PJ Morton Discusses Going To The Same High School As Mack Maine

April 14, 2012 by Danny M


PJ Morton Discusses Going To The Same High School As Mack Maine

VIBE recently caught up with PJ Morton for an interview and discussed touring, signing to Young Money, going to the same high school with Mack Maine, growing up in New Orleans, his music influences and more. Hit the jump to read the full interview.

VIBE: Your tour has you playing in some major cities. Are you enjoying life on the road as a new artist?
PJ: Yeah, one thing about being independent all of these years, the touring is your radio when you’re indie, and so now that I’m finally in a major situation that was one of the things that was already on my side being able to hit these cities and do these shows.

This is your show, the spotlight is all on you.
I’m excited. Prior to Maroon 5, I was still always doing my solo thing and touring on the road. A lot of these venues we’ve done before but it’s just exciting because now there are new eyes on me. So it’s sort of a re-introduction but we have been doing this for years.

Of the new material, is there a specific record your looking forward to performing?
Well live, I think “never get over you” is gonna really translate. It’s finalized and we added some things to it and I think it’s going to go over well. Yeah, Never Get Over You is probably my favorite record. Heavy is a staple. We started to play that last year. It’s a “bluesy” thing so that definitely feels good live but we never played Never Get Over You before so I think people will really dig that.

Do you feel that the news about you signing a deal with Young Money was over-looked due to the other big names that were allegedly being signed to the label as well?
Not really man. I think online they hype it up a bit more. The truth of the matter is it’s just Busta, Mystikal, Limp and Christina Milian. People start adding names and start saying Young Money is signing everybody. I don’t think it’s quite that much. It’s definitely not more than any other label that signs anybody. But I didn’t feel like I was overlooked because I think I’m kind of the only signing of my kind so that separated me a little bit. There’s no adult male singers, I’m the only one on Young Money that’s doing that. There’s nobody in my lane, they’re rappers, they’re female singers, Torion is a younger singer but there is no adult pop/R&B males that are on the label. So I feel like I have my own lane and my own space over there and even with the EP, creatively–which is why I signed from the beginning, those guys are open to you just being yourself.

What would you say are some misconceptions in the media of Young Money?
I think there are a few misconceptions. One is that Young Money just signs everybody. (Laughs) There are probably 20 artists signed to Young Money in total, and you look at a Universal or Columbia or any of these other labels, there are hundreds/thousands of artists. I think the second misconception from me, coming from the R&B side people didn’t understand how I was signing to Young Money. Like were they going to change me because they were primarily hip-hop but I think what people don’t understand about Young Money is that they are a creative force. When Drake came out, no one was doing what Drake was doing. Wayne changed up a lot of stuff that he was doing and them signing me was for that purpose.They still had that same mind set of not trying to follow trends. think Young Money represents the old school type of record business more than any other label. Labels used to sign people because they believed in them and but now new labels are like, If somebody’s hot right now, they say’ oh we have to get our version of that and make them hot.’ Money doesn’t chase that, they chase creating something new.

Is it true that you and Mack Maine grew up together, both being from New Orleans?
Me and Mack went to high-school together in New Orleans and we were always cool. So I guess he went on to do his thing, I saw him doing his thing with Wayne and I was doing my thing on the road and writing and production. We kind of just reconnected and it just came to a point where it really made sense for us to work together. That’s the family vibe that’s over there and that’s why I felt like I would be most taken care of and with people who had my best interest in mind. This is family, this is New Orleans, this is where we come from and fam takes care of fam. It was just a natural progression. We never forced it before the time and it just kind of happened itself. It was a real natural thing .

How did growing up in New Orleans and in the Church influence your music and where you are today?
My dad is a pastor, so gospel music and the church is the first thing that I was around. So when I started to write and produce music–I never been a gospel artist, I never put out Gospel music as an artist but I did write and produce for other people because that was around me and that’s what I was inspired by initially. And then being from New Orleans also, I think the reason I went the more soulful route.

If you’re not a rapper coming out of New Orleans it’s like you got brass and horns and all of this good music that you grow up on and I think the way that affected my music now is the same reason I have rap beats but there’s string arrangements on top of them and horns on top of them. I think New Orleans really instilled the integrity of instrumentation for me. I never wanted to totally throw that way.

Who were some of the people that you listened to growing up that influenced you and your music?
For the number one is Stevie Wonder. I can’t even stress it enough. I went through a Stevie phase where it was just Stevie and nothing else and I was so young, I was 13 or 14. Somebody gave me a Stevie record and I heard songs that I never heard before and it kind of just changed my life, and I was like I’m done. I don’t want to hear anyone else. My mom put me on the Beatles when I was a little kid and that kind of affected me. James Taylor, the folk artist schooled me in writing. When I used to listened to him I saw a different way to write songs. I was a young musicians but I used to listen to some really old music.

Who are some other big names that you wrote/produced for.
Indie was the first shot at the major and mainstream music. I was on Jermaine Dupri’s team as a writer and producer, so I worked with Monica and Jagged Edge, LL. I worked with Ruben Studdard, Musiq Soulchild and many others. That was my hustle, I would write and produce for these major artists and use that money to do the indie thing that I wanted to do.

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One Response to “PJ Morton Discusses Going To The Same High School As Mack Maine”

  1. noize Says:

    Didn’t mack go same high school as wayne though?


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