Country music isn't just Maren Morris and husband Ryan Hurd's profession—it's what brought them together in the first place. The fellow musicians met during a songwriting session in 2013. Their relationship grew beyond collaborators and friends, until eventually they were one another's muse.
Since tying the knot in 2018, the couple's marriage has continued to serve as inspiration—including for Maren's new album, "Girl."
“I’ve been in this amazing relationship and I got married in the time that I’ve written and started recording this album,” Maren told Ikaroo.info last year. “The new record, it has a lot of love in it, I don't shy away from topics [like love], so I’m really excited for people to hear it."
The country artist, who gained crossover attention for her Grammy-nominated hit "The Middle,” said her husband is also her go-to guy for advice on the record, which she revealed was in the works .
"I really trust his opinion, especially if I have a new song that maybe we didn’t write together, I always play him the mix the second I get it back, because I really trust his ear,” Maren says. “I love that we’re such different artists… But he’s always been my biggest fan when it comes to my music and vice versa.”
How Maren Met Ryan
The couple's love story is a lot like a plot line from Nashville. The two met in 2013 while developing the Tim McGraw ballad “,” which came out the following year. After spending all day writing, they'd unwind at Music City bars like and or go out for pizza at .
Their working relationship soon developed into a deep friendship, which, eventually, blossomed into a romance. The very first time they told each other “I love you,” was at 3 Crow, a down-home bar with a great burger. Ryan—the writer behind Blake Shelton and Ashley Monroe's 2014 No. 1 hit "Lonely Tonight" — turned that special moment into his first single in 2017, “,” with lyrics:
"And the truth can't lie / And we've been saying it with our eyes the whole time / That you have my whole heart / Yeah, we found love in a bar."
“I feel like so many connections are made in those kinds of places,” Maren says. “When Ryan put out his song, and it was so well-received, people were like, ‘Oh my gosh, I met my husband in a bar and we fell in love at a bar, too!’ So, it was cool to hear people’s stories that were really similar to our own.”
Ryan recorded a second song about Maren, “Diamonds or Twine,” which he played for her the night he proposed in July 2017. Maren announced their engagement on Instagram with a photo showing off her unique rough-cut diamond ring.
Maren and Ryan's Wedding
One year later, they tied the knot in Nashville. After reciting self-written vows during the ceremony, the newly married husband and wife danced down the aisle to Wilson Phillips's "Hold On." They didn't want the big day to feel stuffy; they wanted it to feel like a party.
The laid-back event perfectly reflected their relationship, which Maren describes as fun-loving and not too serious. “I think that’s why I gravitated towards him in the beginning, because he’s such a dork and he makes me laugh and is, obviously, very good-looking!” she says. “We’re just always joking around and, I think, sometimes, you can take your job too seriously, especially [being] under a magnifying glass as an artist, so it’s nice to be with someone who gets exactly what you’re doing and can talk you down if you’re having a bad day and is just right there with you. He’s that for me.”
Maren and Ryan's Marriage
Today, the newlyweds live in a three-bedroom, three-bathroom house in Nashville, with their two dogs, a white German Shepherd named June, and an English Bulldog named Pancake.
Maren feels a sense of pride every time she talks about their home, which they bought a year ago: “I had just rented up until that point,” she says. “It was surreal to sign the deed, it was the first time I really looked at something that was such a great investment and I paid for it with my music.” It made her feel, she says, like a “real adult.”
Maren and Ryan worked with interior designer to perfect the space and make it a true reflection of their personal styles, “which is a little soft, but a little masculine,” Maren says. “We’ve got a lot of great reclaimed barn wood throughout our house and a great chef’s kitchen that [Ryan] loves using.”
Ryan does most of the cooking and “never misses the mark,” Maren says, especially when using his smoker to whip up salmon and vegetables and ribs.
Maren prefers to stay behind the bar and perfect the art of cocktail-making. She boasts to having already nailed a classic margarita. “I’m the drink girl and he makes the food,” she says. “It’s kind of a cute routine.” They sit in their backyard almost every night and watch movies or sports on a big projector screen while eating.
When they’re not smoking meat and sipping ‘ritas, the self-described “foodies” do date night at their favorite restaurants in Nashville. For tapas, they recommend a joint called . Their favorite pizza place is on the east side. They love the casual tacos at .
Eventually, they want children. But they’re not “in any kind of hurry,” Maren says. “What’s so great about [Ryan] is that we’ve always talked about it in a really open way and neither of us have really shied away from that topic.”
For now, their sole focus is work. Maren first rose to popularity with her hit 2016 debut album Hero and breakout song "My Church," which established the Texas native as “one of contemporary country music’s most exciting — and sonically adventurous – new voices,” per . Her crossover multi-week No. 1 hit with Zedd, "The Middle" — which called "the new model for pop music hits"—shot her into pop-stardom, when it was released last year.
Maren announced her second album in an interview with around the same time.
Fans can expect her new music to be “a little bit country, a little bit pop, [with some] soul," Maren says. “The sky’s the limit, but I think my fans fell in love with… a little bit of everything. If the song is right, I would never say no.”
While on tour for the Australian leg of pal , Maren debuted “The Feels,” a poppy track from the new record (at the 0:46 mark in the video, below), and she has since released the single "Girl" and teased a duet with Brandi Carlile called "Common."
Maren had "all the time in the world" to write and record Hero two years ago. "But the song-writing process this time around is totally different," she says. “I've been traveling so much, so I’ve brought my friends who I write with out on the tour bus and we write in the back lounge. They’ll bring their recording equipment and we’ll just basically set up a mini-traveling studio in the back of the bus.”
The past few months have been "a milestone moment both personally and professionally,” Maren adds. “It's been such a once-in-a-lifetime moment, but I'm excited for what's next."