Singer/songwriter. Self-starter. Musician. Mortician.
Nathan Morris has never been afraid to blur the boundaries between genre and discipline. A pop singer-songwriter with an entrepreneurial background, he has blazed one of the most unique career paths in modern-day music. It’s a path that includes hit podcasts, acclaimed piano ballads, and even a thriving chain of funeral homes, all tied together by a lifelong creator who proudly embraces the unconventional.
He turns a new page with “Yet,” a soulful single about long goodbyes and lingering memories. For a funeral director who’s overseen countless services, Morris is all too familiar with the painful experience of saying farewell to loved ones. “I wrote it about that ‘I’m not ready to go yet’ moment, where you realize this is the last time you’ll physically see your loved one on earth,” he says of the song. “There’s beauty and sadness to be found in the process of letting someone go. I want my music to be authentic, to be real, to mean something, and that’s why there’s so much truth to a song like ‘Yet.'”
Morris began working at his first funeral home in 2010, the same year he won the Indie Charts Independent Artist of the Year Award. At the time, he was riding a wave of critical acclaim and commercial accolades for “Closure,” the soulful single that launched his songwriting career several years earlier. A piano-driven song about painful endings and new beginnings, “Closure” appeared on his debut record, A Gentleman’s Closure, in 2007. The song didn’t just earn radio airplay from coast to coast; it went international, too, with Starbucks adding the track to its in-store playlists across America and Canada.
“Not long before that, I’d been living in the closet of a sound equipment warehouse in Thomasville, North Carolina,” remembers Morris, a Kentucky native who’d moved to North Carolina after graduation. “I had nothing, but I did have the vision of what I wanted to do. I’ve never lost sight of that. It’s my rags to riches story. You can lay down and accept your fate, or you can rewrite the script.”
He rewrote his own script in Kentucky, having been brought back home by the woman who would soon become his wife. Joining the staff of a funeral home owned by his future father-in-law, Morris saw a chance to celebrate life while administering the same level of exemplary care he’d previously given to his audience. He climbed the company ladder, became CEO, and expanded his operations to include 10 funeral homes, a monument company, a vault company, and more. Meanwhile, he never lost sight of his original muse: music.
“I’ve always loved pop music,” says Morris, who grew up listening to Boyz II Men’s stacked harmonies and Jon Secada’s sweeping vocals. “I’m honing a new sound right now. Imagine Billie Eilish, Charlie Puth, and Shawn Mendes sitting together at the same bar, and this sound is what happens. It’s the soundtrack of those three people getting together: a vulnerable, unique sound that’s worth repeated listens.”
Produced by longtime collaborator Nathan Walters, Nathan Morris’ upcoming album arrives on the heels of Covers, Vol. 1, which found him saluting the pop singers and genre-benders who came before him. This time, he showcases not only his elastic voice, but his songwriting chops, too. The album also highlights Morris’ time-management skills, with the musician recording his parts during breaks in his busy weekday schedule. “We have an incredible studio above one of our funeral homes,” he explains, “and I’d track my vocals whenever inspiration came.”
He didn’t have to look far for inspiration. The Covid-19 pandemic brought sweeping change to the entire world, but it hit the funeral industry particularly hard. “It was a time where everyone was experiencing some kind of loss — the loss of a job, the loss of inspiration, maybe even the loss of a loved one — and we were in the thick of that,” he remembers. “It was overwhelming to work at a funeral home, experiencing not only the sadness of the people we serve, but also the relentlessness of the people I served alongside. It inspired the whole record.”
These are pop songs about gut-wrenching reality, stacked high with R&B textures, climactic vocal hooks, and the resilience of a man who’s never stopped pushing himself. He’s now a genuine TikTok star with more than 250,000 subscribers, as well as a successful podcast host whose weekly series, “You’ll Die Trying,” averages more than 10,000 downloads per episode. As the world changes, Nathan Morris continues to evolve alongside it, finding new ways to spread his music and message.
“I meld the worlds of funerals and music because they go hand-in-hand,” he explains. “That may seem odd, but how do we celebrate when we’re attending a visitation or memorial? We play songs. Songs are what solidify particular moments in our lives. Where were you when you heard this song? Who were you with when you heard that song? You remember those things forever, and music helps bind it all together. I’m exposed to that reality every day, and that’s where these songs come from.”