The first time viewers see lead singer Megan Morrison in Dorothy's Surrender’s new music video for the band's song “Dirty Stayout,” she's onstage playing to a sweaty, raucous Churchill's crowd. When viewers see her offstage, she's in her fishnets chugging Jameson from the bottle in broad daylight.
It's a humorous take on some of the tumultuous times and memories that inspired the song, which Morrison wrote about her past experiences in New York City. She later realized the song could just as easily have been written about Miami, and the video was shot around Wynwood and during one of their sets at Churchill's.
At long last, with lyrics about a girl with “dirt on her feet” who’s “lost her shoes” after a night of hard partying, Dorothy's Surrender has given Miami the pata sucia anthem it deserves.
“It's the dirty stayout — the walk of shame,” Morrison explains. “Not necessarily like you slept at some dude's house and you're doing that walk of shame. For me, it's like Times Square, 12 in the afternoon, and me and my buddies are just rolling through and we're all dressed up and there are tourists everywhere and the sun is out and you're still joking and laughing even though you feel like shit.” Substitute Times Square with Collins Avenue and we've all been there. “And you know, don't get me wrong, I had some really fun times,” Morrison reflects. “I don't regret anything. Never.”
Morrison moved to Miami about eight years ago after studying classical opera in college. Her unique vocal training background peeks through in her wailing on “Dirty Stayout.” She moved to New York to find work in musical theater and stage performance. But she couldn't shake her thirst for rock 'n’ roll: “I auditioned for this punk band and started singing with them, and then the Broadway theater stuff got pushed further away.” She played in the East Village and Brooklyn, but her demons got the best of her in the city that never sleeps.
“I was kind of searching for myself. I kind of got lost in New York. I dealt with a lot of personal issues, a lot of substance issues. It was just kind of a downward spiral in New York that had its very up moments, but I was kind of lost there, which is how I wrote so many songs.”
Seeking a change of pace and a more agreeable environment, Morrison moved to Miami and began collaborating with guitarist Ian Michael, with whom she went on to form the band.
“When I first moved to Miami, I needed a change, and I needed to be out of New York, but I was very not Miami. Over the years, I've grown to appreciate Miami so much for what it is — to still be able to have this vibe, this attitude, the music, the art, the rock, the grime, the sleaze, but you still have sunshine. It's a cool mix. I've really made it my home, and I really feel like I belong here. It's really exciting that there isn't too much of this music going around, because it's always fun to try to be a pioneer and try to get something started in a city.”
These days, Morrison is Miami enough to have been featured in music videos for Fuego’s “Prendelo” and Elvis Crespo and Pitbull’s “Sopa de Caracol,” showing off another talent: fire performance.
“It was down at the Venetian Pool. I was on a Plexiglas stage in the middle of the pool, and they had mermaids swimming under me. It's all like beautiful, Latin, curvy dancers — and then it's me doing the fire!”
Morrison acknowledges she might appear to be an odd fit for such projects, but she sees this as evidence of the needlessly separate art worlds in our diverse city. “I want people to know that it doesn't have to be just rock music, Latin music, electronic music — they're all so separate. Miami feels like such a small city, but there are so many separate groups of people that don't know each other, and if we all — music collectives and artists — put our heads together, this city could be huge.
“There are a lot of great studios here, a lot of great resources here. It's a better quality of life being a musician here than it is in New York. It is cheaper. It's more of a laid-back environment. And if I'm stressed out and I want to poke my eyes out 'cause I can't think of a song idea or an audition goes bad, I can go to the beach, jump in that ocean, and kind of forget about stuff for a little bit — any time of year. I felt like a creature of darkness for a lot of my life, and the sunlight is a blessing down here.”
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.