Meet This Girl Morgan St. Jean


On her background

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I grew up in a beautiful little beach town called Manhattan Beach, but I went to high school all the way in the Valley.

I went to college at USC and was in a super cool program called the Popular Music Program. While I was there, I got to take so many amazing songwriting and performance classes  where I really honed my craft.

On what she’s up to

I'm currently working in the music industry. I'm an artist and a songwriter. I spend most of my days in sessions writing or recording, and then of course performing as much as possible!

I've been working towards a career in music for pretty much my entire life.

I went to college knowing that I wanted music to be my career, and I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to study it. Throughout college, I had a bunch of internships working at a number of record labels and publishers and I got a great education on what happens on the business side of the industry.

On the most exciting part of what she does

For me, being an artist has always been about performing. Not to be dramatic, but I feel like singing heals my soul. If I don't sing for too many days I get depressed. Being able to perform in front of people is the most special thing in the world to me.

On the most difficult aspect of what she does

My whole life I was warned that the music industry is brutal, but I didn't really understand why until I became a part of it. I think the hardest part is the feeling of rejection. Music is so personal and you put your whole heart into something just so that the world can judge it. It's hard because even if you have 100 voices telling you that they love what you're doing, the one voice that says they don’t is always the loudest. I've had to work really hard to learn that I should just listen to my own voice.

On the biggest challenge she’s encountered in her career so far

I think one of the biggest challenges of being an artist is always beating what you did last. When I was in college, I released a song that unexpectedly did very well for me. It was incredibly random because I put it out completely on my own without any strategy behind it. When I went to put out my next song, I felt so much pressure. I was so afraid that I'd never make anything that people liked as much as they liked that song. I'm learning that the fear of having 'peaked' is completely normal and that all you can do is keep creating.

On a day in her life

I actually have a pretty specific routine that I find really helps me stay focused. I wake up right when my alarm goes off and I have a journal that I keep next to my bed. I do this thing called Morning Pages which is a technique that is supposed to help get your creativity flowing and wake up your brain. For the first two pages, I just free write about anything. Then on the third page I make a list of things I'm grateful for, a list of goals for the day, and then I write my affirmations.

After I journal I usually work out. I do a lot of yoga, sometimes I run, play tennis or take a workout class.

When I come home from my workout I typically do vocal exercises while I'm in the shower and then I'm ready for the day!

For the past little while I've been in a writing phase, so most of my days are spent in sessions. I typically schedule meetings earlier in the day before my sessions or, if I don't have a meeting, I'll go to a coffee shop and just catch up on emails before I head into a session.

While I've been in this writing phase I've been trying to play as many small acoustic shows as possible to test out my new music on an audience. Those shows are usually at night so I'll just go straight to that from whatever session I'm in.

On what inspires her

I'm really inspired by people and their authenticity. Humans are so complicated. Most of us are fucked up in more ways than one. I just love to talk/write/sing about humanity constantly.

On how she recharges

I have the most incredible family and friends. Spending time with them is super important to me. I also love being outdoors!

On a rule she tries to live by

My dad always taught me to "fake it ‘till you make it." I think especially as a woman in a creative industry, people will try to devalue you or make you feel like you're not good enough. The “fake it ‘till you make it” mindset helps me walk into a room with confidence.

On something people would be surprised to learn about her

I speak fluent Spanish! People are always super surprised by that.

On where she sees herself in five years

In 5 years I see myself touring and continuing to make music every single day. I would love to have put out and toured a full length album by then!

On an accomplishment she’s proud of

I'm really proud that I've never given up on my dreams. The music industry can be incredibly discouraging, but I am  proud that I'm still going at it.

On the three traits she’s most proud to possess

I would say that I'm very passionate. When I care about something or someone, I care with my whole heart.

I'm very resilient. This goes back to the idea that I'm still working towards my goals every single day no matter how hard it gets.

Lastly, I'd say that I'm emotional. This is something that I didn't always view as a positive. I thought that I was overly emotional and I really judged myself for it. However, in recent years I've started to view this trait as my super power. The fact that I'm so sensitive and emotional is what makes me a good artist.

On a career goal

I want to win a grammy (or more than one!)

On what she would do differently if she got a do-over

I don't think I'd really do anything differently except maybe start writing more songs earlier. About a year ago, I was challenged to write 50 songs in 100 days. That got me into the habit of writing every single day. I learned to stop judging myself and to just accept that a lot of songs that I wrote during this challenge wouldn’t be great. I wish I had challenged myself to write more years ago!


 On the best piece of advice she ever received

My parents taught me to treat everyone that I encounter with respect. They always said that it doesn't matter how much power or money someone has, it doesn't matter what they do, everyone deserves your respect and kindness. I try to always remember that.

On the worst piece of advice she ever received

I think the worst piece of advice I have ever received was to try and be somebody that I wasn’t. Especially in music, there are so many people who will try to encourage you to mold yourself into whatever is cool or trendy at the moment. Ignore those people.

On how she stays motivated

I always remind myself that while there are so many external factors I can't control, the one thing I can control is the effort I put into my music. I am obsessed with being the hardest working person in the room. I think hard work leads to an extraordinary life.

On the biggest challenge women face today

Girls today are in a tough spot. We are expected to do it all and have it all. So many girls I know want to have massive careers and aren't sure if they want a family, while some of my friends can’t wait to get married and raise kids. Sometimes it feels like whatever choice a woman makes, she can’t win. My advice to women today is to ignore anyone who makes you doubt your life choices.  

Her advice to a girl on her way

Enjoy the journey. Life is short. One of my favorite quotes is “happiness is a journey, not a destination.”  As someone who is super goal-oriented and future focused, it's can be hard to enjoy the little wins. I'm slowly getting better at it..

Photographed by Morey Spellman in Los Angeles, September 2018

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