We are shedding a Spotlight on New York City-born/raised singer Morley! She is releasing the first single, "Hard to Stop," off of her upcoming album Follow the Sound. Morley does incredible work helping children and trauma victims. She is an advocate for survivors of war and conflict, and uses art as a way to transcend the atrocities. Morley dives into her process, inspirations, and collaborations with the likes of Meryl Streep, Yo-Yo Ma, and more!
New York City-born/raised singer Morley lives and breathes the pulse of the city with her luminous voice taking center stage on her renowned catalog of recordings. On September 27, 2024, Morley shares the next chapter in an acclaimed career with the release of a new full-length studio album, Follow The Sound, co- produced with Chris Bruce (producer of Lizz Wright's Shadow and Meshell Ndegeocello's forthcoming sophomore Blue Note Records album, No More Water: The Gospel of James Baldwin).
Morley has garnered an array of accolades including awards from The New York Times and ASCAP, as well as being a featured performer and speaker at TED Women and TED X. Her original song "Sea of Oms" has hit over 8 million streams on Spotify, and her songs have also appeared on network television shows such as Days of Our Lives, General Hospital, Dawson's Creek, and Felicity.

Who is Morley?

Morley weaves the threads of jazz, soul, and folk traditions into a singular tapestry of vocal and acoustic splendor -- the sound wave of a life lived with steadfast devotion to human rights and environmental justice. Her take on Americana music embraces a uniquely metropolitan state of mind born out of her New York City upbringing.

First a student at the United Nations International School (Parkway Village, Jamaica Queens), she later attended the Duke Ellington High School for the Performing Arts (Washington, D.C.) During her teenage years in D.C, Morley found refuge in the homes of an international community of friends. Her experience of living within a wide range of cultures -- from Korean, Polish, Nigerian, and more -- shaped her world view, lyrical content, and sound.

Morley went on to receive full scholarship to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and began choreography before becoming a fulltime musician. Her original piece, Mother Nature, became part of the student repertoire for Alvin Ailey's Techniques and Performance touring Ensemble, that led to her choreography with legendary drummer Max Roach for the 30th Anniversary of his album, We Insist! (featuring percussion and human rights icon Babatunde Olatunji), forming an impressionable lifelong journey with music as well as mentorship from Babatunde Olatunji.

Borderless Lullabies and K-I-N-D

Over the course of releasing seven studio albums, Morley's traveled the world singing with and for visionaries on the frontiers of social change, moving minds and spirits as diverse as His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, and entrepreneur Richard Branson's global solutions gatherings, Virgin Unite. Morley uses music as a tool for trauma healing when working with survivors of human trafficking, war, and those affected by the perils of climate change. Morley spearheaded the 2019 release of the benefit album, Borderless Lullabies, which continues to raise funds for K-I-N-D (Kids In Need Of Defense) -- Morley is one of the featured artists along with Yo-Yo Ma, Esperanza Spalding, Meryl Streep, Rosanne Cash, among others.

The KIND staff and their pro-bono attorney partners at law firms, corporations, and law schools nationwide represent unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children in their deportation proceedings. Together, they ensure that no child stands in court alone. The majority of the children KIND serves have fled severe violence in their home countries. Many have been threatened or attacked by gangs, abandoned, abused, exploited, or trafficked. They come seeking safety, but find new challenges in the U.S.

In regard to Borderless Lullabies, Morley said,

KIND came to my attention through playwright and activist Eve Ensler, who visited the border with KIND last month. Her heartbreaking account of what she witnessed emboldened me to find a way to take action with the mightiest tools I know: music, and the power of our collective voices.

May this offering be of service and may we realize that we are each other's only home, protect the babies, respect the cultures, and end race hatred and bigotry.

Follow the Sound 

A lauded career for the New York City vocalist continues with the June 21st release of "It's Hard To Stop," the first look into her forthcoming album, Follow The Sound. Letting fans into her world alongside her husband and rising music producer Chris Bruce, the two share a special performance on "It's Hard To Stop" with the Empire State Building peering through the windows. Composing the song in their apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan (a mere few blocks down the street from the studio where they shot the video), "It's Hard To Stop" is a reflection on the tenderness of the human condition.

Follow The Sound has contributions from Meshell Ndegeocello (bass), Shara Nova a.k.a. My Brightest Diamond (vocals), Toumani Diabaté (kora), Jon Cowherd (piano), Chris Bruce (guitar, bass), Arun & Trina Ramamurthy (violins), Jack DeBoe, Jay Bellerose and Abe Rounds (drums), and Cole Kamen (trumpet).

Get our free mobile app

"'It's Hard To Stop' arose from an improv, a stream of consciousness while Chris and I were playing in our apartment one night," says Morley. "Looking out the window at all those city lights got me thinking about all the dreams and tender hearts striving to have a beautiful life inside them, glimpses of our highest possibilities came to mind, and how hard it is to stop from wanting things to be different in the world than the way they are, right now."

"It's Hard To Stop" is an intimate portrait into the far-reaching sonic palate of Follow The Sound, which will have three additional singles released leading up to the release of Follow The Sound, including "Follow The Sound" (July 19), "Here In Love" (August 9), and "Where Are We" (September 4). An East and West Coast tour in select markets will commence in October 2024.

Previous Townsquare Spotlight Interviews

Gallery Credit: Conor Walsh