work with Kali Uchis on some project, which does not seem completely out of the blue given that Reese recently posted a cover on TikTok of Uchis’ hit song “Telepatia” which has received over 2 million views now! Reese expresses how it really has not sunken in yet that she’s a viral sensation. She’s astounded by the fact that over 50,000 people continue watching her videos. She was simply promoting her new single at the time and suddenly, hundreds of thousands of people were cheering her on. 

Reese discusses that at times it can be hard to stay motivated and be consistent, especially considering that she is currently a freshman in college. She may be on campus, but it is an unfamiliar environment compared to pre-COVID. She expresses that it is hard to make friends, get to know her professors, and just interact with other human beings when all of her classes are online. She has observed that music has helped her feel at peace. Whenever she is stressed with her workload, she turns to playing music as a reliever. Making music is what keeps her motivated because she is so grateful to do what she loves! This is not just work for her but rather her deepest passion. Advice Reese would give to her younger self is “to be less shy about sharing.” Morgan has always felt insecure about showcasing her talents, and she reminisces on all the opportunities she lost because she was scared to be judged. She has come to the consensus that “time is running out and there’s no time to care what people think.”  

If the current health crisis is resolved, Morgan Reese hopes that she will be touring or at least performing live consistently for her new album in the next two years. Additionally, Reese is yearning for music to be her “main focus in the next two years. I still want to work towards earning my degree, but there are so many responsibilities I have, like my part-time job at Starbucks; I want [music to be at the top of my list].” Morgan has the potential to be a superstar based on her perseverance, resourcefulness, and passion. Make sure to follow her for the latest bedroom pop bops!  

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