This magical city gave birth to jazz music, and its streets breed inspiration like no other. After traveling the world as a successful solo artist and keyboardist for pop powerhouse Maroon 5, GRAMMY® Award- and Dove® Award-winning singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist PJ Morton gained a new perspective on his old stomping grounds that would inform his 2017 solo offering and debut for his own Morton Records, the aptly titled Gumbo.
By the time he moved back in 2016, Morton had built an unbelievable career. In addition to boasting collaborations with Adam Levine, Lil Wayne, and Busta Rhymes, his critically acclaimed 2013 offering, New Orleans, earned a 2014 GRAMMY® Award nomination in the category of “Best R&B Song” for “Only One” [feat. Stevie Wonder]. Pitchfork called it, “a smooth and soulful pop/R&B hybrid,” and the record dramatically expanded his influence. In addition to figuring prominently on Maroon 5’s multiplatinum Overexposed and V, Morton has written and produced for everybody from BJ The Chicago Kid, Jermaine Dupri, and Jazmine Sullivan to Monica and India.Arie, winning a GRAMMY® for collaborating with the latter in 2008. His music has also popped up in films such as Couples Retreat and more. Among many other accolades, he has received Dove® and Stellar® Awards, published his literary debut Why Can’t I Sing About Love? in 2009, and become music director for Solange following the release of her critically acclaimed opus A Seat At The Table. Relocating from Los Angeles, he returned home with a pronounced fire and hunger.
PJ holed up in the Parlor Recording Studio, stirring up what would become Gumbo as he personally composed on vintage keyboards, Moog bass, and more. Evoking heroes such as Stevie, Marvin Gaye, and Al Green, he enlisted a rotating musical cast of longtime friends and collaborators to join him such as Mutemath’s Darren King [drums], Keyon Harrold [trumpet], Chris Payton [guitar], DJ Raymond [bass], Brian Cockerham [bass], Matt Jones [arranger], and Big Ed Clark [drums]. With a dash of R&B groove, hip-hop bounce, and a whole lot of his signature soul, the ten tracks immediately simmer. The handclap shuffle of “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” [feat. BJ The Chicago Kid & The Hamiltones builds into one of the album’s most powerful hooks, nodding to Marvin’s “What’s Going On.” For PJ, Gumbo spans the entire spectrum—from his soulful remake of the classic Bee Gees’ song “How Deep Is Your Love” to the ponderous “Religion.” It represents the musical diversity at his core and a larger mission statement. Ultimately, it’s also a new beginning for PJ. Checkout our latest and exclusive interview with PJ Morton.