Back to the Basics
In 2007, English singer-songwriter James Morrison won the BRIT Award for British Male Solo Artist with his debut album Undiscovered – and his debut single “You Give Me Something” became a hit in multiple countries. Morrison went on to release two more albums before taking a four-year sabbatical from the music industry (up until 2015’s Higher Than Here), which was soon followed by another four-year hiatus. Over time, things have changed quite a bit.
Earlier this year, Morrison released You’re Stronger Than You Know, but has also had to adjust to new expectations of the business. “It’s a lot more ruthless,” he recalls. “The turnaround of what’s hot and what’s not is a lot quicker than what it used to be.” He’s found that there is a lack of mystery surrounding artists due to the output of behind-the-scenes videos, Twitter updates, and Instagram posts. Although he finds it more draining as an artist these days, his love for music and seeing fans on tour makes it all worth it.
Morrison owes a lot of his success to his upbringing; he feels that growing up in a very real environment with problems and issues toughened him up and gave him a good grounding. Being rooted in who he was as a person and what he believed in before entering the music industry allowed him to feel comfortable in his own skin from the very beginning. He has always made a conscious effort to keep his ego out of his decisions – and to remain in tune with how he feels – in order to move in the right direction (“I always try to be real as an artist. If something doesn’t feel right, I trust my instincts”).
Although Morrison dealt with multiple tragedies in his personal life while taking time away from music, including the deaths in the family, it was working on You’re Stronger Than You Know that helped him come back from such a dark place, giving him the space to work through his emotions and produce an album that he was proud of. He says it was a therapeutic process for him, being able to manage the situation in that way as opposed to dealing with it head-on. “I sort of forgot where I was coming from. With this album, I’ve come back to what I’m about again – which is the songs,” he shares, also affirming that You’re Stronger Than You Know is one of the best albums he’s made so far. The entire recording process took two weeks as Morrison and his band maintained an unwavering focus on creating exactly what they were going for. “I wanted an empowering album title,” he adds. “And my other half, she needed to hear something positive like that.”
When he’s not immersed in his music and writing process, Morrison tries to stay away from work at all costs and fully concentrate on being a good partner to his fiancée Gill and father to their two daughters Elsie and Ada-Rose. He also hopes to set up a studio in his home, which would allow him the freedom to continuously create and produce music that he is thrilled with while remaining close to his family. “I bought a house about ten years ago, and I’ve been working on it ever since,” he says. “To actually see my family in it and enjoy it – that’s my dream.”
Writer: Tara McDonough
Photographer: Owen James Vincent
Stylist: Laura Moss
Men’s Grooming: Ruth Warrior
Videographer: Sophie Todd
Editor: Eiko Watanabe
Special thanks to wagamama (@wagamama_uk - www.wagamama.com) & EPK Media (@myepk & @epkmedia - epkmedia.com)