Hailing from Cleveland, Mississippi, the Morris sisters are living out their wildest dreams as Southern Halo. The country-pop act was born in 2010, when Hannah, Christina, and Natalia were just tweens.
“We started out playing blues music in juke joints — local restaurants,” Natalia, now 19, says. “We even got to open up for B.B. King for his birthday homecomings back in 2012 and 2014.”
“He was the coolest man in the world,” she says. ”You can just feel his emotions through his music, and when we were kids we wanted to be just like that.”“We actually got a really cool picture of him wearing a Southern Halo hat,” Christina, 18, says. “We were babies back then, too. It was so surreal.”
Now, the girls are well on their way to becoming a household name of their own. The band just returned stateside from their first European tour in support of their eponymous debut.Released in 2015, Southern Halo features Hannah on bass and Christina on drums. Although Natalia fronts the band as lead vocalist, Hannah and Christina lend their voices to each track, creating the trio’s signature harmonies.The album’s lead single, “Little White Dress,” serves as the perfect introduction, offering up smooth harmonies in a spectacular fashion. Southern Halo’s influences are clear, with an upbeat melody and playful lyrics reminiscent of early material by country-pop pioneers like Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift.
“Rewind,” the group’s second single, evokes imagery of a simpler time, spurring nostalgia in even the most hard-to-please listeners. It’s the summer vacation before high school begins, full of promise and possibility. Or maybe it’s those final weeks before heading off to college, bittersweet but primed for adventure. Either way, the magic is there.
“[People] in the UK [especially] just kind of gravitated toward it and took it in and appreciated our music,” Christina says. “They really dig country music over there!”While overseas, the band premiered the music video for their third single, “Living Like That,” at the Gibson Guitar Studio in London. “It’s a huge honor that we got to do it at the showroom,” Natalia says.For Southern Halo, the track sends a strong message. “[It’s] about letting your hair down and having fun with life, not letting anyone or any obstacles get in your way,” Natalia says, adding that they hope this song is as empowering for listeners as it is for them.
“Natalia and I are both done [with high school] and we’re turning all of our focus and attention toward music,” Christina says. “That way, we can just embrace our career.”Hannah is close behind, finishing up her sophomore year of school through online classes. Like her sisters, she’s been enrolled in online school from an early age.
“Ever since middle school, we were always on the road traveling and wanting to do gigs,” Hannah says. “Our family has been so supportive with that, so we would miss a lot of school.”
Online classes were the solution to this, allowing the girls to do what they’re passionate about while still getting an education.Overall, the extra time has been good for Southern Halo, affording the girls an opportunity to flex their creativity in exciting new ways. One of their latest efforts, a 10-episode web show, even caught the attention of Radio Disney County and helped further their relationship with the brand.“It all started with us getting together and thinking that, ‘okay, we’re three sisters taking on the music industry in a band together,’ so we really wanted to let everybody behind the scenes [to see] how that worked,” Natalia says.The no-holds-barred series offers an intimate look at what it’s like to be a teenager and will only solidify teenage viewers’ dreams of becoming a rockstar. From hair and makeup to sound bites with different media outlets, the series caps off with their 2016 appearance on the Radio Disney stage at CMA Music Festival’s Fan Fair X.
After getting one successful venture under their belt, Southern Halo went on to develop their “Hangin’ with Halo” radio show.
“We started going on radio tours when we released our first single, ‘Little White Dress,’ and we saw how much fun the radio programmers were having talking about country music [and] interviewing artists,” Natalia says.That spark was all the girls needed to get to work. They set up some speakers, a computer, and a microphone in their home garage-turned-studio and taught themselves how to write, edit, and produce their own show.
“We get to play all of our favorite country songs, interview other country artists, [and] we get to fill people in on what’s going on with Southern Halo,” Natalia says.
The show currently airs on CMR Nashville, Europe’s No. 1 country radio station, and is in talks to be picked up locally.
“Europe has just given us so much love,” Natalia says. “We’re actually going back in June. We’re going to be all over the place this summer, and we just can’t wait. We have so many new songs to share with everybody.”
Local fans can catch Southern Halo in Biloxi on April 23. They’ll be sharing the stage with artists like Chase Rice and Trace Adkins during the first weekend of the 25th Annual Crawfish Music Festival.
“Everybody down on the coast is just so cool,” Natalia says. “Every time we go down to Biloxi it’s always a big party.”
Hangin’ with Halo
Self-made from the start, Southern Halo knows how to turn lemons into lemonade
Story by Tess Catlett