Editor’s Note: Craig Morgan has been hunting for 35 years, has been on the Mossy Oak Pro Staff for the last 4 years, hosts “Craig Morgan: All Access Outdoors” on the Outdoor Channel and is one of the nation’s top country-music song writers and recording artists. This week we’ll take a closer look at this man who wears the Mossy Oak brand.
In 1987, while I was stationed in Korea, I had some free time and started writing songs and playing my guitar to remember home, the music I had grown up with and my family. When I was at home, I didn’t realize it, but music was a major part of my life. When I was stationed away from home, this is when the music inside me became important. Writing songs and playing music helped me go back to middle Tennessee in my mind and enjoy hunting, fishing and family. I started playing and singing for my army buddies all the time. I wrote hundreds of songs, while I was in the military.
When I came back home, I was stationed in Fort Polk Louisiana at the Joint Readiness Training Center. I was a forward observer evaluator, and we got a lot of 4-day weekends. I wrote songs with other writers, but song writing, singing and playing the guitar were still just hobbies for me. Then I started trying to get a song publishing deal, like some of the people I was writing songs with had. This is how it worked. To get a song publishing deal, I’d sing the demos of the songs I wanted the publishers to publish for me. Publishers then would take the demos to record companies. I was fortunate enough to have one of my demo songs heard by the general manager of Atlantic Records, and he called and offered me a record deal.
I had left the military to pursue the song writing business but never really considered being a country and western artist (singer). I was really surprised and excited when I got a record deal and realized that singing and writing songs would enable me to make more money. I thought I could become a singer, and that would be a great profession. But if I couldn’t make it, I wouldn’t lose anything by trying, because I was already working as a songwriter.
Many people think that when you get a record deal that the dollars come rolling in, however, the opposite is true. When you're a new artist, you hardly make any money at all. I made more money 2 years before I became a singer, than I did 2 years after I became a singer. I didn’t just jump straight out of the army into the music business. I stayed in the active reserve, while I was writing songs and trying to become a recording artist.
The first couple of years I did tours to radio stations to promote my songs and my records. Although the record label covered all my expenses, I wasn’t making any keeping money. But I was in the recording studio quite a bit making demos for myself and other song writers. I was able to make a little bit of money doing that. Once I started the radio station tours, I didn’t have as much time in the studios, as I did when I was just a song writer. You don’t unless you win a major TV talent show, like “American Idol,” “The Voice” or shows like that, that launches your singing career quickly. Earning a living as a songwriter and singer is an uphill battle. I was really fortunate that my family and I didn’t have a very expensive standard of living. I had been singing for the label for about 3 years, before I could start buying tractors and other kinds of equipment.
I’ve been married for 26 years to my wife, Karen, who always has been extremely supportive. She knew that I could make a living as a song writer. However, she wasn’t particularly excited about my leaving the army and all the benefits that the military provided to try and become a country music songwriter and singer.
To learn more about Craig Morgan and his concerts and to see the photos and videos of him in concert, his touring schedule, and him hunting, go to his webpage at www.craigmorgan.com or http://outdoorchannel.com/craig-morgans-all-access-outdoors. Also, you can check out his Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/CraigMorganAllAccessOutdoors or https://www.facebook.com/craigmorganmusic or go to Twitter at https://twitter.com/cmorganmusic.