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The time is now for one of the industry’s best-kept secrets: PJ Morton. The Maroon 5 keyboardist/backing vocalist made his major label debut on May 14 with New Orleans, his first album for Young Money Entertainment/Republic Records. One listen to Morton’s anticipated project quickly reveals why the multi-talent became a favorite on the indie R&B circuit and an in-demand songwriter/producer and also why the limitless talent will be a game changer for the Lil Wayne-founded Young Money.
New Orleans marks the Cash Money imprint’s first step toward broadening its already wide appeal, thanks to a hit-making and award-winning roster that includes founder Lil Wayne, Drake and Nicki Minaj. And there’s no better ambassador to musically personify that message than Morton, whose self-described “soulful pop” seamlessly spans multiple genres from gospel and R&B/funk to pop and rock.
“I’ve always pushed boundaries,” says Morton, “but I always remain true to who I am musically. New Orleans is a natural progression of who I am. I can’t explain it except through my music. That proves it better than anything I can say.”
Building that case is “Only One” featuring Stevie Wonder. Quickly garnering strong reaction following its January premiere on Billboard.com, the song is the lead single from New Orleans. Armed with an infectious hook and a head-boppin’ groove, the up-tempo number showcases Morton’s velvety tenor, songwriting skills and musicianship, accented by Wonder’s distinctive harmonica.