Life has not slowed down for rising country star Morgan Myles since she placed third on “The Voice” just three months ago, in December 2022. The soulful singer-songwriter has been managing a full plate of tour dates, recording sessions and appearances, including attending the Grammys. But one of the best things to come from her time on “The Voice,” Myles told Heavy in an exclusive interview, has been the chance to become a voice for those facing the “devastating diagnosis” of glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer that cut her beloved cousin Mac’s life short at age 33.
Buoyed by the feedback and gratitude she received from viewers who saw her performance on “The Voice” of Lady Gaga’s “Remember Us This Way,” which Myles dedicated to Mac, she emotionally shared details of his difficult diagnosis with Heavy, and how she hopes to help raise awareness and funds as the new celebrity ambassador for the Glioblastoma Foundation.
“This is what I feel like music does,” she said. “Music brings people together so that you don’t feel alone. And that’s what I want (as) my life’s mission, to just hopefully help people.”
Morgan Myles Reveals How Hard It Was to Watch Her Cousin’s Battle With Glioblastoma
For the “Voice” semifinals, Myles played a grand piano for a moving rendition of Lady Gaga’s hit song, which she sang in tribute to her cousin, who died in December 2019 after battling the disease for three years. Myles hoped, she told People at the time, that the performance could honor all the good times they had together while shedding a light on glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of brain tumor according to the Glioblastoma Foundation, which was created in 2016 to push for better drug therapies to treat the debilitating disease.
Current treatments — consisting of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy — can prolong a person’s life, the foundation says, with patients surviving an average of 15 months after diagnosis, but the side effects of treatment can be harsh. Without treatment, survival is typically only three to six months.
Myles, 36, was “insanely close” with her cousin and feels like she’s able to carry on his legacy by contributing her time and energy to the organization. She told Heavy that she was stunned, two weeks after “The Voice” finale, when the foundation’s CEO, Gita Kwatra, invited her to serve as their celebrity ambassador.
“I can’t think of a more important cause for me,” Myles said, getting choked up as she recalled being offered the opportunity. “I was just in tears because — oh god, I’m gonna get emotional — I kept telling Gita, ‘I can’t even tell you what this means to me because of the whole process of losing my cousin.’ He was so young and we were so close … I was just so helpless.”
Knowing his diagnosis was terminal, Myles said Mac spent the three years he survived with glioblastoma participating in research trials at the Dana-Farber Cancer Insitute in Boston, where he lived.
Through tears, Myles said, “The biggest thing about my cousin is his (big) heart. He gave his body to three years of trials once he had his first seizure. He had I don’t even know how many brain surgeries, but he didn’t have to do that. He could have just lived his life.”
Myles now feels like she’s able to carry on Mac’s legacy by working with the Glioblastoma Foundation.
She said, “It’s so devastating when you get this news because there’s not a lot of hope wrapped up in it. It was so tough watching this healthy, good-lookin’, awesome soul just disintegrate. So that’s why we really, really have to push (for awareness and research).”
Calling Myles’ tribute on “The Voice” both “beautiful and heartbreaking,” Kwatra told Heavy, “We knew that Morgan Myles was a good fit to be the Glioblastoma Foundation’s celebrity ambassador because she is so passionate about increasing awareness and funding for glioblastoma – having been personally affected by the disease.”
Morgan Myles Almost Broke Down During Tribute on ‘The Voice’
Looking back on the night she performed in honor of Mac on “The Voice,” Myles said it all feels like it was “meant to be” but that it was hard for her to get through the Lady Gaga tune without crying.
While she was waiting for her turn on stage, Myles FaceTimed her grandma, who was watching the show live, to let her know it would likely be a very emotional segment. Myles’ grandfather also died from glioblastoma, which can be hereditary.
Meanwhile, as she waited to perform, her “Voice” coach, pop star Camila Cabello, gave Myles printed-out photos of Mac and her grandfather to help the singer focus on the purpose behind her performance and tap into her emotions.
“Camila was so good about it,” she said. “She’s like, ‘This is why I love you. Like, you fight for causes, you want your story to be out there.'”
Myles told Heavy she thinks Mac and her grandfather “were watching up there” over her touching performance, during which she “almost broke down in tears.”
She and the Glioblastoma Foundation are discussing different ways she can be of service to the organization, including potentially visiting patients when she’s on the road for concerts. A special section of their website is also devoted to her story, with videos and photos.
With a new album in the works and over two dozen tour dates this spring, including a mini-tour in June with fellow “Voice” finalist Brayden Lape, Myles said she has not had much time to watch the new season of “The Voice” but catches clips of auditions on social media.
On March 9, 2023, she released a standalone single of “Hallelujah” — the song she auditioned with for “The Voice,” earning her four chair turns from the coaches and millions of views online — with a new music video filmed at the famous Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.
She told People that the Leonard Cohen classic is her favorite song and that she channels her grief over her own personal losses into her rendition of it.
“You have to have experienced deep heartbreak and loss in your life to be able to deliver it in a genuine way,” she said. “It was an honor to share my rendition for America and brought me to tears with the response it had on so many people. It’s why I absolutely love what I do.”