New Orleans' PJ Morton is a versatile keyboardist, songwriter, and producer known for his own pop and R&B albums, as well as his studio work for other performers. Emerging in the early 2000s, Morton gained early notice working with artists like Kierra "Kiki" Sheard, DeWayne Woods, and Musiq Soulchild before issuing his own albums, such as 2013's Grammy-nominated New Orleans and 2017's Grammy-winning Gumbo. Since 2010, he has been a member of Maroon 5 and has contributed to many of the group's albums, including 2012's Overexposed, 2014's V, and 2017's Red Pill Blues. The son of fellow recording artist Bishop Paul S. Morton and Pastor Dr. Debra Brown Morton, PJ Morton was born in New Orleans in 1981. He played music growing up, and eventually majored in marketing at Morehouse College, graduating in 2003. During this period, he launched his music career, releasing an album with his short-lived group Freestyle Nation, and contributing to India.Arie's Grammy-winning 2002 album Voyage to India. Over the next few years, he released genre-crossing independent albums such as Emotions and Perfect Song while collaborating with Anthony David, Faith Evans, Monica, and Kierra "KiKi" Sheard. He also had a breakthrough success with the gospel hit "Let Go," written for DeWayne Woods. Morton's 2010 album, Walk Alone, featured his own version of the song, and he and his father performed the GMA Dove winner for the live release Bishop Morton Celebrates 25 Years of Music. Along the way, Morton relocated to Los Angeles. In 2010, he joined Maroon 5 as a performing keyboardist and background vocalist. The work didn't slow his solo career; he signed to Young Money and released the album New Orleans -- featuring guest appearances from Stevie Wonder, Busta Rhymes, and Maroon 5's Adam Levine -- in May 2013. The album's single "Only One" earned him a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Song. Despite his success, Morton grew dissatisfied with Los Angeles, and eventually moved back to New Orleans, where he founded his own Morton Records label. In 2017, he returned with his fifth solo album, Gumbo, which included appearances by Pell, BJ the Chicago Kid, and the Hamiltones. Also included on the album was a cover of the Bee Gees' "How Deep Is Your Love," which won the Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Performance. Morton re-created the album live in 2018 and released it as Gumbo Unplugged (Live), which featured guests like Lecrae and Yebba. The holiday-themed Christmas with PJ Morton followed in November of that year. ~ Andy Kellman
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R&B - Released March 31, 2017 | Morton Records
R&B - Released January 1, 2013 | Cash Money Records - Motown Records
PJ Morton arrives as a new artist on his hometown Cash Money label, but the New Orleans native is known in the gospel world as the son of Bishop Paul S. Morton, and as the writer of the Dove-winning "Let Go" (commonly referred to as "Let Go, Let God"), released by DeWayne Woods in 2006. R&B fans serious enough to scan credits have seen the name linked to albums from India.Arie, Anthony David, Jagged Edge, and Monica. Since 2010, he's performed keyboards and background vocals for Maroon 5. From several angles, Morton has toed the mainstream. He's poised for a splash, but he's rather unique with his affable, down-to-earth personality, lack of artifice, and persistently positive mix of R&B, rock, and pop. With over a decade in the industry and a handful of independent albums to his credit, Morton sounds undeniably seasoned on New Orleans, supported by a shifting lineup of musicians, appearances from obvious hero Stevie Wonder, Busta Rhymes, and Maroon 5's Adam Levine, and a couple assists from fellow genre-crossing producer Warryn Campbell (Mary Mary). The album is his most polished work, largely made of relatable songs that deal in devotion, working through conflict, and walking away. It's agreeably middle of the road with a few standouts. "Only One," which features a Stevie harmonica solo and sounds as if it could have been written by Ne-Yo, is a joyous highlight, while "Work It Out" and "Trade It All" are among the year's better adult R&B ballads. The less memorable material is saved by Morton's likability and warmth. ~ Andy Kellman
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