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Aberdeen-bound Brit award winner James Morrison on the pressures of coping with fame

Singer, songwriter James Morrison is set to headline Aberdeen. Photo by Parri Thomas
Singer, songwriter James Morrison is set to headline Aberdeen. Photo by Parri Thomas

Brit award winner James Morrison admits he struggled to cope with the pressures of fame when hitting the big time.

A meteoric rise propelled the songwriter, who headlines The Music Hall in Aberdeen on Saturday, from obscurity to the top within a whirlwind year.

James released worldwide smash-hit debut single You Give Me Something in July 2006.

Only seven months later he picked up the Brit award for British Male Solo Artist.

Ahead of his Granite City show, James says he spent years battling the pressures of a demanding music industry and life in the limelight.

Now, however, the 37-year-old is enjoying music… and life.

He aims to bring that exuberance to Aberdeen as part of a Greatest Hits tour celebrating a 15-year career.

Chart-topping star James Morrison has released a Greatest Hits album. Photo by Parri Thomas.

He said: “I was a different person when I started out 15 years ago.

“I had loads more insecurities and was feeling the pressure of being a recording artist quite a bit.

“It started once I signed my record deal and put out the album which did really well.

“There was then an intense period of writing, being in the studio and worrying about it.

“Also being out in the world and meeting people. Once you are out you realise ‘oh no’ – you can’t take fame back.

“I was thrust into it and it took me a long time to be able to mentally handle it and understand what it is.

“To remember what’s  important and what’s not important.”

Brit award winner James Morrison will headline The Music Hall in Aberdeen. Photo by Parri Thomas

‘It’s a blast. I’m loving it’

To coincide with the 15th anniversary of that Brit Award win a Greatest Hits album was recently released.

The package is not only a snapshot of the past. It offers a picture of where James is now, and where he aims to go in the future.

James also recorded two new songs for the Greatest Hits album – Don’t Mess With Love and Who’s Gonna Love Me Now.

From obscurity to chart topper and Brit winner in a year, James Morrison. Photo by Parri Thomas

He said: “It doesn’t feel like there’s so much pressure on me now.

“It’s more enjoyable and I don’t take it so seriously.

“Having two kids did that for me.

“To be able to give them the upbringing I never had made me feel like I was winning.

“Then the music was easy after that.

“I’m just grateful I’m still doing it and that people are still into it.

“It’s a blast, I’m loving it.”

Written in 10 minutes, still powerful

In reassessing the tracks of his career James came to realise how important they are to the fabric of many fans’ lives.

When fans are troubled they look for solace in his words and music.

That’s the power of music. A song that took James 10 minutes to write, I Won’t Let You Go, resonates with fans more than a decade later.

And will continue to touch fans for many more.

He said: “A lot of the songs, when I first wrote them, I didn’t think they would end up being what they now are.

“I went into the studio, wrote it, put it down and forgot about it.

“Certain songs like I Won’t Let You Go was a quick one, that came in 10 minutes.

“I didn’t think it would be everyone’s song to go to when they’re having a bad time.

“I’m really proud of that though.

“That over the years my songs have cemented into people’s consciousness.”

This is just the beginning for James

This summer James will headline Kew The Music with Will Young before performing at Wembley Stadium as special guest of Westlife.

Last year he performed live with legend Paul Weller at the Barbican Theatre, accompanied by the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

He said: “To get to a point where I’m putting out a greatest hits is amazing for me.

“I’m not finished yet, I feel like I’m just getting going.

“Now I’m reaping the rewards for all the hard work and tough times.

“I’ve been getting to work with really great artists like Paul Weller and do amazing gigs.

“And live, my band’s sound is awesome.

“I would want to go to this gig in Aberdeen if it wasn’t me singing. They just sound so amazing.

“It reminds me of all my favourite music from the sixties and seventies.

“When people sang and played properly, instead of all this catchy pop stuff that has never really resonated with me.

“Even when I was 21 I was quite old fashioned so I’ve had to deal with the fact that I’m not ever going to be the coolest, trendiest guy.

“And I don’t care.

“As long as I love the music I’m making and I can stand by it and say I did the best I can do is great.

“And that feeling has come with time.”

Brit award winner James Morrison will headline The Music Hall in Aberdeen. Photo by Parri Thomas

Doomed hunt for a kilt in Aberdeen

James will make a welcome return to the Granite City, a city he has always enjoyed playing.

He particularly remembers his previous appearance.

James Morrison in concert at the Music Hall, Aberdeen in 2007.

He said: “The last time I was in Aberdeen I remember it was pouring down with rain.

“My bass player wanted to get a kilt.

“But it was a black kilt and looked like a skirt.

“He didn’t wear it in the end. I wouldn’t have minded if he had got a normal kilt that was tartan.

“I love playing Scotland, they bring great energy to the gigs.

“Any gigs down south are great but as you get past the Midlands and go north it gets a little bit more lively and loose.

“My nan was Glaswegian so I feel like I have that connection when I’m in Scotland.

“We’re playing Aberdeen on Saturday. The perfect night to have a gig.”

For more information and tickets for James Morrison at the Music Hall visit aberdeenperformingarts.com


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