Maren Morris Skips CMA Awards and Hangs With Kelly Clarkson in NYC as She Steps Back From Country Music

The singer is a five-time winner who was last nominated in 2022.

Maren Morris steered clear of Wednesday's CMA Awards in Nashville, enjoying some quality time with her girls in New York City while plugging her new EP, The Bridge.

The 33-year-old songstress served up red carpet realness in a bright red gown with cutouts as she stepped out for the SiriusXM Next Generation: Industry & Press Preview on Wednesday. Morris smoldered as she posed for pics and later took the stage to deliver remarks to the audience. She also spent time with Kelly Clarkson, embracing the "Since U Been Gone" singer -- also clad in red -- for a photo together at the event. 

Morris was also photographed alongside fellow guests Kevin Hart, Conan O'Brien, Ashley Flowers and Davis Burleson. 

Maren Morris and Kelly Clarkson attend the SiriusXM Next Generation: Industry & Press Preview at The Tisch Skylights at The Shed on November 08, 2023 in New York City. - Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM
Maren Morris, Ashley Flowers, Davis Burleson, Kevin Hart, Conan O'Brien, and Kelly Clarkson attend the SiriusXM Next Generation: Industry & Press Preview at The Tisch Skylights at The Shed on November 08, 2023 in New York City - Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM

In the days prior, Morris performed a selection of her hits and deep cuts at the iconic Bowery Ballroom. She also stopped by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon for an interview and a performance of her song, "The Tree," alongside pals Mickey Guyton and Brittney Spencer. 

Todd Owyoung/NBC via Getty Images

Morris took to social media to share some fun behind-the-scenes content from her trip, including a silly video of the three women rehearsing at soundcheck. 

"B**ches unite tonight," she captioned the Instagram carousel. 

Over on TikTok, she shared a video of Guyton's heartfelt toast in her honor as they dined at Carbone. 

"I also wanted to cheers you, Maren, for being my sister, for everything that you are, everything that you sacrificed for people that look like me," Guyton said in the video. "You will never understand how much that means to me."

Getting choked up, Guyton continued. 

"I know that took a lot of courage and heart and pain and sleepless nights. I just can't thank you enough," she said. "I love you. Cheers to a f**king amazing night. Cheers to your show last night. Cheers to the fans and you being free and flying to these next levels that I don't even know if anybody's ready to see. But we are here for you and we just love you, and cheers to you." 

Morris replied in her caption, "I don't even have the words. Love you so much @Mickey Guyton." 

Her adventure in the Big Apple comes after announcing her "hyperbolic" intention to distance herself from country music. Morris previously explained that she had asked for her music to not be considered for potential nominations on the country music awards circuit. She has also officially transitioned to Columbia Records from the label's Nashville division. 

"I wrote these two songs, 'The Tree' and 'Get the Hell Out of Here,' and I just felt like I was leaving some things in country music behind that didn't really serve me anymore," she said on Fallon. "It felt like calling it The Bridge felt like this step to the next thing, whatever that is."

Morris noted that while the business changes, her creative spirit hasn't changed. 

"I don't think it's something you can really leave, because it's a music that's in me and that I grew up doing," she shared. "That's the music that I write, even if I've been sort of genre fluid my whole career. You can't, like, scrub the country music out."

She continued, "I'm taking the good parts with me and all are welcome. But, yeah, there were some, you know, facets of it that I didn't really jive with anymore. I'm a lot happier now."

Morris is a five-time CMA Award winner. She was last nominated in 2022 for her album, Humble Quest. 


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