James Morrison Is No Longer “Undiscovered”

He’s had two top 10 hits in the UK, and he’s up for three Brit awards, but can James Morrison survive the journey across the Atlantic? My answer is an unequivocal yes. A thunderous live performer accompanied by his guitar and a keyboardist, Morrison made a huge impression on the NYC crowd that packed into Piano’s bar last night. You may have heard “You Give Me Something” or “Wonderful World,” but those radio singles only hint at the depth of this 22-year-old singer-songwriter’s raw talent. Close your eyes and you’re blessed with adead ringer for late ’60s/early ’70s Stevie Wonder–with a trace of Tracy Chapman‘s candor. Open your eyes and you see a more baby-faced Chris Martin, wriggling boyishly inside of an opened shirt and tight jeans.

I was mentioning to my colleagues last night that Morrison may actually do a reverse crossover if he’s promoted to R&B radio; like Robin Thicke or Simply Red and Teena Marie before him, he’s a white person who sounds black. He can do the runs and melismas alongside any R&B singer I could list right now. On record, he comes off a bit singer-songwritery – lighter and more earnest. On stage, his songs are more like bluesy caterwauls, and he sings them with the full intestinal force that vibrates the entire room. When he bellowed out “You Give Me Something” last night, the only other sound in the room was the whoosh of one hundred panties dropping in unison. Morrison’s the kind of talent that makes an impact immediately, and you are certain to hear his name in the coming months. You may even get up close and personal with him right here in Anglophenia. One thing: just don’t call him Jim.

His debut album, Undiscovered, hits American stores on March 13th. Check out his new U.S. website.

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He wants to be like Grace Kelly or maybe a little Freddie: an Independent article that goes deep inside the Mika hype. And you’d better believe that his PR team is addressing that big pink elephant in the room:

His rejection of what might broadly be termed “labels” crosses over into his private life. He is often compared to poly-sexual acts such as the Scissor Sisters, and likes to keep his sexuality ambiguous. “He’s kept his private life private,” says Rice. “We asked him early on whether he wanted to do that sort of ground in interviews and he said he’d rather not. But he’s friendly about it if it gets raised in interview, rather than defensive. He is single though.”

Another friend says: “He likes artists such as David Bowie, and Mark Bolan, and Prince, and one reason is that he likes their sexual ambiguity. Like them, he likes not quite spelling things out. I think he wants to keep people guessing.”

“He definitely doesn’t have a girl or boyfriend. I’m pretty sure he’s at least bisexual, but he doesn’t spell it out, and in interviews when asked has just said something about how he doesn’t like labels. He seems to enjoy the ambiguity.”

Hey, I respect his decision. Why exist in the ghetto when you can have the whole world? But that “he is single, though” addendum is quite funny. It both keeps the press off the smell of any male or female partner and leaves the door open for fans of both genders to fantasize about being Mika’s one-and-only. But c’mon…the red pants?

In other news:

  • Heather Mills McCartney‘s lawyers deny a settlement in her divorce with Sir Paul McCartney.(BBC)
  • Jade Goody claims her windows were smashed. However, The Daily Mail‘s sources say she’s a big fibber: “Onlookers said her £300,000 house was untouched and police said they had not been called to the property in Ongar.” Meanwhile, Jade Goody’s mom also claims she’s been threatened.
  • The new “Jade”: a very stupid girl gets more column inches than she deserves.(Mirror)
  • Kaiser Chiefs are doing a North American tour starting in April.Guess which British magazine is coming along for the ride?
  • Helen Mirren, Kate Winslet, and Judi Dench – long viewed as locks – create a British trio in the Best Actress Oscar category.(BBC)
  • David Thomson dares to predict Little Miss Sunshine for Best Picture in his Guardian blog.
  • Snow Patrol‘s drummer has broken his arm while skiing.(Guardian)
  • Why would Eddie Murphy be hiding from Scary Spice in London when she lives in L.A.?(Mirror)
  • Who is Sir Terry Wogan talking about here? “I shall never name names. But watch TV for half an hour and you’ll see one of them. Then there are all those who don’t even have charm, let alone talent. Lord knows how they got on telly.”(Mirror)

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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