Morgan James Goes Cover-to-Cover on the ‘White Album’
Throughout her spectacular career, singer, songwriter, and Broadway actress Morgan James has taken on beloved roles and songs to give them her unique perspective and make them her own. She rocked the stage as Christ herself in an all-female version of Jesus Christ Superstar, took on a full-album acoustic cover of D’Angelo’s Black Messiah, and brought the critics to their feet with her cover of Joni Mitchell’s classic Blue album.
James has also recorded and toured with Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, a musical collective that covers modern songs with a vintage twist – turning today’s pop hits into swing and jazz classics. Most recently, she released a video in which she put her signature spin on the Nirvana grunge rock classic Lithium.
Now James has set her sights on one of the world’s most iconic records: the Beatles’ White Album. While each song is performed in its original key, James provides a soulful vibe and feminine flair to songs originally penned and recorded by four lads from Liverpool.
Listeners find the classic ballads “Blackbird” and “I Will” presented acappella with James showcasing artfully-constructed harmonies. The wistfully mournful lyrics of “Julia” are borne beautifully by her heavenly vocals, while the early heavy metal sound of “Helter Skelter” infuses the album with James’s signature funky soul treatment. The album was produced by her longtime collaborator Doug Wamble, who played the instruments in every song as well as providing additional vocals.
Due for release on October 26, the White Album cover is perfectly timed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original release (which happened on November 22, 1968). Meanwhile, fans will be able to see James perform live on her White to Blue tour across Europe, Canada, and the U.S.
“We wanted to pay homage to this incredible double album by stepping into their shoes, and diving deep,” James said of the White Album project. “I think it’s a side of me that fans haven’t seen before, which is exciting!”
Whether she’s writing and exploring new material or experimenting and putting her own spin on time-honored classics, James is guaranteed to delight both her fans and fans of the original material alike.
"A phenomenal talent whose feel for classic soul music is bone deep...This woman is on fire." -- The New York Times
One voice is all it takes. The right vocalist can make you fall in love at first listen, elicit tears, or bring you back to a different era altogether. A microphone and a stage remain the only necessities. That holds true for New York-based soul singer, songwriter, and Broadway actress Morgan James.
Part of Morgan’s creative trajectory has become centered around her full album cover projects. She covered D’Angelo’s “Black Messiah” one month after its release, Jeff Buckley’s “Grace” and a critically acclaimed full cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Blue”. She now takes on her most ambitious project to date: The Beatles “White” album, celebrating the 50th anniversary of its original release.
Her latest studio album, "Reckless Abandon", is her first as an independent artist, and it is her most personal outing yet, prompting the Huffington Post to call MJ the "Brightest Breakout Artist of the Year". Morgan assumed co-writing duties on all twelve tracks and sang all her own background vocals. The album is stocked with lush horns and harmonies, and stretches limbs between genres for a sound all its own. From the Rufus inspired soul swagger of the opening track "Up In Smoke", to the delicious R&B slow jam "You Thought Not", to the infectious soulful pop of "Unworthy", MJ takes the listener into her new era of freedom and empowerment.
On her full-length debut for Epic Records, “Hunter,” she cast an unbreakable spell with a powerhouse voice, theatrical swing, and a soulful poise. “Hunter” boasts a powerful and personal rendition of Prince’s “Call My Name” (reached Top 15 at Urban AC radio and #1 most added). Morgan assumed co-writing duties on eight of the collection’s eleven tracks and performed all of her own background vocals and harmonies. From the empowering farewell of “Fed Up On You” to the mournful rumination of “Say The Words”, or the soulful duet with Grammy Award winner Robert Glasper, "Let Me Keep You", she continually bares it all—both emotionally and musically.
In addition to her studio albums "Reckless Abandon" and "Hunter", Morgan has released a live tribute to her idol, Nina Simone, "Morgan James Live", as well as an EP featuring some of her fan's favorite covers, "YouTube Sessions". (She can also be heard on countless theatre and concept soundtracks). Morgan is proud to note that no vocal tuning of any kind has been used on any of her albums.
Morgan’s videos on YouTube have accumulated more than 150 million views (and climbing). With viral sensation Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox, Morgan toured the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. She is currently on the road touring with her band!