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Keith Urban was plotting out his 2016 tour plans last fall and looking for an opener when CAA Nashville agent Darin Murphy sent him a Spotify link of a new signing he thought the Australian superstar should hear.

Maren Morris had a self-titled EP uploaded to the streaming service and no single (yet) on the radio, but Urban “flipped out,” according to Red Light Management’s Janet Weir. Urban committed within 24 hours to bringing the young singer/songwriter on tour to open for him.

“He took a leap of faith based on one track: ‘80s Mercedes,’” Weir told Pollstar. “He wanted her on the tour.”


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Photo: Laura Roberts

Maren Morris

Morris might be considered a gamble if she were an untested newcomer to the stage. Raised in Texas, she was self-recording, playing and touring with her parents from the time she was 11. Eventually, she moved to Nashville not to perform, but to write.

She was a staff writer for Big Yellow Dog Music for three years before she realized she should be performing her own songs.

Morris and her new band were on full display for their first TV appearance, on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” April 25, where they performed her hit single, “My Church,” which was RIAA gold-certified the week before.

Afterward, Morris took in a performance of “Hamilton.” It’s a good thing she found the time then, because Morris is not likely to have much down time for the foreseeable future.


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Photo: Robby Klein

Maren Morris

Her debut full-length, Hero, drops June 3 and Weir says the “GMA” showcase is just the first of many TV appearances leading up to the big day. After the album release, touring with Urban will busy her up from at least June through November, with more dates to be added.

Morris will also get plenty of festival looks this summer, Weir said, though most have not been officially announced. “There will be a lot of fun stuff. You’ll see!”