Karaoke host settles into his own rockstar role

Andy Morgan hosts karaoke night every Wednesday at Dublin’s Irish Pub in Bowling Green on Wednesday October 17, 2018. “My mission in here is to create a positive atmosphere where people come sing and enjoy their time regardless of gender or race.” Morgan said.

Griffin Fletcher

It’s Wednesday night at Dublin’s Irish Pub in downtown Bowling Green, barely past 11 p.m. and though many party-goers might deem Friday or Saturday more suitable for unabashed drink and dance, those at Dublin’s know a local celebrity is in the building.

He mans a corner to the left of the bar’s entrance, an instantly noticeable speaker just overhead, always ready to jump on stage or guide a bargoer to whatever song will suit their voice best.

At only a few inches taller than five and a half feet, his shoulder-length brown hair and goatee-mustache combo along with a trademark pair of glasses, Andy Morgan does not look like much of a rockstar.

However, many people rush to greet him as they enter the bar, and he seems to hold his microphone with confidence.

Born and raised in Bowling Green, Morgan, who has served as Dublin’s Wednesday night karaoke host for the past three years, said he believes karaoke should be fun, and he works to make that possible for every crowd he leads.

“I take pride in what it means to be a host,” Morgan said. “Any time you’re hosting, you lead by example. If you’re not having fun, you’re not going to be encouraging other people to have fun.”

Morgan said his father, who owned a construction company while he was growing up, taught him to always take pride in his workno matter how big or small the job. Morgan said he remembers that lesson in all his work.

“Even if it’s just hosting karaoke,” Morgan said, “I still feel like doing a good job should be your goal.”

Dublin’s manager Kaitlyn Swaggert said Morgan is highly valued at the bar for his incredible energy. Swaggert said Morgan is known to entertain the crowd and the bartenders, never one to shy away from a request to sing on stage or remind the crowd to tip well. Though Dublin’s has featured other karaoke hosts in the past, Swaggert said none have compared to Morgan.

“We’ve had other people do karaoke, and it’s just not the same,” Swaggert said. “When he’s back there—that’s our guy.”

Swaggert said Morgan’s ability to control and hype up a crowd convinced her and her fiancé Kent Zysk, Dublin’s owner, to request he DJ their wedding, which Morgan does as a side job for numerous other couples throughout the year. She said his enthusiasm about every song makes him the perfect candidate for a party.

“I know all our wedding guests are gonna love him,” Swaggert said.

Bowling Green resident Shelby Hood is a regular at Dublin’s on Wednesday. Standing 5 feet tall when on her tiptoes, Hood has an uncommonly quiet voice. Morgan said Hood has told him he’s the only karaoke host to ever properly mic her voice, which involves adjusting a microphone’s output and bass levels to best fit each singer’s tone and vocal style.

Morgan said he loves helping everyone who shares his stage sound their best, given the sometimes vast differences between individuals’ voices.

“For karaoke, there’s so much variety in the voices of amateur singers,” Morgan said. “When you get it right, it’s its own high.”

Hood said she appreciates the respect and consideration Morgan shows every person who performs on a given night.

“He’ll do anything for anybody,” Hood said. “I’ve come to Dublin’s on Wednesday nights so that I can see Andy.”

Morgan said the people who hang out with him and perform regularly on karaoke nights are what keep him coming back. In fact, he said he’s kept the sign-up sheet for nearly every karaoke night he’s ever hosted. He said he enjoys looking back at the sheets in daylight, often recalling the antics of some particular night or some particular person who used to perform regularly but has since moved away from Bowling Green.

Although he sees most of his regulars only on karaoke nights, Morgan still feels bonded with them through the music and late-night excitement.

“If I have anything to say about what it’s like to be a host and do those things for a living, [it’s] the community is really cool,” Morgan said. “You meet so many good people, and you get really attached.”

Morgan said he never expected to form long-lasting relationships through something as unassuming as karaoke.

“A lot of my closest friends now are even people that I met through hosting karaoke every week,” Morgan said. “I’ve made what I consider to be lifelong friends through just that.”

Maybe unknown to many of those friends and others who have seen Morgan host karaoke nights, he used to play shows in and around Bowling Green as a drummer for a band or two. Though drumming never led him to cross-country tours or sold-out arenas, Morgan said he found the next best thing at his current place of full-time employment, local radio station WUHU 107.1 FM.

“I never pursued it hard enough to consider it a failure,” Morgan said about drumming. “Radio was the most obvious thing as to be the next best thing, because I still got to work with music for a living.”

After leaving WKU early, where he was studying to become a history teacher, Morgan said a number of radio courses he took during his time at WKU motivated him to approach WUHU 107.1 begging for a job, paid or not.

Hired at the station as an office cleaner, Morgan now serves as one of its on-air personalities for the “BG Morning Show,” alongside WUHU 107.1 music director Brooke Summers of Buffalo, New York. Summers said Morgan’s enthusiasm keeps the morning show, which airs every weekday from 6-10 a.m., lively and worth the early-morning drive to work.

“It’s perfect for him because he does bring fun and excitement to the things that he does,” Summers said about Morgan’s position as an on-air personality. “It makes you look forward to coming to work.”

Morgan said he loves how radio allows him to keep in touch with the Bowling Green community. He loves when daily listeners recognize his voice at restaurants and as he does errands around town.

“People feel like they really know us,” Morgan said. “You want people to have that feeling of familiarity.”

Even if he’s not the one performing it, Morgan said he feels incredibly fortunate to be able to work in a music-centric environment. No matter the stage or number of listeners, sometimes second or third best feels just the same.

“Everybody wants to have time to shine and feel like you’re in the spotlight,” Morgan said. “People love to have their little moment.”

Features reporter Griffin Fletcher can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected].