Michael Morris is a New Zealand songwriter, recording artist and performing musician living in Paris, France. His work is based primarily in the alternative rock genre, exploring elements of folk, blues, psychedelia and singer-songwriter.
Michael was born in London on 23rd September 1989. He moved with his family to the south island of New Zealand in 1990. As a child surrounded by a comprehensive vinyl collection and with parents that encouraged creativity across the board, Michael displayed a keen interest in music, art and film from a young age. Growing up revolved around drawing, papier-mâché sculpture, violin lessons, costume making and performance. School life began with the goal of working for Weta Workshop NZ as a visual artist, while music class was overlooked on account of an unremarkable teacher. Michael first discovered the guitar at age 15. Inspired by David Bowie, Queen, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, he taught himself by playing along to old recordings. At age 19 Michael was accepted into the Christchurch Jazz School to major in guitar, performance, production and theory. He kept labouring jobs to fund his studies while working locally with various different bands, writing his own songs and contending with the earthquakes of 2010 - 2011.
After graduating his bachelor's degree in musical arts, Michael relocated to Dunedin in 2012. Immersing himself in the creative culture of the city, he soon formed popular blues rock quartet The River Jesters and soul funk group Live Like Lions. Both bands toured extensively in New Zealand and Australia, releasing multiple records between 2012 - 2018. On the sideline, Michael created his own production company named Smokey Room Records, where he helped produce albums for Monty Bevins, Abigail Knudson, Rainbow Rosalind, Michele Lea and many more. He also founded a community charity project named Operation Underground, which helped provide a support platform for emerging artists to be discovered through the Sunday Porch Session videos. Following his first solo tour of New Zealand in 2018, Michael moved to Paris to release his own debut album, titled Slow Loris. Featuring the video singles Landslide and Rabbit Hole, the six track collection was an entirely self produced effort and has received critical praise from a range of different music and art publications around the world.
Now and Beyond:
Following a focused year of writing new music, Michael is now working on his second album. Alongside furthering his touring experience in Europe (recently playing concerts in Paris and Berlin), other ambitions include making his own music videos, refining his songwriting technique, being a good dad and keeping his room tidy.
"Searching for a new dimension, New Zealand polymath creates niche world of his own and pushes its boundaries beyond event horizon. Partly unplugged yet entirely electrifying, Slow Loris speaks volumes of the artist's inherent relentlessness. The arresting prog rock epic 'Not Space Nor Time' flies in falling, filigree fashion and may be worth the price of admission alone." Dmme.net (Toronto, Canada)
"Slow Loris deserves multiple listens as each track has immense personality which can be lost with the first spin. Throughout the album, there's a fun element of surprise as each song delivers something different from the last. Artists of the 60's / 70's alternative and psychedelic rock era are considered untouchable by many, but Morris is here and he's tapping the glass." Out From The Pine Box (Nashville, USA)
"The word unique is an over-used cliche, but when writing about Michael Morris' work it's actually true. You can hear a wide range of influences, but his style is 100% his own. His expertise with guitar is obvious and he is using his best and biggest rock voice. Slow Loris is an excellent albeit short LP. It's got to be one of the strongest debut releases in recent years." - NZmusic.net (Auckland, New Zealand)
"Right from the first track the complexity challenges - lurching and dramatic, but within it all is a strong emotional core. Slow Loris is technically impressive, both the writing and the dynamic, spacious, Albini-esque production (which is some of the best I've heard from a local release). But it's not an easy listen.... And he knows it. I'm looking forward to what he comes up with next." - Otago Daily Times (Dunedin, New Zealand)