James’ album is preceded with the release of its lead single ‘My Love Goes On’. An impassionate modern soul anthem, the conversational confessional finds Morrison’s once-in-a-generation vocals complemented by Joss Stone. Their connection goes back to when she presented him with the BRIT Award for British Male Solo Artist in 2007. The track is accompanied by an official video, which captures a beautiful performance from James and Joss in a recording studio in Chicago.
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“I always love working with people, especially when they have a wicked voice like Joss. She’s from the same musical heritage as me. I’m excited to celebrate soul music with another artist who is recognised for soul.”
Harking back to the Stax and Motown eras that he loves, ‘You’re Stronger Than You Know’ is the album that James Morrison has always wanted to make. Vocally he’s never sounded better, with his honest songwriting inspiring a voice that exudes power, tenderness and experience. His band, meanwhile, hit that life-affirming sweet spot between rambunctious energy and tight musicianship.
While the album possesses some darker moments, the overriding feeling is that it offers a beacon of positivity in a climate of bad news. You wouldn’t guess that these songs emerged from such a turbulent time in his life.
Everything threatened to collapse around him as he worked on a follow-up to his 2015 set ‘Higher Than Here’. His relationship with his long-term partner Gill hit tough times and he lost his natural songwriting instinct. His previous label was pushing him to write uplifting music when he was in the pits of despair. He also wanted to stand apart from the rush of male singer-songwriters who had followed in his wake.
Writing songs with no particular end goal in mind, Morrison gradually overcame his struggles until he realised that he had some of the best material of his career – and more than enough to make an album.
It’s a collection which sees Morrison bravely digging into his emotions over the past four years. It’s particularly striking in the powerful centrepiece ‘Slowly’, in which he questions how to reignite his creativity and tackles his tumultuous upbringing with his parents.
Family is also a consistent theme throughout the record. The uplifting closing ballad ‘Until The Stars Go Out’ was written in support of his eldest daughter when she was bullied in school, while other songs – notably ‘So Beautiful’ and ‘Power’ – celebrate his love and appreciation for Gill. He wrote ‘So Beautiful’ with Gary Barlow a decade ago, but only recently discovered that the song spoke to his current feelings. And ‘Power’, a lyric from which gives the album its title, celebrates the fact that the couple have achieved so much by overcoming challenging times.
For the first time in his career, Morrison made the record with one producer (Mark Taylor) which infuses it with a cohesiveness that’s a hallmark of all of the classic albums. British Grove Studios in London provided the perfect location for recording with a balance between vintage equipment and modern technology. The core of the album was recorded within a week, before a second was spent adding the finishing touches – overdubs, backing vocals and horns.
Set to be released on CD and digital formats, ‘You’re Stronger Than You Know’ is now available to pre-order from https://ADA.lnk.to/YSTYK, with ‘My Love Goes On’ provided as an instant download.James Morrison’s first full UK tour in three years includes a BEXHILL date and then travels the length of the country…