Maroon 5's PJ Morton plays concert, hosts master class on Thursday

PJ Morton is a preacher’s kid. That description alone sets off a chain of assumptions in most of us, and Morton has been categorized and criticized according to those assumptions more than once in his musical career.

The solo artist and member of Maroon 5 is a songwriter, producer, musician and vocalist. Morton joined Maroon 5 in 2010 after auditioning as a keyboardist and vocalist.

“I typically work on my solo stuff when Adam [Levine] is doing The Voice,” Morton said. “We just got back from a European tour last week, so I’ll be touring in support of my new project. I expect we’ll go back out as Maroon 5 in the fall.”

The project Morton is touring for in July and August is Live Show Killer, a collection of what Morton calls fan favorites from his previous albums.

“The album name comes from a nickname my fans gave me,” Morton said. “I love doing a live show, so I wanted to do a live recording.”

In order to keep the feel of a live recording with all the benefits of a world-class recording studio, Morton used Henson Recording Studios’ famous Studio A in Hollywood (where “We are the World” was recorded) with a small, live in-studio audience. He played to the crowd as he would in any live show, and the event was recorded in one take.

“My identity as an artist is really on stage more than anything,” Morton said. “It gives me a chance to get across to the audience who I am and the songs I write.”

Morton is a New Orleans native from a talented musical family. His father is a pastor and bishop as well as a gospel singer. He has released a solo album and singles and choral productions with two mass choirs. Paul S. Morton is also the founder and past bishop of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship, an affiliation of African-American Baptist churches that practice spiritual gifts, much like Pentecostals. It was in his father’s church that the younger Morton refined his musical craft.

“The first music I did, both singing and writing, was gospel,” he said. “I think there is a very thin line between gospel and soul.”

Morton said he is ready to start giving back to the music community. As part of that transition, he has started participating in master classes. In performing arts education, master classes are short intensives offered to talented students by experts in their fields. All Access Arts, Arts Council Oklahoma City and Bring Back the Music (a performing arts education program) will present a master class with Morton and his band Thursday and Friday at Millwood High School.

The master class allows students to work with Morton and Good Times Brass Band both individually and in ensembles.

“I like giving back at this level,” Morton said. “I’ve been in the industry as a producer, writer, singer and musician. I like to address all of those components in these classes. It’s like getting to share all different sides of me.”

As part of the two-day event, Avenue 101 hosts Morton and the band for a show on Thursday. It will feature music from the new album, which was released July 7.

Print headline: Killer musician, PJ Morton will be in OKC for a concert and a master class in which he will talk about all aspects of the music biz.

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