Morgan Wallen is back in front of his fans.
On May 19, the singer surprised the crowd with an unannounced mini performance at Kid's Big Ass Honky Tonk bar in Nashville. It's the first time he's performed on stage since his self-imposed hiatus, which came on the heels of his N-word scandal.
"What's going on Nashville. How you doing?," he asked the crowd as it worked itself into a frenzy. "This is my first time singing in public in a long time, so I'm going to need y'all to sing loud."
The crowd — many of whom recorded the impromptu performance on their cell phones — obliged as Morgan reportedly sang "Whiskey Glasses" and "Wasted On You."
It's been a bit of a rough go for the chart-topping country singer.
On Feb. 2, Morgan, during a drunken night out, was caught on camera using the N-word in a leaked video. The fallout from the scandal was swift: Big Loud Records suspended him "indefinitely"; his agency dropped him; the Academy of Country Music awards said he wasn't eligible for awards this year, as did the Billboard Awards; perhaps worst, nearly every radio station in the country took him out of its rotation.
One week after the video, Morgan apologized in a five-minute video on Instagram, saying he was "long overdue to make a statement" and "wanted to collect my thoughts, seek some real guidance," and come before fans "with a complete thought" before doing so.
Morgan said that at the time of the leaked video, he was "on hour 72 of 72 of a bender."
Since then, the 28-year-old has met with Black organizations to discuss his words.
A few months after the incident, Morgan posted a 4-page handwritten letter about the self-reflection he's gone through since he was caught on camera uttering the N-word.
"I know my corner hasn't been the most popular one to stand in recently, but many of you did anyway," he wrote. "I'm proud of the work I've put in and in many ways thankful to have had the time to do it. I've needed this time off. I will always strive to be better. Not only has this time revealed to me the ways in which I want to improve but it's also reminded me that I am still very proud of who I am and the man I am becoming."
The scandal came a few months after his "Saturday Night Live" appearance was canceled for violating COVID protocols.
Still, throughout all it, his music didn't seem to suffer — his LP "Dangerous: The Double Album" broke records on the Billboard charts despite no radio airplay.