Morgan Wallen Biography, Career, Songs, Controversies, Relationships, Net Worth

Morgan Wallen is a country music singer best known for her hit songs “You Proof,” “Last Night,” and “Whiskey Glasses.” In 2014, he rose to notoriety after appearing on the sixth season of the NBC singing competition The Voice.

Wallen’s music has since gained widespread acclaim, with his 2023 album One Thing at a Time debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums charts. Only five other artists, including Taylor Swift and The Beatles, have held half of the top ten tracks on the Billboard Hot 100 with songs from the album at the same time.

However, the singer has caused controversy with his offstage antics, including using a racial slur in a 2021 incident that was captured on camera.

Early Life

Morgan Cole Wallen was born in Sneedville, Tennessee, on May 13, 1993, to Tommy and Lesli Wallen. Tommy and Lesli adopted three younger sisters, Ashlyne, Mikaela, and Lacey, in 2021. Morgan’s family then moved to nearby Knoxville while she was a freshman in high school.

Wallen began singing in the local Southern Baptist church where Tommy served as pastor when he was three years old, eventually singing three-part harmonies with Ashlyne and Mikaela. When he was five years old, he received a violin for Christmas and began lessons. Growing up, he also studied and played the piano. His father was a rock ‘n’ roll music aficionado who exposed him to groups like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Fleetwood Mac, and the Eagles.

However, Wallen initially assumed that baseball was his destiny. He was a standout shortstop and pitcher for Gibbs High School in Knoxville, where Kenny Chesney also attended. During a game his senior year, he tore the UCL in his elbow, necessitating surgery. Colleges lost interest after the injury, and Wallen took a few months off after graduating in 2011 to think out his next steps. “I prayed and tried to figure out what my strategy and purpose were.” That’s when I started composing songs and playing guitar to express myself,” Wallen told LancasterOnline in 2017.

Wallen began his musical career by performing for his mother and friends, who recognized his talent. His debut on a major reality TV show, however, would truly set him up for success.

Contestant on The Voice

For the first time in his life, Wallen boarded an airline in 2014 to fly to Los Angeles and compete for the sixth season of The Voice, the popular NBC singing competition show. He sang Howie Day’s 2003 pop smash “Collide” and wowed celebrity judges Shakira and Usher. “I think that there are no voices like your voice on today’s radio—that’s why I turned [my chair],” Shakira told him. “It’s as manly as it gets.” Wallen chose Usher to be his mentor.

Wallen made it past the first and second battle rounds by performing “Hey Brother” by Avicii and “Story of My Life” by One Direction. Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine even “stole” Wallen for his touring band. Wallen, on the other hand, was eliminated in the competition’s playoff round.

Nonetheless, the event raised Wallen’s image and provided him with industry contacts. He also decided that country music was the best fit for him. “It may not have been the biggest influence in my life, as far as musically,” he told The New Yorker in 2020. “But once I started writing songs, it just sounded country. And I was like, well, I guess I’ll sing country music, because this is the life I know.”


Following his appearance on The Voice, Wallen relocated to Nashville, Tennessee, to further his career. With Serg Sanchez of Atom Smash, he formed a temporary band called Morgan Wallen & Them Shadows. Sanchez brought Wallen to officials at Panacea Records, who signed him in 2015 and funded an EP called Stand Alone as well as the single “Spin You Around.”

Big Loud Records announced in August 2016 that it had signed the then-23-year-old Wallen, who continues to collaborate with music producer Joey Moi. Wallen’s debut single with the label, “The Way I Talk,” was released the same year.

In April 2018, he released his debut studio album, If I Know Me. It peaked at number 20 on the Billboard 200 and featured the singles “Up Down” with Florida Georgia Line and “Whiskey Glasses.” In 2019, he reached No. 1 on the Country Airplay chart and No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100, his highest triumph to date. That same year, Wallen went on tour with Florida Georgia Line. When the Country Music Association recognized Wallen New Artist of the Year at the November 2020 CMA Awards, he solidified his place as one of the genre’s rising talents.

Wallen’s reputation skyrocketed after the release of his second studio album, Dangerous: The Double Album, in January 2021. According to Billboard, the album opened at No. 1 and had the highest streaming week ever for a country album. It included songs like “7 Summers” and “Wasted on You,” which charted at Nos. 6 and 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively.

Superstardom with One Thing at a Time

Dangerous proved to have staying power, as the album spent its 86th nonconsecutive week in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 in September 2022, the most ever. The previous record, which stretched back to the early 1960s, was held by Peter, Paul, and Mary for their self-titled album.

But Wallen wasn’t content with his accomplishment. In May 2022, he released “You Proof.” The song became Wallen’s most successful chart entry to date, peaking at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Thought You Should Know” premiered on the Billboard Hot 100 that same month and peaked at No. 7 over a year later.

Wallen had previously released his 36-track album One Thing at a Time and had begun a (since-extended) 65-show global tour at the time. The March 2023 album was an instant hit, rapidly topping the Billboard 200 and propelling the song “Last Night” to the top of the singles list. Four more songs—”You Proof,” “Thought You Should Know,” “Thinkin’ Bout Me,” and the title track—entered the top ten at the same time, making Wallen responsible for half of it. Only Taylor Swift, The Beatles, 21 Savage, Drake, and Juice WRLD had done it before.

Wallen, unsurprisingly, won the Academy of Country Music Award for Male Artist of the Year in May 2023. Months later, in September, he was nominated for three CMA Awards for One Thing at a Time: Entertainer of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, and Album of the Year.

Racial Slur and Other Controversies

While Wallen is best known for his singing, he has also made headlines for a couple of off-stage events. He was arrested in May 2020 on accusations of public intoxication and disorderly behavior after an altercation at Kid Rock’s bar and steakhouse in Nashville, Tennessee.

Wallen was set to appear as a musical guest on an episode of the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live in October 2020. However, in the days preceding up to the performance, videos of Wallen drinking shots, kissing fans, and failing to follow social distancing norms after a football game at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa surfaced on social media.

Due to show regulations implemented in the aftermath of the COVID-19 epidemic, SNL replaced Wallen with The White Stripes frontman Jack White. Wallen apologized for his actions and, two months later, made light of himself and the incident in a skit with actor Jason Bateman during his rescheduled appearance on the show.

Then, in February 2021, TMZ released a video of Wallen shouting the N word and other profanities outside his Nashville house after a night out with friends. Wallen swiftly apologized for using the slur, but he was removed from certain radio stations’ and streaming services’ playlists. He was also disqualified from the 2021 ACM Awards and was dropped by his label, Big Loud, for a time.

Wallen gave his first interview since the event to ABC’s Good Morning America in July, saying he didn’t mean to use the term in a pejorative way. “I was around some of my friends, and we say dumb stuff together. In our minds, it’s playful. That sounds ignorant, but that’s really where it came from. And it’s wrong,” Wallen said, adding that he and his friends had been drinking leading up to the exchange. Wallen said he had donated $500,000 from his album sales—which spiked following the backlash—to organizations such as the Black Music Action Coalition and spent a month in rehab in San Diego. “I spent some time… you know, just trying to figure it out… why am I acting this way? Do I have an alcohol problem? Do I have a deeper issue?” he explained.

More recently, Wallen disappointed fans in April 2023 when he canceled a gig at the University of Mississippi minutes before it was scheduled to begin due to a voice problem. A few weeks later, the singer claimed that physicians had advised him to take extended vocal rest due to wounded vocal cords and vocal fold stress. He later postponed six weeks of his One Night at a Time World Tour. In late June, he returned to the stage at Chicago’s Wrigley Field.

Personal Life

In 2017, Wallen allegedly began dating Katie “KT” Smith. The couple dated on and off throughout 2019, even getting engaged, but eventually parted. Indigo Wilder is their son.

Indigo, or “Indie,” was born in Nashville, Tennessee in July 2020. Despite the fact that the singer and Smith had divorced at that point, Wallen has stated that the two try their best as co-parents. His parents also traveled from Tennessee to assist with Indigo’s care. “I just hope to give him as sound advice as my parents gave me and show him love and let him know that I’m here for him and that I’m his friend,” Wallen told People in January 2021.

Indigo was brought to the hospital in June 2023 after being bitten in the face by Smith’s dog, Legend. According to Smith, who was looking to re-home the animal, he had sutures but was well.

Wallen also began dating model and influencer Paige Lorenze in 2021. According to rumors, the pair split up in February 2022, just a few weeks after making their romance public.

Wallen was said to be dating fellow country singer Megan Moroney as of June 2023. Moroney, on the other hand, refused to confirm or deny a connection in an interview with People, claiming the dating rumors made her “really uncomfortable.”

Net Worth

Wallen’s overall net worth is predicted to be around $12 million as of July 2023 by Celebrity Net Worth.

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