Morgan Wallen may just be the hottest act in country music at the moment. In just two days, the 27-year-old singer's new album, Dangerous: The Double Album, had the biggest first day and first week of all time for a country album on Apple Music. It was also No. 1 globally on Spotify's Top Debut charts.
ET's Rachel Smith sat down with Wallen in Nashville, Tennessee, where they chatted about his latest success, at his first concert in 10 months. The socially distanced show took place at the iconic Ryman Auditorium.
"I played here for a couple of charity events… but first time my name's on the marquee," Wallen expressed, before sharing how he's handling his newfound fame. "I guess I started to get used to it, I think. It took me a little while. I don't know what to expect in the future. I think it seems like things are just continuing to grow, but as of right now, I feel pretty good."
And he's only getting bigger after the release of his sophomore album. Wallen's 30-song record took two and a half years to make. However, its release didn't go as planned after it was leaked.
"At first, I think I was pretty pissed," he recalled. "I had to be talked down a little bit…And I started to think about it, maybe this ain't such a bad thing. Maybe it'll create another story. Maybe it'll give us some more coverage than we originally didn't plan on. I just try to focus on the positives and not dwell."
The album is filled with many personal stories about his past, his roots, handling fame and most regrettable moments. The title track, "Dangerous," was written after he was arrested last May for public intoxication.
"I got to be careful with who I keep around me," Wallen said of what he learned from the experience. "I'm real outgoing, especially when I do start drinking I like everyone for the most part. And then it just can get a little muddy because everybody doesn't have your best interest at heart."
"I think it took me a second to realize that, but that's definitely something I've learned," he noted, adding that he wrote the song a couple weeks after his arrest.
Becoming a country music sensation, however, does take its toll. In his song "Livin' the Dream," Wallen gets candid about the hardships of fame and feeling like he's always on the go. When asked if his life feels like a non-stop machine, he replied, "sometimes," describing that it's the "obligations and things that you don't really have control over anymore, you know?"
"And then just being under a microscope. I think I wrote that song before I really even understood completely what I meant," he explained. "It was almost a prophecy in a way. I didn't really understand fully what that song meant, but the longer that I got to do this and the more success I've had and things like that, there's days where I wake up and I just want to get away...And I think that's probably what that song says mostly."
"But I'm not complaining," he noted. "Like most days I wake up, I'm thrilled to be doing this, you know, and some days I'm not."
Additionally, back in October Wallen made headlines when he was pulled from performing on Saturday Night Live after violating COVID-19 protocols by partying in a bar. Lorne Michael personally called him to invite him back on the show eight weeks later. During his Dec. 5 appearance, he poked fun at himself -- with the help of Jason Bateman -- for getting kicked off the show.
"I don't mind being self-deprecating and I enjoyed it really," he said of his skit.
Meanwhile, one extra personal topic that is not included in his album is fatherhood. Wallen shared that he was "pretty much finished with the writing aspect" of his album before he welcomed his son, Indigo, in July. But fans should expect to hear more on that in future albums, he teased.
While he's planning on taking a "little hiatus" after releasing the mega record, he's focusing on raising his little one at the moment. Wallen shared that Indigo is "real good" and that his mom says his son reminds him of him when he was younger.
"My mom comes around a lot when he's with me, and she says he's just like me," he shared. "And I just imagine that when he's doing the things he's doing. And I just -- I don't know, it's funny to me."
And while he's not rocking a mullet quite like his dad, Wallen said, "He's definitely got plenty of plaid."
For more on Wallen watch the video below. Dangerous: The Double Album is out now.