Artist Snapshot: Charissa Morrison
Singer, songwriter, guitarist, Charissa Morrison is a hard working solo act putting in the stage time in our region, building a growing fan base with her beautiful voice, original compositions, and unique interpretations of modern songs. We caught up with her to discover the passions and motivations that keep music at the center of her life.
“My biggest inspiration comes from the people in my life. I have incredible family and friends who give me unending support and push me to keep going.”
“Music has always been a part of my life. I grew up in the Roanoke Valley in the church, as a pastor’s kid, and so I began singing at a very early age. I loved performing, and would hop up on stage and grab a microphone whenever I could! Singing was always my focus, and once I got to middle school I joined choir and stuck with that all the way through high school. In my teens, I picked up guitar and began playing and accompanying myself. I went on to study music in college and performed in a band during my time there.”
After a five-year stint in L.A., Morrison returned to the Roanoke Valley in 2014 with renewed perspective, “The years spent out there were pivotal in my evolution both personally and musically. I gained confidence in my guitar playing and started pushing myself creatively. Once I moved back, I really began playing in venues outside of the church and focusing on arranging and writing my own songs.”
Morrison is a versatile artist, weaving threads from such varied influences as George Gershwin songs to Adele, Billie Holiday to Lianne La Havas, and Johnny Cash to Brandi Carlile. She describes her style as “vocally driven, acoustic numbers with soul-filled twists.”
“I am a singer first and foremost, so everything I perform starts with that. I generally play acoustic guitar for my live shows, but have recently started to dip my toes into the electric realm as well. My church background certainly had an influence on my music, and I think is the root of the big voiced, soulful singing style I have today. I love the rawness you get from an acoustic sound as well, which I think comes from my roots here in the Blue Ridge.”
As an ever-evolving musician, Morrison continues to set goals for her herself, “I think a short term goal is getting some studio time in and getting some legit recordings done outside of just my own video uploads. I love the idea of adding some band mates, whether it is some percussion or other players, to add more depth to my act. I call this the Charissa Morrison PROJECT, because I am a work in progress that continues to grow and evolve. Hopefully, that will mean some additions to the band!”
Understanding the value of balancing hard work with the creative process, Morrison had this advice for aspiring artist, “Just keep playing wherever you can and push yourself to keep creating! Creative time is not a luxury for an artist, but a necessity and that is a lesson I continually have to remind myself of. Get outside of your comfort zone and you will begin to realize the great things you are really capable of. Insecurities can be crippling, and it kept me from pursuing things for many years, but fight that inner voice and share your gift! You won’t regret it!”
Morrison has been playing out virtually every weekend these last three months, so the next chance you’ll have to see her share her talents will be November 13th at Bad Wolf BBQ. Until then, you can see clips of her performing at her Facebook page.