Knox Morris, a former Ohio University student from Arcanum, is a singer-songwriter who recently signed with Zodlounge Music in Nashville.
Morris recently spoke with The Post about getting his start, his American Idol experience and his first EP coming out at the end of 2019.
The Post: How did you get your start with music? Did you always know you wanted to be a musician?
Morris: I didn’t always know I wanted to be a musician. I’ve always loved music, but I was always a sports guy in high school. After I graduated high school, I got really bored, and I started playing the guitar. I had an old one that I had when I was like 10 years old. I lived out in the middle of nowhere, so I just started playing to find something to do, and I loved it.
P: What prompted you to make the decision to audition for American Idol?
Morris: It was funny, I worked at a concert venue and the live show of American Idol came, which was super cool. And I thought to myself, ‘That’s something I could do,’ and some of the workers convinced me to go audition. I went home to look up when the auditions were, and they were the next day, and I said, ‘You know what, let’s do it.’ So I just didn’t tell anyone and made the drive to Columbus by myself and auditioned.
P: After you auditioned for American Idol, what did you take away from the experience? What were the steps in that process?
Morris: I went through, like, six or seven rounds of auditions until I got to the judges, and I got to meet Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan, which was amazing to meet them and get their feedback. But I didn’t get the ‘golden ticket’ to Hollywood or anything. Most people always say that the best part of the experience is meeting Lionel Richie and Katy Perry and all of them, which is amazing, but my biggest takeaway was meeting the people who were also auditioning. You really feel like a crazy person trying to make it as a musician in Ohio because I don’t know anyone else who does this stuff, and so when you get to be surrounded by the people at the auditions who are going through the same things you’re going through, it makes you feel like you’re not alone. It’s such a comforting feeling, knowing there are others out there doing the same thing.
P: What kind of music do you like to create? Do you have a specific genre in mind or do you just write what comes to you?
Morris: I love writing all music. I have some songs that are about as country as you can get, and then I’ll have some songs that are these dance pop songs. I want to be able to work with everyone in any genre I can, that’s my biggest thing. I write songs as they come into my head. I don’t generally stick to one genre. When it comes to my sound, I haven’t really established a sound yet, and that’s why I’m excited for the EP to come out, because I think when it’s done, people will be surprised. I don’t think they’ll expect what it’s going to sound like.
P: You published your first original song “Fighter” on SoundCloud in May of 2018. What inspired you to write that song, and was the writing experience challenging?
Morris: I had this tune in my head that I’d been working on for a while, and a buddy of mine really liked the sound and decided to sit down and write lyrics to it. It was finals week at OU last year, and we spent from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. writing this song and making it perfect. We ended up writing like three different versions until we found one that we liked. It’s such an awesome song, and me and my buddy are so proud of it and love it so much.
P: You have an EP coming out at the end of 2019. What was the process like creating it?
Morris: The process is really cool. It’s mostly just getting in the studio and writing as many songs as possible. One of the things they told me when I got down to Nashville was that my goal was not to be the best singer or guitar player or the best looking or anything like that. It’s about who can make the best music. Nothing else matters, if you’re making the best songs, nothing else matters. Next week we start recording, I’ve written like 26 or 27 songs already, and we are going to go through them and choose the best ones so the EP will have three to four tracks on it. Like I said, I really don’t think people are going to expect what it’ll sound like, but I’m excited for it and I think it’s going to be really good.
P: How has becoming a musician affected your lifestyle?
Morris: Where I’m from, sports are the biggest thing. And I love sports. I really think everyone should play sports at some point because they’re great. But where I’m from, people prioritize sports, and if you’re not the number one player on the team or the one scoring all of the points, then you kind of get left in the shadows. Growing up, I had a lot of little kids that followed me because of basketball and the team was kind of famous in their eyes, and I want to be able to tell them that they don’t have to be the best player on the team, and they can do whatever they want. My dad is the principal of the school, and he told me that people are really starting to get into art classes and joining choir and really embracing their creative sides a lot more, instead of just focusing on sports, and I like to think I had a little bit of influence on that, which is really awesome.
P: What are your future plans? Do you have any specific goals you are working toward?
Morris: I’m moving to Nashville on Friday to start recording, then we’ll get the EP out. That’s the short-term, but I think the big longterm goal for me is I would love to be a theater act one day. I don’t need a million followers. I don’t need a ton of money or anything like that. But if I can play a theater of people and hear people sing my songs back to me that I’ve written, then I’d be so happy. Honestly, if I can just get my songs to resonate with even one person, then I’d really be doing my job.