Photo: Daniel Mendoza/Recording Academy
PJ Morton Makes History With Live Album At ESSENCE Fest, Reflects On Impact The Big Easy Fest Has Had on Him
For GRAMMY winner PJ Morton, ESSENCE Fest's 25th anniversary was a coming full-circle moment. On the festival's opening night, the New Orleans native, who has been coming to the festival since he was a teenager, made history by being the first artist to record a live album at ESSENCE.
"When ESSENCE asked me to be a part [of the festival] again, I said 'I just don't want to play it again, I've played it before, let's do something special,'" Morton told the Recording Academy ecstatically after his performance. "Especially to kind of commemorate all these things, winning the GRAMMY award this year and me being able to come home. Part of winning that GRAMMY and writing those songs and making that album was me leaving L.A. and moving back home to new Orleans three years ago, so for me it was just a perfect full-circle moment to do a recording."
Morton said he owes his start as an artist to the Big Easy festival, celebrating black excellence in and out of music. Morton was more than excited to reflect back on the moment that changed his life.
"I've been going to this festival since I was 14 years old and really changed my life as far as wanting to be a musician and seeing how it was presented, " he said . "Seeing Mint Condition when I was 14 , I was suppose to go see Earth, Wind & Fire on the Main Stage, but Mint was killing so hard that I just had to stay there and that put me on my path. So 25 years just brings me to that.Thinking of all those years and how it inspired me."
His performance Friday night was a huge way to top off the year he's been having.; He won his first GRAMMY for Best Traditional R&B performance at the 61st GRAMMY Awards for "How Deep Is Your Love."
"I can't wait for people to experience that when I put it out and I'm working on other new music, working on some TV shows," he said, "We'rekeeping busy."