James Morrison’s ‘The Awakening Tour’ live in Manila
Morrison achieved worldwide success in 2006 with the release of his debut single “You Give Me Something.” His first album, “Undiscovered,” debuted at the top of the UK Album Chart and sold millions of copies, making him the biggest-selling British male solo artist in 2006. The album, which also has the hit singles “Wonderful World” and “The Pieces Don’t Fit Anymore” won him a Brit Award in 2007 for Best British Male Solo Artist.
He released his second album, “Songs for You, Truths for Me” in 2008, which entered the UK Album Chart at number three. The singles from the album reached the top ten of the UK Singles Chart: “You Make It Real,” and “Broken Strings,” a duet with Nelly Furtado.
Morrison is currently touring to promote “The Awakening” album, released in September 2011. As the title of his third and by far best album suggests, “The Awakening” is the sound of an artist coming of age. In his personal life, Morrison has become a father, while losing his own father after the latter’s long battle with alcoholism and depression. At the same time, Morrison, 26, has matured as a singer, songwriter and musician, enabling him to channel all of that emotion into his most accomplished collection of songs yet. “My first two albums felt like practice shots,” he says, “and now I’ve graduated. In many ways this feels like my first proper album.”
Fortunately, “The Awakening” has turned out to be the album that James Morrison always had the potential to make – at last a worthy platform for his extraordinary singing voice. “This time I wasn’t worrying about success at all, and that’s why it was really enjoyable. I didn’t feel I had to go for the big, loud notes all the time – I just sat back and sang how I felt and it all just came flooding out.”
“The Awakening” is a warm, live-sounding collection of classic but contemporary folk-soul songs. There are musical similarities with Morrison’s debut, but with added panache and self-belief. There are soaring strings, uplifting harmonies, soulful ballads and, in “Slave to the Music,” a hand-clapping dance floor groover – a new string to his bow. There are nods to Motown, gospel, country and a hint of Latin. Technically, Morrison remains one of the finest white soul singers, equal parts Stevie Wonder and Paul Young. But he is more than just a Big Voice – he sings from the heart. “To me, pop music is just great music that lasts for years,” he says. “Though there is the other side of pop, which is where you have a hit, but then, after it comes out, it never gets heard again. I never wanted to make that sort of music.”
He has retained the services of regular co-writers including Steve Robson, the man behind Take That’s “Shine,” Eg White (Duffy), Dan Wilson (Adele); as well as Toby Gad, best known for Beyonce’s “If I Were a Boy.” Ten of the 12 songs are produced by Bernard Butler – the acclaimed former guitarist in Suede. Butler, who also played guitar on “The Awakening” and is hailed by Morrison as “the director of the album”, has forged an impressive studio-based career, producing the likes of The Libertines, Tricky and Duffy .
The song “Up,” a duet with Jessie J has “hit” written all over it. It is one of two songs produced by Mark Taylor, who helmed “Broken Strings.” Morrison’s strained relationship with his father, who died last year from heart failure after a protracted and painful battle with alcoholism, inspired the lyrics for “Up” – and several other songs on the album.
“The Awakening” is full of raw emotion, but these are not “downer songs”, says Morrison. “Yes, some of it’s about dealing with shit – but it’s also about looking at yourself and what you’ve got around you, and weighing stuff up to keep yourself thinking positively. I think a lot of people will be able to relate to that, because that’s what life’s like, what relationships are like.”
Make sure to catch James Morrison as he serenades his Filipino fans for the first time.
He will be performing October 9 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Tickets may be purchased from Ticketnet outlets or the Ticketnet Website www.ticketnet.com.ph. For inquiries please call 911-5555. (advt)
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