P J Morton
Genetics can take you only so far, and talent and hard work takes you to the next step. That's the story of P.J. Morton, a talented newcomer to Soul Music with a legendary Gospel name. P.J. is the son of Gospel legend Bishop Paul S. Morton, but he is fashioning his own fledgling career beyond the boundaries of Gospel, mixing elements of folk, jazz and soul into his unique, engaging music.
The New Orleans native describes his music as "feel good music that lyrically tells stories about life and love...music that makes your heart think." He started as a child singing in church and became a solid pianist by the time he was an early teen, when he began writing in earnest. He was influenced by the church music of his father, but also by such disparate acts as Stevie Wonder, Sting, Prince and James Taylor.
By his early 20s Morton was a music veteran and was writing songs for Men of Standard, Darwin Hobbs and India.Arie, and toured with Erykah Badu. He also formed the jazz band Freestyle Nation.
In early 2005, Morton independently released his debut album, Emotions, a gem of an album that was arguably the best soul release of that year. That year he expanded his work as a songwriter and producer for other artists, including most notably Kierra Kiki Sheard.
In 2007, Morton released his follow-up album, Perfect Song, this time recording with the PJ Morton Band. While not as strong as his debut, the disc found an audience and was nominated for multiple SoulTracks Readers' Choice Awards.
Morton's career as a writer and producer took off in 2007 and 2008, particularly in the Gospel world. He continued to work with the A-list of Gospel performers and won a Stellar Award for his work on "Let Go, Let God," with DeWayne Woods.
In 2008, Morton began working on his third studio album, In the meantime he recorded a live album on a Summer night in Los Angeles. The result, Live From LA, was released to positive reviews in September, 2008. One month later, he put on a tour-de-force performance at the annual SoulTracks Awards weekend in Detroit, serving as a virtual one-man band at the jam affair.
In 2009, Morton was back in the studio working on his third studio album. Teaming with a talented crew, including singer Tweet and producer Warryn "Baby Dubb" Campbell, he put together Walk Alone, another creative, eclectic album. The disc is being released on April 6, 2010.
By Chris Rizik