Singer, songwriter, producer
New Orleans’ own PJ Morton, singer, songwriter, producer, Morton Records founder, and Maroon 5 keyboardist, is following up his Grammy nominated album “Gumbo” and its live version, “Gumbo Live,” with an album fit to unwrap for the holidays.
Released on November 9, “Christmas with PJ Morton” puts a decidedly New Orleans, funky spin on holiday classics, such as Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” and debuts some Morton originals, as well.
Morton has collaborated with Billboard topping artists, such as Adam Levine, Lil Wayne, Busta Rhymes, India.Arie, and Solange, through his music, songwriting, music direction, and production.
The collaboration and creativity continues into the New Year, with announcements and official news still to come. New Orleans Magazine checked in with Morton on where he’s been (on tour around the world!) and where he’s going, both creatively and personally.
Q: How did growing up in New Orleans influence you and your music? It really instilled a pride and respect for music. And as a musician, the city made me wear that as a badge of honor.
Q: How it is playing in a very popular band then doing music on your own compare as an experience? It’s really the best of both worlds for me. Maroon 5 has allowed me to check many of my bucket list dreams off. Doing my own music is just a much more personal experience and connection. I’m speaking as myself in that instance.
Q: You tour extensively both across the U.S. and around the world. What are your favorite places/countries to play? I love South America and Asia. Both beautiful and the fans give so much love.
Q: What’s it like for you to return to New Orleans to perform? It’s home! It really feels like that. They know me. It’s just like a family reunion.
Q: Tell us about your new album – what was the inspiration? Well I’ve always loved Christmas music. My family always made a big deal about Christmas and the music. I just thought it was time to do a really soulful Christmas record. I wanted to put my spin on these songs that I’ve always loved.
Q: Your album “Gumbo” was nominated for two Grammy awards. What does that recognition mean to you? The Grammys are still the biggest stage in music. And it’s voted on by your music peers. Means a lot to me.
Q: What does the word “gumbo” mean to you? Gumbo means a mixture of all types of things to make one beautiful thing.
Q: Finally, a gumbo follow up – chicken and sausage or seafood gumbo, and who makes the best? Seafood gumbo with sausage. My grandmother did before she passed away.
AT A GLANCE
Favorite Movie: Coming to America
Favorite Album: Innervisions
Favorite New Orleans restaurant: My friend’s new restaurant Morrow’s
Favorite things to do when not touring: Sleep!
Favorite Place for Live Music in New Orleans: House of Blues or Blue Nile
Must haves when touring: My laptop and recording equipment
True Confession: I watch too much reality TV.