It’s hard to put an artist like PJ Morton in a box. His music reminds you of classical Stevie Wonder…it’s timeless, relevant and feels good, but he writes and produces for Gospel, R&B and Hip Hop artists, plays keys for mega-pop group Maroon 5 and headline tours with the likes of Kirk Franklin and Ledisi on The Rebel, The Soul & The Saint tour.
His style, approach and delivery of music is diverse and the New Orleans native is often described as a musicians’ musician.
Earlier this year the singer- songwriter- producer release Gumbo, a musical mixture of hits that covers topics ranging from race, religion, romance, to insecurities.
“I’ve lived away from New Orleans for a long time and finally moved back about a year and half ago. I felt this push to move back. This is the first album that I’ve actually made in New Orleans, so it (the album’s name) was a nod to that,” Morton shared. “Also, as a songwriter, I really wanted to challenge myself. It’s really easy for me to write love songs. They come naturally to me, but I really wanted to talk about a lot of the things that are going on in the world around me and go a little deeper than love songs and relationships. So I ended up talking about creative freedom, claustrophobia and sticking to my guns, racial tension and religion and even about going through someone’s phone. I felt like it was big mixture of subject matters, made in New Orleans, so that sounded like gumbo to me.”
Like many people living in America, the political and social climate of the country doesn’t evade Morton. With this project he says he felt a pull to address some of today’s most pressing issues in songs like “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” featuring BJ The Chicago Kid and the Hamiltons and “Religion” where he sings “I don’t think I like your religion” and “your god had nothing to do with this.”
“Artists are suppose to look like the times. I think there is suppose to be a balance between entertainment and art. I heard someone say recently, that entertainment is suppose to make you forget your life and art is suppose to make you reflect on your life. I want people to be entertained and of course enjoy the music, but I want it to be a level of art that makes people reflect and think about what’s going on in the world and how we can make it better. Music has always been at the forefront of every movement. I feel like we are in a modern day Civil Rights movement right now and I wanted to do my part as an entertainer and artist.”
Growing up as a preacher’s kid in the deep south and the son of mega pastor and founder of the Full Gospel Fellowship, Bishop Paul Morton, Sr., the younger Morton has always been vocal about his relationship with God and music. In 2009 the singer wrote “Why Can’t I Sing About Love? The Truth About The Church Against Secular Music.”
“Many of the doctrines we as Christians are taught have been man-made and not Biblically based,” Morton wrote. “A number of writers, producers, artists and musicians have been shunned from the church for doing music outside of gospel. This book will show that love songs are not only inspired by God, but are in fact Biblical.”
But it’s been the support of his father that continues to encourage him.
“My father and I are very close. He’s my number one supporter. He was tweeting pictures of his copy of the Gumbo on the day that it dropped. He’s always been my sounding board.”
At 35 years young, Morton has seemingly found his stride in life and music— Grammy awards, sold out concerts, critically acclaimed albums. His resounding message to himself and others is “just be true to who you are.”
Morton is currently on tour with Kirk Franklin and Ledisi. Click here to see a list of tour dates and cities.