It might be too soon for holiday music, but I couldn’t resist not telling you about singer-pianist PJ Morton’s new holiday song and his upcoming Christmas album.
Although PJ Morton is the keyboardist for the pop band Maroon 5, as a solo artist, his musical style is deeply rooted in the soul songbook of Stevie Wonder. Case in point: His Grammy-nominated album Gumbo is a delectable listen (excuse the pun) of soul and R&B music. Songs like “They Gon’ Wanna Come,” goes full Innervisions in both its orchestral sound and introspective lyrics. He takes his Wonder influence a step further on “Religion” where he denounces terrorist acts done under the auspices of God, as well as on the reflective track “Claustrophobic.” You can stream his entire project here.
Next up on PJ Morton’s plate is his holiday album Christmas with PJ, which arrives at digital stores on Friday (Nov. 9). The eight-song collection features the 37-year-old musician’s unique reworkings of your holiday classics.
For example, the set’s lead single is his remake of Mariah Carey’s 1994 holiday mainstay“All I Want for Christmas Is You.” Unlike Carey’s boppier version, Morton gives us a Stevie Wonder-esque vibe with his rendition complete with Stokley Williams (from the R&B group Mint Condition) dueting with him and playing the drums.
In his music video below, we see old home movies of a young Morton and his family enjoying Christmas year after year. The visual is intercut with scenes of Morton and Williams performing in the studio.
Check Out PJ Morton's "All I Want For Christmas is You" Feat. Stokley
As for Morton's upcoming Christmas album, the singer-pianist re-flips several of your favorite yuletide ditties. For example, Morton remixes Donny Hathaway's soulful holiday song "This Christmas" into a joyous New Orleans bounce track. Along with bounce artist HaSizzle's energetic vocals on the song, it will no doubt make you want to shake your butt under the mistletoe.
“I went all the way there with the string orchestra and the horns on top of the bounce beat. I don’t think anyone’s gone that far, to have an orchestra over bounce drums," he told Offbeat magazine about the song. "But that’s me, though! That’s the dichotomy of PJ. A brown beat for Jesus’ birthday with a full orchestra on it. Come on!"
If you want to know how PJ Morton gets ready for Christmas, click the link below. Also, I included one of my favorite songs from his Gumbo project - "How Deep Is Your Love."
Don't sleep on PJ Morton. You can cop/stream his Christmas With PJ album here.
Offbeat Magazine: PJ Morton Gets Ready for Christmas
Listen to PJ Morton's "How Deep Is Your Love"