James Morrison launched his upcoming refreshed ‘Greatest Hits’ album by sharing its lead single ‘Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?’. Placing his inimitable vocal in a Rudimental-esque dance-pop banger, the track offered something completely different to his back catalogue but continued his success, earning a place on the Radio 2 playlist.
Now James Morrison provides a bigger insight into the direction of his ‘Greatest Hits’ album by sharing his newly reworked version of ‘You Give Me Something’. It’s the song which immediately marked him out as a remarkable new talent with huge crossover appeal. Peaking at #5 during a six-week run in the Top 10, it was subsequently certified Platinum in recognition of over 600,000 domestic sales. And despite being released before streaming took-off, its ongoing popularity means it has accumulated 125 million streams at Spotify alone.
The refreshed ‘You Give Me Something’ gives the song a new leash of life while respecting the traits that have made it a fan favourite. Less pop-orientated and more in keeping with James’ organic live sound, the differences are remarkably natural: vocal melodies in place of the strings in the introduction, a groovier middle-eight rather than the brass arrangement of the original, and an emotive guitar solo. But the main factor is the evolution of James’s voice. The years that have passed have added a new layer to his vocal, not only in terms of maturity but fresh soul and confidence too.
James says, “Back then, I was thinking of loads of weird stuff like Nirvana, and it sounds nothing like Nirvana! And I was thinking about Nina Simone. I wanted it to sound like summer, and to sound sad, and to sound joyous in the chorus, with a slightly R&B flavour. But it was one of those songs that wrote itself, pretty much. I was just trying stuff – when I put the brass in, I thought it was swinging, like Frank Sinatra. And when we pieced it all together, I just thought it was cool.
It captured a moment in my career. And, now, I wanted to try to make it capture another moment, with this sound that was a bit hip-hop, just to sit on that beat.”
Directed, edited and produced by Jackson Ducasse, the accompanying video captures James at work in the studio, clearly relishing the opportunity to revisit one of his best loved songs.
The ‘Greatest Hits’ album is a 15-track celebration of where James has come from, what he’s been through, and where he is now: a vocalist at the top of his game. A performer who has matured and improved over hundreds and hundreds of gigs. An artist who, this year alone, has been personally tapped by Paul Weller and Diane Warren to sing with them. A songwriter who has crafted compositions that remain living, breathing, affecting golden moments – and now, new moments, too.
Initially indifferent to the idea of a ‘Greatest Hits’ album, James changed his mind when checking out the essential compilations of his all time-time favourites Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers and Al Green. Refreshing the songs also provided something new, showing how they’ve taken on a new life in his live set. Buoyant and buzzing, he recorded in Metropolis Studios, London, with long-term producer Mark Taylor and his regular live band. Completed by James singing his own background vocals - just as Stevie Wonder did - the album is full of timeless songs now leaner, cleaner and elevated to new heights.
‘Greatest Hits’ is available to pre-order here.
James’s ‘Greatest Hits’ tour dates are listed below, with remaining tickets available here. Later in 2022, he will co-headline Kew The Music with Will Young, perform at Blenheim Palace with David Gray, and hit Wembley Stadium as special guest to Westlife.
10th – Southend, Cliffs Pavilion
11th – Ipswich, Regent Theatre
12th – Cardiff, St David’s Hall
14th – Leicester, De Montfort Hall
15th – Oxford, New Theatre
17th – Bournemouth, Pavillion Theatre
18th – Folkestone, Leas Cliff Hall
19th – Stoke on Trent, Victoria Hall
21st – Manchester, Bridgewater Hall
22nd – Bath, Forum
25th – Stockton, Globe
26th – Liverpool, Philharmonic Hall
28th – Cambridge, Corn Exchange
29th – Birmingham, Symphony Hall
30th – Nottingham, Royal Concert Hall
1st – Sheffield, City Hall
2nd – Newcastle, 02 City Hall
4th – Brighton, Dome
5th – Reading, Hexagon
6th – London, Palladium
8th – Edinburgh, Usher Hall
9th – Aberdeen, Music Hall
10th – Glasgow, Royal Concert Hall