Country Singer Maren Morris

"I feel like Richard Gere in American Gigolo," says Maren Morris as she drives through Nashville's tony Green Hills neighborhood. The 26-year-old breakout country star -- with a No. 1 hit, an opening slot on Keith Urban's summer tour and a chart-climbing debut album, Hero (Sony) -- is not wearing gravity boots, or blasting Blondie's "Call Me." She is driving her dream car, a Mercedes-Benz SL roadster: a direct descendant of the classic 450 SL that Gere drove in the 1980 film. "I remember the opening scene of him driving this convertible Mercedes up a stretch of highway," says Morris of one of her all-time favorite movies as she ­throttles the twin-turbo-charged V-12 engine from the ­diamond-quilted leather seat of the $235,000 super-convertible, the most potent and pricey in the automaker's lineup. "Just that image of him looking like a total badass, with a very rugged but all-American ­landscape in the background." That vision stuck in Morris' mind while growing up in Arlington, Texas, where she lived with her sister and parents who ran a local hair salon. But not because fancy cars signify success to her. "I didn't grow up around a lot of souped-up ­automobiles," she says, proudly ­announcing, "I love my Prius." Instead, for Morris, a car and, ­specifically, "driving and listening to music" is "an emotional and aesthetic thing," she says, syncing her iPhone's music stream to the convertible's 900-watt Bang & Olufsen stereo. "I think of that scene in the movie as just total freedom." It's this spirited take on cars that inspired Morris' raucous night-out anthem "80s Mercedes" (an ode to a vehicle that makes her "feel like a hard-to-get ­starlet") and more obliquely in her ­gospel-tinged hit "My Church," which ­celebrates the in-car playlist. "I drive to clear my mind, like many people do. It's like, once you get in the car, ­whatever song you put on, it's so symbiotic. Your mood could change in a second." (Source: Billboard - Brett Berk)

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