All Smiles with Katey Morley

Photo Credit: Ally May Chadwick


Whether she’s at home in her small scene in Toronto or dreaming of heading to Nashville, one thing’s for certain…it’s that Katey Morley is doing her thing with her country meets alternative sound. We talked about finding her place at home, Dolly Parton, her latest single “Noah,” and much more…

Kendra: How is the alternative country scene up in Toronto?

Katey Morley: Toronto is an amazing place to be a musician, and I’d love to say “the alt-country scene is GREAT,” but in truth, I feel like Toronto (and maybe Canada as a whole) doesn’t really have much use for the term “alt-country.” Most of the artists that I would consider like me, “alt-country/folk,” are usually labeled “folk” which isn’t really quite right. I actually had to choose “traditional folk” as my genre for iMusic, which makes me feel like such a fraud.

I like the term “Americana” as a description for my sound, except that I’m Canadian. I have been trying to start a thing for “Canadiana” as a genre, which feels right. The only problem is that it’s never a choice on the pop-up menus, and people might not know what I mean, #canadiana #singersongwriterproblems

Kendra: Have you ever thought about making the move to Nashville?

Katey: I am DYING to go to Nashville! I think about it a lot. I have a few friends that have made the move there, and who are having some success as songwriters, and I am dripping with envy! I have to stay in Toronto for now, for my family, so relocating is not an option, but I love traveling, and if I could somehow do it part-time, I’d do it in a heartbeat! Plus, I want to go to Dollywood so badly!

Kendra: Now your single “Noah” has a pretty interesting story on which it’s based; a boy who’s both cruel and beautiful that smiles to get his way. Was that based on anyone in particular?

Katey: Unfortunately, yes, it was a guy that I briefly dated a long time ago, whose name was not actually Noah. He was so handsome that it took me a while to realize there was nothing going on beneath the surface, and that he was pretending to be someone totally other than who he really was. It was a real lesson for me! I changed the name because I didn’t want him to know he had gotten to me and because his actual name was very unmusical. When I was writing it, I initially used the pseudonym “Simon,” but it morphed into “Noah.”

Kendra: I mean we all have a little Noah in us. I definitely use my smile when I can. Can you recall a time when your smile may’ve gotten you what your heart desired?

Katey: I am pretty smiley, naturally, unless I’m in a rare bad mood – so I like to imagine most of the good things that have happened to me are because I smiled at someone! Having said that, I have noticed I also have bitchy-resting-face syndrome! So it’s a good thing I smile a lot. A smile goes a lot farther in situations where you are asking for something, so I definitely use it whenever possible, even if sometimes for selfish purposes.

Kendra: When it comes to your upcoming release, were your personal expectations all met?

Katey: Because I have released the double EP in two halves, I learned from the (many) mistakes I made when releasing the first half, and am seeing a little more traction in the second half, which will be released at the end of this month. I have realized some of my dreams (my parents finally got to hear me on the radio, and that was a BIG DEAL), but the further I go, the more I feel like I‘m at the bottom of a long ladder, looking up.

The best feelings so far have been seeing people singing along to songs when I play and getting messages from strangers about how my music affected them. I have great hopes for the next few releases, and while I’m trying to be realistic with my expectations, I have always been a dreamer and an optimist, so my fingers are crossed that I might find a manager or a small record or publishing company to take me on, or place my music in film/tv. I definitely have a couple more albums in me and would like to find a way to make them happen.

Kendra: Time for a little game called Duet, Tour, Cover. Out of Barbra Streisand, Dolly Parton and The Police which would you want to duet with, tour with and simply just cover?

Katey: Tough choices! Duet with Sting because Barbra is too intimidating and because STING; tour with Barbra because nobody should even try to sing her music; cover Dolly because I love her songwriting the most (even though I think she’d be the most fun to tour with)!

Kendra: Speaking of touring, do you have any plans to hit the road this summer?

Katey: I have a few weekend tours planned and am hoping to play some festivals, but nothing outside of Toronto confirmed yet, other than Mad River Rocks in Singhampton on Aug 19th.

Kendra: Summer is all about road trips for many people. If you were put in charge of the music, what five songs would have to be on your road trip mix?

Katey: This is so hard!
Baby Did a Bad Thing”- Chris Isaac
Horse With No Name” – Seelenluft
The Shell” – Rose Cousins
Magalenha” – Sergio Mende
Drawn To the Rhythm” – Sarah McLachlan


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