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“I feel that being on stage is my most natural habitat. I'm able to truly show the range of who I am as musician and artist,” explains Maroon 5 keyboardist/backing vocalist, PJ Morton.
The multi-talented musician is back with a new live album, Live Show Killer, which was recorded at the historic Henson Studios in Los Angeles. The event, attended by fans and media alike, produced both a live album and DVD to be released in July of this summer. The highly anticipated album is comprised of fan favorites and hand-picked selections from his celebrated solo releases. “It was important for me to include songs that I knew the audience would sing along with because that's a big part of what my live show experience is and what I wanted to capture,” says Morton.
A love and respect of music’s rich history attracted PJ Morton to Henson Studios. “I love history. I think it's all connected. We were in the room where 'We are the World' was recorded. All of my favorite artists and influences in one room. It definitely played a part in the experience we had recording there.”
Boasting a legendary roster of alumni including: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, The Doors, The Ramones, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, Neil Young and more, the event was undoubtedly an experience that all in attendance won’t soon forget. “This is a live/in studio album,” explained Morton. “I wanted to do something unique. So while we had the live show aspect, we also had the studio aspect where we were able to manipulate sounds etc. It doesn’t sound like just any live album you've heard before. Henson, with the big live room, was just the perfect size to have an intimate audience in there.”
Live Show Killer’s predecessor, New Orleans (2013), was his major label debut, released via Young Money Entertainment/Cash Money Records. It hit #1 on the iTunes R&B Albums Chart and the Top 5 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart. Just one listen to Morton’s music quickly reveals why he is a favorite on the indie R&B circuit and an in-demand songwriter/producer.
“Only One,” New Orleans’ lead single, features Stevie Wonder and earned him a Grammy nomination (PRESS HERE). Armed with an infectious hook and a head-boppin’ groove, the up-tempo number showcases Morton’s velvety tenor, songwriting skills and musicianship, accented by Wonder’s distinctive harmonica. “Stevie joining me on the track is the ultimate start. It’s my dream come true,” says Morton of teaming with Wonder. “I want to continue the legacy he represents: musicianship and positivity.”
New Orleans itself stemmed from Morton’s acclaimed 2012 EP, Following My First Mind, featuring guest cameos from Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, Lil Wayne and Jazmine Sullivan.
Influenced by acts ranging from the Beatles and James Taylor to Wonder and Donny Hathaway, the New Orleans native is the son of gospel singer Paul S. Morton. His formal foray into the industry was as a member of the band Freestyle Nation, which debuted in the early 2000s. But it was as a songwriter/producer that Morton left his first indelible impression. He won a Grammy Award for his songwriting/production of India.Arie’s “Interested” from her 2002 album Voyage to India.
That opened the door to more collaborations (Jermaine Dupri, LL Cool J, Monica, Musiq Soulchild, Trinitee 5:7) and additional accolades (Dove and Stellar Awards) for his work with gospel singer DeWayne Woods. Woods’ “Let Go, Let God” spent a record 70 weeks on the gospel chart. Along the way, Morton released several acclaimed indie solo albums. He also attracted the attention of Academy Award-winning producer AR Rahman (“Slumdog Millionaire”), who asked Morton to contribute a song (“Sajna”) to the soundtrack for the Vince Vaughn comedy “Couples Retreat.”
Morton’s next big break occurred when he was asked to audition by friend and Maroon 5 music director, Adam Blackstone, for a spot in the band as its keyboardist/vocalist. Soon after, childhood friend and Young Money Entertainment president Mack Maine championed Morton’s music and vision to Cash Money co-CEO’s Roland “Slim” Williams and Bryan “Birdman” Williams. With the approval from co-signer, Lil Wayne, PJ Morton released New Orleans via Young Money Entertainment/Cash Money Records.
As PJ Morton ventures into the next chapter of his career, he returns to his indie roots releasing Live Show Killer via the newly formed Morton Records. Fans can expect an album that captures the essence of his mesmerizing live performance, and will be delighted to hear his live take on the songs they have already grown to love.