James Morrison (born James Morrison Catchpole) – 13 August 1984 – is an English singer-songwriter and guitarist from Rugby, Warwickshire. In 2006, his debut single “You Give Me Something” became a hit in Europe, Australia, and Japan, peaking in the top five in the UK and claiming the number 1 spot in New Zealand. His debut album, Undiscovered, debuted at the top of the UK Albums Chart.
In 2007 Morrison won the Brit Award for Best British Male.
Morrison released his second album, Songs for You, Truths for Me in 2008, which entered the top five in the UK as well as topping the Irish Albums Chart. Songs for You, Truths for Me featured the top ten singles “You Make It Real” and his critically acclaimed collaboration with Nelly Furtado titled “Broken Strings”. He has performed with Jason Mraz, Nelly Furtado, and others in concerts and in songs. Morrison wrote a song for Italian singer Marco Carta entitled “Quello che dai”, which debuted at number one in the official chart.
Morrison was born in the town of Rugby, Warwickshire, where he was surrounded by the influence of his parents’ record collection; his mother was a fan of soul while his father enjoyed listening to folk and country. He began playing guitar when his uncle Joe showed him how to play a blues riff.
As a teenager he started busking when he lived in Porth, Newquay, Cornwall, in a local pub called the Phoenix, Watergate Bay. He used to practice playing his guitar on the promenade looking over Porth beach. He took GCSE music at Treviglas Community College. After some years of covering other musicians’ songs, he eventually started to write his own. He attributes his distinctive voice to a severe bout of whooping cough that nearly killed him when he was a baby.
According to Morrison, he was influenced by music from a very young age, listening to artists such as Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding, Van Morrison and Al Green. Morrison said that the first time he heard Stevie Wonder’s voice he was close to tears, and has since been fascinated by the way he utilizes his voice.
Breakthrough and Undiscovered
He achieved worldwide success with debut single “You Give Me Something”, which reached No. 2 in the Netherlands and the No. 5 spot in the UK. He released his debut album Undiscovered on 31 July 2006. The album received generally positive reviews .. It topped the UK Albums Chart on its first week of its release. The album sold over 1 million copies around the world by the end of 2006., making Morrison the best selling male solo artist of 2006 in the UK.
Morrison was scheduled to play at the 2006 V Festival, in one of the smaller tents there. The audience however, was much larger than expected and couldn’t fit into the tent allocated for him. As a result, he had a ten-minute set on the main stage before Hard-Fi came on (Weston Park). At the 2007 V Festival he played his full set on the main stage. He also performed “You Give Me Something” at the 2006 Royal Variety Performance before Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall. He appeared on Live from Abbey Road following his live recording session at Abbey Road Studios on 5 January 2007.
Songs for You, Truths for Me
On 29 September 2008, Morrison’s second album entitled Songs for You, Truths for Me was released. In the writing process for this album he worked with Ryan Tedder, Dan Wilson, Martin Terefe, Martin Brammer, Chris Braide and Steve Robson. The album also features a duet with Nelly Furtado entitled “Broken Strings” co-written with Fraser T Smith and Nina Woodford. From October 2008 until the end of the year Morrison has toured throughout Europe.
“You Make It Real” was released a week before the release of the album as the lead single. As part of the promotion, Morrison performed the single on GMTV, Radio 1’s Live Lounge and the BBC Children in Need charity appeal. The song debuted at number 7 on the UK Singles Chart giving Morrison his third top ten hit. “You Make It Real” spent a total of eight weeks on the chart. The second single of the album was “Broken Strings,” the collaboration with Nelly Furtado. The single was released on 15 December 2008. It entered the singles charts at number 73 and slowly rose for four weeks before, following a performance of the song with Girls Aloud on The Girls Aloud Party, broke into the top ten at number 6, giving Morrison his fourth top ten hit. The following week the song rose to a new high, rising to number 4 on the 2008 Christmas chart. This makes Broken Strings Morrison’s most successful single by peak position to date in the UK as, on 11 January 2009 it climbed to number two.
Following the success of Broken Strings, the album which had been gradually descending down the album chart, made a leap from number forty eight to twenty nine and then two weeks later, re-entered the top ten at number seven. It rose again the next week to number four and was charting at number five, twenty weeks after release. The same effect allowed Songs For You, Truths For Me to gain success in Ireland. After dropping off the Irish Albums Chart completely, it re-entered the chart at number seventy three. It rose for several weeks until it was charting at number thirteen. The next week the album climbed to the top of the chart, entering the top ten at number one. This gave Songs For You, Truths For Me its first number one chart placement and gave Morrison his second number one album.
On 30 April 2009, it was announced on Take That’s official site that Morrison would be supporting the band at some venues and dates on their 2009 tour.
In 2010, Morrison announced that he had been working on his third studio album. In a June 2010 interview he stated “I’ve sung too many love ballads. I want to go a bit deeper than that and find more substance. I still don’t feel confident enough to write by myself, but that is my aim. I just keep convincing myself that I’m not good enough. There are plenty of good singers out there – it’s writing that’s the key thing. When I’m working with other people I’ve heard them say ‘Let’s try to write a James Morrison chorus.’ I want to pretend that I haven’t made any albums at all and start afresh..
Regarding the album’s lyrics, meanwhile, Morrison has admitted that its themes draw on recent events in his personal life – which include becoming a father, while losing his own father following the latter’s long battle with alcoholism and depression.
Songs for You, Truths for Me (2008)
The Awakening (2011)
Higher than Here 2015