plus TJ Doyle / Shana Halligan / Al'Michael / Sheldon Botler
Sunday, Jul 21, 2013 7:00 PM PDT
(7:00 PM Doors)
Roxy Theatre, West Hollywood, CA
PJ Morton coined the phrase “soulful pop” to describe his approach to music years ago. His explanation was as complex as it was simple. The concept of soulfulness can seamlessly span genres, yet remains tangible. By the same token, “pop” music is not genre specific it simply engulfs whatever is popular with a majority at a particular time. PJ’s refusal to be defined by one dimension of sound resulted in musical ingenuity. Today the keyboardist/vocalist for superstar band Maroon 5 is simultaneously the newest solo act to join Young Money, PJ Morton found his balance, and the industry followed.
Born into the richly melodic soil of New Orleans, PJ recalls a musically inspired upbringing where his talents were eagerly nurtured. Though encompassed in gospel environment, he was also strongly influenced by pop icons the Beatles and James Taylor, but equally moved by soulful legends Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway. “The great thing about gospel is that it doesn’t sound like one thing. It crosses genres, it offered great training,” he acknowledges. These three diverse persuasions shaped PJ’s growth as a musician and propelled him to find his own artistry. Past influences are evident when he describes the dichotomy of his sound, “It’s sweet and sour. It’s chicken and waffles. It’s a hip hop bass line meshed with symphonies of stringed instruments, synthetic sounds intermingling with real instrumentation,” he explains. It’s nothing short of kismet years later PJ would find himself juxtaposed behind the keyboards of the group that many would classify as a new millennium version of the Beatles and the burgeoning new solo act on the hip hop imprint with a consecutive chokehold on the Billboard charts.
PJ’s first musical experiment was a band entitled Freestyle Nation. Ironically the band made its debut at the same time as Maroon 5. “In Maroon 5 I witnessed that blend of soulful music with a pop/rock vibe and I remember wanting my band to be signed to the same label because it was evident they understood the sound.” Freestyle Nation went on to achieve nominal success, but PJ would be validated by the industry as a highly-celebrated songwriter/producer. After nabbing a Grammy for his songwriting and production of India Arie’s “Interested,” PJ went on to win Dove and Stellar awards. His collaboration with gospel crooner DeWayne Woods resulted in a huge career high. The testimony PJ articulated in “Let Go, Let God,” catapulted up the charts for a record seventy weeks and garnering numerous awards and accolades, most importantly bringing PJ’s early influences full circle.
Synergy continues to connect PJ with key people that are able to offer even more diversity to his personal roster. The Grammy, Stellar and Dove Award-winning songwriter/producer caught the attention of internationally recognized, Oscar Award winning composer AR Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire). AR tapped PJ to contribute “Sajna” to the soundtrack and movie for the Vince Vaughn comedy Couples Retreat, further broadening PJ’s mainstream appeal.