A girl, a guitar, a rising star

Morgan Bernard, a 14-year-old musician, performing with her band at the Orpheum in Ybor City on Friday night. The performance was part of an event to celebrate the release of her new CD, “Give It All”. Mitch Traphagen Photo

Photo gallery of Morgan Bernard’s Orpheum performance below….

By MITCH TRAPHAGEN

The first thing you notice about Morgan Bernard is not the studded boots, it’s not that she’s an adorably cute young woman, it’s not the driving rock ’n roll rhythm laid down by her band just before she takes the stage, it’s not even her boundless talent. What you’ll first notice about Bernard happens before she even straps on her electric guitar and walks up to her center stage microphone. What you’ll notice, what everyone immediately noticed during her CD release party at the Orpheum in Ybor City on Friday night, was her presence. In the seconds it took to walk across the stage, grab her guitar and start singing, she made her presence known. Morgan Bernard has “It”; the mysterious, inexplicable, yet entirely recognizable feature of someone who is going to go places few people will reach. Bernard, a girl from Gibsonton, is destined to be a star.

Bernard and her band rocked the Orpheum on Friday night as part of a performance for the release of her new CD entitled “Give It All.” By Sunday, she was rocking out in a theater in Nashville, Tennessee. Her presence, her talent, her music are taking her places and that is not mere happenstance. She decided at the age of 10 what she wanted to do. Now, at only 14, it is already coming to fruition. At an age when many of her peers still struggle to avoid putting their clothes on inside out, Bernard is fronting a rock band. Only 14 years old and she looks equally at home with her guitar on stage as she does running around laughing, pre-show, with her friends and Nathalie, her band’s young drummer — doing all the things teenage girls do. But when she gets on stage, the teenage girl becomes a serious musician. She literally takes the stage and owns it.

Bernard is no Mouseketeer. She is a rock ’n roller through and through. But unlike the tragic handful of notable young people who went from wearing mouse ears to stardom to rehab, Morgan Bernard is a straight A high school student who appears to have avoided self-absorption and values her friends and family as much or more as she values her growing stardom. She occasionally misses school for shows or interviews, but she is smart and is motivated to succeed in everything she does.

“My motto for anyone trying to get to a goal, whether it is a young person trying to be a musician or anything else, just give it all and never give up,” Bernard said.

That motto became the title of her first album.

Bernard is also giving it all for a good cause. She has joined an anti-bullying effort and one song, entitled “Shame,” on her new CD, along with a music video, is dedicated to that cause. It’s no small effort. Increasingly, bullying is reaching tragic new lows for victimized young people. It is even claiming lives.

“The song started out as just one person getting bullied and finding her confidence to stand up for herself,” Bernard said. “But the song gained more meaning when my actual friends told me their own stories about bullying and I realized it was a bigger problem than I thought. Now I’m trying to work to get to the solution to this problem.”

Her talents range across multiple instruments, with her voice and guitar-playing headlining her act. Her musical inspirations range from AC/DC to Lady Gaga and Elvis, a wide range of musical styles that are reflected in her wide-ranging abilities. She also acts and has appeared as an extra on the locally produced, award-winning family television series, Dry Creek.

Her Facebook page lists her as a self-employed entertainer. Her musician page, already with thousands of fans, is rapidly growing. Brimming with talent and possessing the presence of a star, there is little doubt Bernard will go around and to the very top of the world. But there is also little doubt that this young girl from Gibsonton will never forget where her home is. In a mere 14 years of life, Morgan Bernard has not only figured out what she wanted to do, she is already making it happen — by giving it her all.

For more information, visit her website at www.morgan-bernard.com or her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MorganBernard.Singer. She is also on the musician’s website, ReverbNation at www.reverbnation.com/morganbernard and on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/morgannmegan.

To find out more or to contribute to her anti-bullying effort, visit www.bullyingisugly.com.


120712 Morgan Bernard – Images by Mitch Traphagen

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