Morgan Saint is the honest artist that pop music desperately needs
Galore’s newest Cover Girl, Morgan Saint, is way more than just a singer – a recent graduate of Parsons for Graphic Design, Saint definitely has her plate full, producing as many visual art projects as she does musical.
Morgan Saint is an extremely hands-on artist. She writes dreamy, easy-to-dance-to, songs about love, and she also does all of her own creative direction and graphic design.
We sat down with Morgan to talk about everything from tattoos, her self-identity, awkward phases, and skincare. Check out the exclusive cover shoot and story below!
Self-identity and physical appearance have an imitate relationship – when did you start figuring out that an androgynous look was the most empowering for you, and what was the first step towards that or were you always drawn to that?
It’s always been a part of who I am. Growing up, I always gravitated towards sportswear. That’s always what made me feel most comfortable and most confident in my skin.
Did you ever go through an awkward phase and if so, how did you push through it?
Every time I look back, I realize that my my whole life has been an ongoing awkward phase. In the past, I didn’t realize I was searching for myself. I went to a super small high school. I’ve always been very independent and marched to the beat of my own drum.
It’s natural for a teenager to get a little lost in the idea of trying to fit in, to a certain extent. My awkward phase was probably lower teen years. I definitely look back and think of low rise jeans – I had a scene phase. I was also super into skate boarding, but I was pretty good!
You have a degree in Illustration and Graphic Design from Parsons. Were you doing music the entire time you were there? How did you make the switch?
I majored in Illustration and had to do a lot of photo work, but music has been a part of my life just as much as visual art has been – I started playing music in the second grade. It wasn’t something random I decided to pursue at the end of college. It has very much been a presence in my life.
I chose to go to school for visual arts because it felt safe and I had an equal interest in both. I happened to switch gears and focused more energy in to the music realm, although I haven’t shut off the visual art part of my mind. I’ve designed all my own album artwork, and anything visual with my face or name I have designed. I direct my own music videos, as well.
Which mode of creating comes more naturally to you and why?
I think it’s all intertwined. In my mind they work so closely together. They really help one another out.
What films and arts do you turn to specifically to get inspiration?
A lot of my inspiration comes from photographs. I love Harley Weir, but it’s all over the board.
What albums or music do you turn to flip your mood around?
I don’t listen to much music. I don’t do this on purpose – I turn more to visual arts because I want to remain in my own lane. It helps me to rely on visual art to inspire my music and the other way around.
My most creative time is when I’m alone with my brain without any influence around. That’s when I come up with my best ideas. When I’m detached from the world around me, I find myself being most inspired.
What is your ideal outfit head to toe?
It depends on my mood, honestly. My ideal outfit would be comfortable. I don’t wear jeans a lot, because my go-to is more sporty. I’m also really into matching sets. I just bought a maroon vintage track suit with black striped detail. I love sneakers, and my go-tos are Vans.
My signature accessory is one earring – it’s my thing. Not a lot of people do that, and a lot of people think I’m weird. I’m really into rings and I have a lot of little tattoos on my fingers. Each one has a significant meaning to me – I’m really into symbols.
What are some of your favorite tattoos?
I don’t have any imagery on my body, it’s only numbers or words. I have the number 17 tattooed on my hand because it’s my lucky number. I also have the word “hero” written in someone’s handwriting who is super special to me. Everything has a meaning.
Your single, “You,” is a balance between genuine lyrics and a pop melody. How do you manage to create music that sounds top 40 without mindless lyrics?
That’s my ultimate goal. I listen to all types of music. I love pop because the catchiness is undeniable, but that exact catchiness is missing substance. I also really like alternative music, it’s creative and the words can be interesting, but it’s missing the catchiness that makes you want to keep listening.
I think, for me, I’m always trying to find that middle ground. I write all my music myself, and I’m always writing from a super personal place. I hope that intimacy is felt through my music and that it feels honest.
We think your hairstyle is badass: when, how, and why?
It was an evolution. I’m naturally blonde, and I had long blonde hair until college. I woke up one day and was sick of my blonde hair, so I dyed it jet black. I wasn’t into the long hair anymore either. I was always tucking hair behind my ears, so I figured, “Why don’t I get side burns?” Every time I go, I cut more off so it’s an evolving mullet – a random evolution.
If you could collaborate with one artist living or dead who would it be and why?
Kendrick Lamar. I know that is farfetched, but I admire him as an artist. His artistry goes beyond music. I feel like he sort of doesn’t create any boxes to put himself in.
Can you tell us a little bit about the song, “You”?
I wrote that song so long ago, so I can appreciate it for what it is. But, I feel like I’ve moved on so much from where I was at that time that I wrote it. I’m excited for the time when people will hear what I’ve been making more recently.
That was the first song I wrote with the intention of recording. It was a conversation of what I’ve gone through in the past two years, and that seemed like the first chapter of the story I’m telling throughout the album I’m about to release.
What kind of story are you telling?
To put into a few words, it has a lot to do with love, growing through relationships, and the idea of self-discovery and acceptance. It’s a lot of reflecting on my past and moving forward from that. The last two years of my life have been a really big time of figuring myself out. It all has to do with youth and love and how the two interact. In last couple of years, I’ve realized that finding yourself is so powerful in order to be happy and love other people.
Do you have any favorite beauty products that you use?
I’m a little bit of a junkie when it comes to that. I’m really into chapstick and lip balm. My lips are addicted to it! My favorite chapstick right now is balm dotcom by Glossier – it’s the best. It last forever, it smells really good, and the packaging is cute. My skin reacts best to natural products. I love makeup but I’m more of a “natural makeup” person. Also, I don’t wear a ton, but I love a good highlighter.
What city do you want to tour the most? Have you done a North American tour yet?
I did my own little headlining North American tour where I hit five cities in the East Coast and a bunch in the West Coast. I opened for BANKS in Arizona, which was super fun. I also opened for Goldfrapp, and that took me up the West Coast, and to all those cities I had never been to before. I loved Arizona because I’m really into warm weather. I’ve lived in New York and grew up here so I’m looking forward to playing legit New York shows sometime soon.
Photographer: Hannah Sider
Photographer Assistant: Ana
Stylist: Von Ford
Hair: David Cruz
Makeup: Alana Wright
Producer: Mercedes Mimran