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Mound musician making a name for himself

If you have ever dreamed about going back to your old high school a rock star, then you have dreamed the reality Chris Morrissey is walking.
Chris Morrissey

MOUND, Minn. - If you have ever dreamed about going back to your old high school a rock star, then you have dreamed the reality Chris Morrissey is walking.

"This building was everything to me at one point," said Morrissey. "It's a trip to be back."

Since he graduated in 1999 from Mound-Westonka High School, Morrissey has quietly worked his way up the musical ladder.

"You always see these interviews, did you know they would be that someday. And I did," said his former theater teacher, Kristin Wallace. "I'm not surprised at all. I am surprised it took this long."

You may not recognize his 34-year-old face, but there's a good possibility you've heard Morrissey's music in some form or fashion.

He played bass for local favorite, Mason Jennings while he was still going to school at the University of Minnesota. He also played bass and sang with Ben Kweller on shows like Conan and The Late Show with David Letterman.

"It's led me to the place now where things I'm doing are little bit more visible," he said.

He's also released three records of his own that got him high praise from a reviewer in the New York Times.

But it's becoming the music director for Sara Bareilles, a five-time Grammy nominee, several months ago that has allowed a bigger audience to know his music.

"When I made the leap to move to New York, I reached out to Chris Morrissey, I asked him if he'd be my music director. He was the dude, he was the dude to do it," Bareilles said in a promotional video for her tour.

A mutual connection brought them together, Morrissey said.

"We played a gig in Canada, and hit it off," he added.

He isn't the only Minnesotan in her band. Steve Goold from Orono plays the drums.

"I like to think Steve's presence in this band is like Mound and Orono mending the tie; we don't need to be hateful towards each other any longer," he said with a smile about the long rivalry between the two schools.

He's been on the Today Show and at this year's Emmy Awards. That's where he arranged the song "Smile" for Bareilles who sang it during the In Memoriam segment, which got a lot of attention over social media.

"I was as nervous as I've ever been," he said while watching the Bareilles and other musicians perform the song.

Morrissey grew up in a musical family. His parents are professional musicians, but he credits his high school experience for igniting his passion for performance.

"Mound had this environment supporting that, making people feel safe to pursue that," he said.

It was a pursuit back then that was just a dream, but now it's Chris Morrissey's reality.

"Music was always, just sort a given," he said.

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