“Say So” came out because of Melbourne. It went on to win Best RnB Song at the Grammys.
Staff Writer’s Words
Photograph by Vyvyan Huynh
Last night everyone at The Corner Hotel witnessed PJ Morton’s evolution as an independent artist to inspiring and invigorating effect.
“Shout out to Bird’s Basement…it wasn’t always like this.”
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Grammy-winning American musician, singer, songwriter and record producer PJ Morton has enjoyed a fairly steady rise to stardom. When he auditioned for Maroon 5 in 2010 (and by all accounts he blew them), it was the same year that the American pop group released one of the best-selling singles of all. time, “Moves Like Jagger”.
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This is really where Morton’s public story begins, and as Morton has established himself as a solo artist in his own right, critical acclaim is not lacking.
In 2021, he won his third individual Grammy in two years, winning Best Gospel Album for Gospel According to PJ: From the PJ Morton Songbook. He now has four in total (he also won top R&B performance for “How Deep Is Your Love”, top R&B song for “Say So” in 2020, and again in 2022 for his vocal work on Jon Batiste. We are),
The truth is, Morton was 30 years old before Maroon 5 and his first recording contract, and in fact success is far from easy for the prodigiously talented, smooth and sophisticated artist, who now embodies the revitalization of the music scene. New Orleans.
“Many times people have told me to sing a certain way,” he told the Melbourne crowd last night, packed in his best Hunter S. Thompson gear, still playing with the microphone cord, effortlessly engaging the crowd without leaving their seat.
“I was sticking to my guns… I released a maxi-single trying to be vintage and after that maxi-single I released an album called Okra. There was no ‘Say So’, I thought ‘Say So’ was the weakest of those songs. This was before JoJo was on it, which is why I’m telling this story.
“The first time I played here in Melbourne there was a couple who asked for it, I took it offline, I couldn’t remember the words. For me, it didn’t suit me. After that, other people started asking ‘Say So’ came out because of Melbourne and went on to win Best RnB Song at the Grammys.
Morton was everything you would expect and more in the 800 capacity Corner Hotel last night. He was inch perfect, engaging between tracks, and his backing band – especially the vocals – were nothing short of sensational. He was giving off relaxed vibes, twice starting “First Began” seemingly just to fuck with the front row: “‘No one makes me feel the same as you’- I wasn’t there yet my bad – back from the top, just do like the first time I did -‘No one makes me feel the same as you” – suntil I rush, I’m not ready – ‘…I don’t know what I would do…’
The audience was treated to truly phenomenal artistry, Morton’s sublime vocals and keys followed the backing combo of MADAM3EMPRESS – a local vocal sensation – with no less than Billy Davis on the keys. It was a treat from start to finish.
The climax was “Everything will be fine”. It’s a party start to finishing a set (ignoring callbacks) and Morton saved standing to the final track, but the clapping and hand-waving exit worked, plain and simple, and so did the Morton’s career so far, everyone wanted more.
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