British musician James Morrison wants to break away from his easy listening, pop-soul sound. Morrison emerged in 2006 with a throaty voice, adorable curls, and a pocket full of languid love songs. Much to Morrison’s dismay, this debut quickly pushed him into a singer-songwriter category, perhaps best described as “people you’d expect to find on the soundtrack of a Richard Curtis film.” It is a label that Morrison’s been uncomfortable with ever since and is finally trying to combat with his third album, The Awakening. A much more energetic affair than his previous records, The Awakening features a few funk-heavy songs such as “In My Dreams” and “Beautiful Life” and a collaboration with English pop sensation (think Rihanna via Adele) Jessie J. There are still a few Love Actually-worthy tracks for Morrison’s loyal fans; his first single “I Won’t Let You Go” has already featured in commercials for Australian soap-opera (and perquisite first “break” for Australian movie stars) Home and Away, but the album is definitely a step in a more personal, honest direction.
On his last visit to New York, Morrison popped by our offices to discuss his take on The Awakening, his public persona, and his favorite day of the week. (We stick to the important stuff).