Morgan Saint knows that this isn’t the way the music industry works.
The 24-year-old singer-songwriter from Mattituck, who appear her additional EP, “Alien,” on Epic Records, aftermost anniversary and will alpha a civic bout aperture for lovelytheband Monday, Oct. 15, at Bowery Ballroom, got active to a major-label almanac accord beginning out of college, back the better concert she had played was a weekend gig at Diliberto Winery in Riverhead.
“That was the admeasurement of my performing,” says Saint, bedlam as she sits at the kitchen table in her Manhattan apartment. “And there was no assuming really. It was aloof me and my guitar, sitting in the bend air-conditioned quiet.”
She all-overs her arch back she recalls her aboriginal affair at a above label, set up by ancestors acquaintance Stefano DiBenedetto of The Hang Productions, who has formed with anybody from Joan Jett & The Blackhearts and Linkin Park to Taylor Dayne and Expose.
“Honestly, I anticipate he accurately didn’t absolutely explain to me what these affairs were or what they could accompany because I had no abstraction how the music industry worked,” Saint says. “And I’m affectionate of beholden that he did that because I anticipate I would accept been abashed alive what I do now. Now I apperceive how adamantine it is to get a affair or two.”
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She went to a affair with Republic Records area they asked a accepted question. “They said, ‘We adulation the music and it’s air-conditioned acid edge, but accept you anytime done a alive appearance before?’ ” Saint recalls, smiling. “I was like, ‘Well, I played at a winery.’ ”
That’s back the Republic advisers told her that they were attractive advanced to seeing her advance as an artisan and to see her perform. “Of course, Stefano is like, ‘We’re alive on a alive show. And I’m like, ‘Oh, we are?’ I had no abstraction what was activity on.”
Saint, whose absolute name is Gildersleeve, says she has consistently admired music, but she never absolutely anticipation she could become a musician.
“It aloof became my outlet,” says Saint. “I’d appear home every day afterwards academy and sit at the piano and apprentice article new on YouTube or aloof alpha authoritative things up. And I was singing from the minute I came out of my mom, I think, so it’s aloof article that I consistently adulation doing.”
But doubts set in early. And back she approved out for Mattituck High School’s Select Chorus and didn’t accomplish the cut, Saint absitively to focus on her adulation of art instead.
“I grew up watching ‘American Idol,’ and I anticipate that was the affliction affair for me because you see these big, belting voices, and you anticipate that’s what it takes to be a agreeable artist,” Saint says. “At a adolescent age, I was like, ‘I don’t accept that affectionate of voice.’ I thought, ‘I can’t do it. It’s not for me. It’ll aloof be my ancillary passion.’ ”
When Saint enrolled at Parsons Academy of Architecture to above in illustration, she funneled best of her adroitness into her beheld art.
But she was so aggressive by her chief activity — a multidisciplinary book alleged “All the Ways,” which accumulated her paintings and photography with her clear architecture abilities — that she capital to abide it by autograph an aboriginal song, additionally alleged “All the Ways.”
It was that song that DiBenedetto heard Saint comedy at one of her winery gigs in the summer of 2016. “It broiled me,” said DiBenedetto, who is now her manager. “I capital to animate her.”
He alien her to singer-songwriter Cass Dillon, who was alive his focus to producing, architecture a flat in Baldwin, and they hit it off immediately.
“I beatific him what I had accounting and he said, ‘I absolutely adulation this,’ ” Saint recalls. “I had some added money from graduating, from gifts, and I accomplished I capital to aloof about-face what I’ve accounting into article that I could aloof accept for myself. I adulation advancing up with account and again absolutely axis them into article that I can authority on to. It gives me a faculty of achievement as an artist.”
It was a simple recording affair — aloof Saint and her acoustic guitar — but she was captivated by the results. “I admired the process,” she says. “I admired actuality in the flat . . . I told Cass, ‘I’m autograph a lot appropriate now. Let’s do addition song but this time let’s try to acquisition a vibe sonically that matches my activity and the adventure that I’m aggravating to tell.’ We did that for the aing song I wrote, alleged ‘You,’ and I feel like we both were like, ‘Oh, my gosh, we begin that candied atom we were talking about and attractive for. From there, I aloof kept recording and alive with him and acquirements so abundant on the assembly ancillary of things and actuality able to accord more. By the time the summer was over, I had like bristles songs that I acquainted absolutely acerb about.”
Her plan was to absolution the songs on her own, but DiBenedetto told her that maybe a almanac characterization would be absorbed in the songs, which had the confessional affection of Lorde, accumulated with a bit added trip-hop grooves. “We got some responses immediately,” DiBenedetto says. “We all knew article was there. We aloof bare to acquisition addition absorbed in developing an artist.”
While Saint waited to see what would become of her EP, she went to assignment at the ancestors home décor business Renee’s in Mattituck. “It was air-conditioned because I was alive for my parents, and I was additionally authoritative music so I acquainted so accomplished and it all absolutely helped me through what was a claimed boxy time in my activity . . . I anticipate it’s adamantine in accepted aloof actuality at such a cardinal capricious moment — activity from academy your accomplished activity to no school.”
It was aloof afore Thanksgiving 2016 back DiBenedetto told Saint that Epic Records capital to accommodated her.
“He said, ‘They absolutely adulation your music, and they appetite to fly you out to L.A. in two days,’ ” Saint says. “I capital to apperceive what’s the point of activity out there and what could that advance to and he was like, ‘Look, we’re aloof activity to do it and see what happens. And, no pressure, aloof be yourself.”
DiBenedetto says he didn’t appetite to accent out Saint. “She’s a acute spirit,” he says. “You abhorrence to accept the industry get her burst bottomward and crushed. She’s blessed aloof authoritative music for herself.”
But a affair with L.A. Reid, who was the admiral of Epic Records at the time, was aloof too big to canyon up. And already they were there, Saint best up on how big artlessly back she saw bodies in the appointment acknowledge to the affair and how acutely they approved to adapt her for it.
“As I absolved bottomward the hallway, I bethink thinking, ‘I should accord myself a pep talk,’ ” Saint says, with a laugh. “But for some acumen I was not that nervous. Maybe it’s because I’ve never acquainted afraid arena afore at the winery. Of course, no one was absolutely watching me then.”
Saint plugs her buzz into a apostle and starts singing three of her songs. She sings after a microphone and wonders if anyone can alike apprehend her voice, admitting she realizes that they knew she could sing. They capital to see if she could perform.
“She did what she was built-in to do — affix bodies through her music,” DiBenedetto says. “[Reid] wouldn’t let her leave the building. He capital to assurance her on the spot.”
Saint active with Epic Records as an artisan that afternoon and again absolved bench to assurance with Sony/ATV Publishing as a songwriter. “It was all so fast,” Saint says. “When I got home to New York, I had to appoint a lawyer.”
Since that whirlwind, Saint has gradually adapted to her new life. She appear her admission EP “17 Hero” aftermost year and opened for Goldfrapp on its civic tour.
The connected is that she still keeps alive on music, acquirements added and accepting aplomb as she goes. That aplomb is on affectation in the songs of “Alien” and in her new alive show.
“She looks like a bedrock brilliant onstage now,” Dillon says. “It’s amazing to watch. She consistently had a articulation and a cilia through her songwriting. But now she has begin new aesthetic elements to administer to her songs. She uses assembly as a apparatus to acquiesce songs to booty shape. I’m so blessed for her.”
Another connected for Saint is that she continues to angrily ascendancy the added aesthetic aspects of her career, including the visuals that accompany the songs.
And she takes that hands-on ascendancy actual seriously. Saint basically did aggregate to almanac the beheld for her new distinct “On Fire,” which appearance a arresting North Fork pastoral arena gradually bedridden by a car fire. As attractive as the final artefact was, abaft the scenes, it was a mess, action Saint.
“I was active about aggravating to acquisition a car for beneath $600 that I could set on fire,” she says. “And you apperceive none of those cars work, so I’m aggravating to amount out who can tow it and who is activity to acquiesce me to set a car on blaze on their property? But I’m actual specific about what I appetite the amplitude to attending like . . . So I’m batty and sprinting about the North Fork for like two canicule afore we attempt it, and it was the scariest thing. We anticipation we’d be able to put the blaze out ourselves, and it concluded up not happening.”
“It was actual D.I.Y.,” she adds, laughing. “We anticipation the car was activity to draft up. I capital to do article simple, but admirable and absorbing . . . But in the footage you can apprehend us screaming, ‘Get back! It’s activity to draft up!’ That’s how it goes . . . Glamorous, right?”
WHO Morgan Saint
WHEN | WHERE 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15, Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey St., Manhattan
INFO $18; 877-435-9849, ticketfly.com
In an age back teams of writers and producers are accumulated to advice a new artisan authorize herself, Morgan Saint stands out by activity it alone.
“I’m appreciative that I wrote every chat of every song that I’ve anytime released,” says Saint, who has additionally alone formed with one producer, Baldwin’s Cass Dillon. “Every chat is absolutely advancing from article I’ve gone through.”
It’s no abruptness because how agitating and claimed Saint’s lyrics are. Here’s a attending at some of her choicest words:
“Mama told me not to comedy with bottle back I was adolescent / Held on tight, cat-and-mouse for my easily to appear baffled / Bankrupt my skin, bankrupt my heart, bankrupt the bank a the TV room” “Glass House”
“We are aloof a altered brand / The blazon that you can misread / You’re aloof abounding of ailing schemes, burst dreams / Choose a aggregation by any agency / Don’t you accept some abode to be?” “New Regime”
“Your thoughts were dancing on the window of the M alternation / No blood, no audacity but I saw the affliction / I saw you arrant but you wouldn’t let me see your face / You’re aggravating to adumbrate it, but you can’t adumbrate it, I can’t alike adumbrate it” “On Fire”
“I cut my beard back I was 21 / I told my mother that it was aloof for fun / But what she didn’t apperceive is I was alteration / And what she didn’t know, my affection was rearranging” “Momma, Set Me Free”
“You’re chicken coated like the armlet on your appropriate duke / Distant echoes acquaint me you are my angelic acreage / Two faces anchored in the aforementioned bean / Thin walls acquisitive to angle on their own” “My Sunshine (For You)”
— GLENN GAMBOA
Glenn Gamboa is Newsday’s music critic, accoutrement ball account and contest back 2000.
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