soulciti (SC): How has the tour been going so far? What is a highlight?
P.J. MORTON (PJ): Tour has been amazing! I think the highlight has just been the energy in each city. Everyone singing the songs word for word.
SC: The new album is amazing! What did you learn about yourself personally, spiritually, and/or professionally between New Orleans and Gumbo?
PJ: Thank you! Personally and professionally I think I learned what really mattered to me in terms of fame versus creating something that might not be as popular. I learned that being myself and creating something that will stand the test of time meant the most to me. The rest will take care of itself.
SC: We assume you grew up eating Gumbo, so: 1) what is the secret to a good tasting bowl, 2) who makes the best in your family, and 3) where should we go get some if we’re in New Orleans?
PJ: The secret is having the right amount of seafood and seasoning.. also the thinness of the broth. My grandmother had the best before she passed away. My brother in law is amazing too! I’d say go to someone’s house for it, but if you can’t make it there, go to Neyows.
I’m old soul mixed with new vibes.
SC: What part of your upbringing in New Orleans contributed most to what we hear in your sound today? And, what prompted your decision to record the entire album there?
PJ: I think just being brought up in New Orleans you develop a certain respect for music. You understand the importance of it and the people who make it. I really think that mentality played the biggest part in what you hear. Not something sonically per se, but the integrity in the music. My reason for recording the whole album there is that I moved back to Nola and it gave me a certain freedom that no other city has given me. There was a sense of ‘do whatever you want to do as long as it’s special’ That’s the environment every artist should be able to create in.
SC: Describe your sound and vibe in one sentence.
PJ: I’m an old soul mixed with new vibes.
SC: In your single, Claustrophobic, you talk about the idea of being boxed in as an artist. What is the biggest challenge you face bringing your unique voice to a larger audience?
PJ: I guess the biggest challenge is being an artist whose music isn’t the sound of popular music. So you get advice to add the popular sounds in order to make you popular. So the biggest challenge is remaining yourself – while trying to reach as many people as possible.
SC: Following up on that, what’s your ultimate vision for yourself as a recording artist?
PJ: Just to make honest music and to get it to as many people as possible.
SC: What city or cities show you the most love when on tour?
PJ: Whew.. I’m grateful that we get love all over. Some that stand out are LA, Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, DC, NYC..
SC: When was the last time you played in Austin? Where did you play?
PJ: The last time was SXSW probably 7 years ago. Can’t remember the name of the club I played.
SC: Finally, your father is a pastor. What is the best piece of advice he has given you so far?
PJ: To always strive for excellence and to be a well balanced person.
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