Hero (Deluxe Edition)
When Maren Morris moved to Nashville, the now megastar had modest dreams of making a living as a writer for hire on Music Row. After finding her footing in town (as well as connecting with a top-notch cadre of cowriters), Morris wrote a song that would forever change her life: “My Church.” “I didn't have the interest to just be back onstage again for probably four or five years,” she tells Apple Music. “Then I wrote ‘My Church’ and it just kind of rekindled this flame in me of wanting to be the one on the microphone, because I just couldn't hear someone else singing that song.” The Grammy-winning single is only one of several hits on her fourth album Hero, which was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Country Album and led to Morris’ 2016 CMA Award win for New Artist of the Year. The breezy, carefree pop of “80s Mercedes” foreshadowed Morris’s genre agnosticism, while “Rich,” with its irreverent lyrics and earworm of a chorus, showed her versatility. Morris scored her first No. 1 hit at radio with the wistful ballad “I Could Use a Love Song,” an accomplishment that cut through the glut of men clogging country radio charts. “At the time, I don't think people remember how unheard of it was for a female with a ballad to go all the way to the top,” she tells Apple Music. Morris coproduced Hero alongside the late producer and songwriter busbee, who served as an integral collaborator for Morris until his death at 43 in 2019. “He’s just so embedded in every tom sound, every kick drum,” she tells Apple Music. “Every bass note is him playing. It’s still such a timeless record, to me, because of him.” Hero would soon catapult Morris to new heights, including featuring prominently on Zedd’s massive, paradigm-shifting pop hit “The Middle,” a move that would make her a household name just in time for the release of Hero’s follow-up, 2019’s GIRL.