The 12-track bilingual album includes brand new songs as well as tracks from Morales’ celebrated EPs released earlier this year.
She Ought To Be King features collaborations with Americana icon Rodney Crowell, Santana co-founder Gregg Rolie, Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo, and includes Tim Lefebvre, Rachel Eckroth, Elizabeth Goodfellow, Ephraim Owens, and Raul Pacheco. The album was produced by David Garza (Fiona Apple, Sharon Van Etten), and recorded at the renowned Sonic Ranch Recording Studio in Tornillo, Texas, which gave Morales an isolated and creative environment to focus on making music.
Like her cousin Linda Ronstadt, Morales and her sister Roberta grew up in a musical family in Tucson, Arizona, learning to perform traditional Mexican music while developing broad- ranging musical taste prior to moving to Texas. She recorded six albums as “Sisters Morales,” the beloved sibling duo in which she partnered with Roberta, who passed away from cancer in August 2021.
Rolling Stone calls Morales “one of the most multi-faceted artists to watch” and Tejano Backstage Magazine declares her “one of the best artists of this generation and an incredible storyteller.” The album’s new songs include “She Ought To Be King,” (the title track) and the swinging “Fly with Me.” The new LP showcases Morales’ songwriting talents in both English and Spanish and brings to the forefront her powerful vocals and her belief in the power of women.
“I’m at this great time in my life where I am in awe of us as women,” says Morales. “I was marveling at how wonderful we are, reading back the list in this song, and blurted out ‘She Ought to Be King!’ I love the tone of this sentiment, and once the song came together it was easy to see that it would be the centerpiece of the album.” The song highlights the powerful qualities of women, and what might at first sound like a sexy old standard, on closer listen, is actually an empowering blues anthem with a seductive backbone of a rhythm section.
The majority of this new album, Morales’ first LP in three years, was written during the height of the pandemic. “The way people were separating and segregating,” she says, “it was like we stepped back a hundred years, and spotlighted we had never really grown out of racism like we wanted to think we had. ‘Freedom’ and ‘Reach Out’ are a calling out to everyone to love one another. Love thy neighbor as thyself. It’s that simple.
The swinging ‘Fly With Me’ is a playful track, recorded live and co-written with Raul Pacheco from Ozomatlí. Morales says, “This song is a conversation to a lover saying step out on a ledge and learn to really give love instead of staying on the periphery. Get in, get wet- it’s amazing if you dive in.”
The inclusion of El Amor No Es Cobarde’s Spanish-language tracks represents Morales’ Mexican-American heritage, and the songs have resonated throughout the Tejano community and beyond. Kelly Trevino, of Tejano Backstage Magazine, says “Her vocals and lyrics on ‘Suéltame’ speak to anyone that has ever loved so deeply, that they beg to be released once that love is lost.”
In between her two EPs, touring, and new album news, Morales is a leader in her community, honored to serve as the newly elected Secretary of The Recording Academy’s Texas Chapter. She “looks forward to joining a diverse group of leaders in serving and advocating for our greater music community.” Morales — who produced fellow-Texan Hayes Carll’s debut album Flowers and Liquor — also continues to produce and collaborate with other artists.