James Morrison has returned to music feeling fresh and armed with new material, but it was a difficult journey to get there after enduring the hardest years of his life filled with heartbreak and devastation.
The You Give Me Something crooner released his new album, You’re Stronger Than You Know, back in March and is currently promoting his new single So Beautiful, written by Take That’s Gary Barlow.
But even as recently as a year or two ago, James’ headspace couldn’t have been further away from creating music.
James, 35, tragically lost his father while recording his 2015 album, Higher Than Here, and then he and his wife, Gill Catchpole, suffered two miscarriages around that time.
The couple, who welcomed their first child Elsie in 2008, then fell pregnant with their second child while mourning the loss of James’ father.
But there was further heartache in store as Ada-Rose was born at just 24 weeks old – 16 weeks early.
To add to his personal heartbreak, James was released from his contract with record label Island.
Recalling the turmoil, James told Metro.co.uk: ‘It feels amazing [to be back], loads of things are coming together not just in my music, but in my personal life.
‘There were things that were really difficult to deal with and it just came together. I had a baby which turned out really well even though we were told it wasn’t going to be easy.
‘That was a massive thing to me and feeling better, was knowing that stuff in my personal life had sorted itself out. And the music was just a nice little icing on the cake. It allowed me to enjoy being in the music industry again and doing it my way.’
James sees being let go from Island as a blessing in disguise as it then allowed him to record music that felt ‘homegrown’.
‘It felt like a fresh slate. Just because I wasn’t the person I was four years before. I was in a different headspace and a bit disillusioned with it all. I’d been working my a*s off for so long and had been successful,’ James explained.
‘I was so busy and wasn’t really enjoying it as such, I was just trying to get through it. Coming back to it made me appreciate it when it wasn’t going good.’
He added: ‘I have to go to that place when it wasn’t going well for me to appreciate it when it wasn’t going well.’
After taking time out to mourn his losses and also enjoy his new bundle of joy that was Ada-Rose, James is back with a fresh new approach to his music.
The Brit Award-winner said of recording his latest album: ‘It wasn’t an easier place to do it from in terms of where I was at. But it made the music a lot more easier to deal with.
‘It didn’t seem like a mammoth thing to do, I was just recording an album. Whereas before I had any problems with my daughter and pregnancy and stuff, I would have seen it as a problem.’
He added: ‘Like s**t, I need to record another album that’s good and all the weight of success that comes with that.
‘I didn’t really worry about it so much because I was concentrating on my daughter.’
James’ new single was co-written by Gary Barlow 10 years ago, but it’s only now that it resonates with the musician.
‘I didn’t really appreciate the lyrics until 10 years later. And then after everything I’d been through, I felt it just seemed like it was a nice thing that I wanted to say,’ he explained.
‘That’s why I kind of like it now because weirdly all the lyrics in the song just seem to see to sort of be true to everything I’d been through.
‘It was a nice way to mark what journey I’ve been on with [my wife] and with myself as a musician,’ he said.
James is a veteran in music after making his debut in 2006 but appreciates new acts like Lewis Capaldi bringing back traditional vocals and notching up the Spotify streams.
Speaking of which, the musician has amassed well over 200 million streams on the platform but believes he probably hasn’t been paid.
‘I can honestly say I’ve never seen a slip with Spotify on it. I don’t think I’ve ever been paid by Spotify. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a slip that says Spotify and how much I’ve been paid,’ the singer revealed.
‘I use Spotify myself quite a lot. So I know that a lot of people use it and a lot streams get downloaded. I don’t know how it all works or how equates to hit single.’
Someone get that man a cheque.
But streams aren’t what motivate James as ultimately, he just cares about making music his children can be proud of.
‘I just want to make tunes that sound good and that my daughters aren’t going to be embarrassed of,’ he admitted.
James Morrison’s album, You’re Stronger Than You Know, and new single So Beautiful are available to buy and stream now.
The singer’s current tour will arrive in the UK on 26 October with the leg’s first show in Gloucester.
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