P.J. Morton (born Paul Sylvester Morton Jr.; March 29, 1981) is an American musician, singer, songwriter and record producer. Since 2012, he has been the keyboardist for the pop band Maroon 5. Morton originally joined the band as a touring member in 2010 and became an official member in 2012 after Jesse Carmichael went on indefinite hiatus (he returned to the lineup playing rhythm guitar in 2014).

PJ Morton
Morton in 2011
Paul Sylvester Morton Jr.

(1981-03-29) March 29, 1981 (age 43)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Years active2005–present
Kortni Morton
(m. 2008)
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • keyboards
Member ofMaroon 5

Morton released his debut solo EP, Following My First Mind, in March 2012, through the record label Young Money. Adam Levine and James Valentine were featured on the lead single, "Heavy". In May 2013, Morton released his first major-label debut album, New Orleans. In 2016, he released his mixtape Bounce & Soul Vol. 1 in March and the Sticking to My Guns EP in July. On April 14, 2017, Morton released his first self-released studio album Gumbo, earning Morton two Grammy Award nominations for Best R&B Album and Best R&B Song at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards.[1]

In April 2019, Morton said he would begin a project to restore the New Orleans home of jazz pioneer Buddy Bolden and create a museum and community space at the site.[2] Bolden's former home has been owned by Morton's father's church for more than a decade, and had been cited for demolition by neglect.[3]

Early life and education edit

Morton was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. His father is Canadian-born American gospel singer and Founder of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship, Bishop Paul S. Morton. His mother is Dr. Debra Brown Morton, pastor of Greater St. Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church.[4]

Morton graduated St. Augustine High School and majored in marketing at Morehouse College, graduating in 2003.[5]

Career edit

Maroon 5 edit

In 2010, Morton's friend and Maroon 5's musical director Adam Blackstone asked him to audition for a position in the band as a touring keyboardist and backing vocalist. Morton was the first to audition and left an indelible mark on the group.[6] Since then, he has played with Maroon 5 in concerts and other live performances. From 2012 to 2014 Morton filled-in for the band's keyboardist, Jesse Carmichael, who was on an indefinite hiatus from performing with the group, as stated on their official website in March 2012.[7] In 2012, he joined the band as a full-time member, contributing his vocal and keyboard parts on Maroon 5's fourth studio album, Overexposed, and continuing to do so during the processes of recording the band's albums, V (2014), Red Pill Blues (2017), and Jordi (2021).

Signing to Young Money and New Orleans edit

Morton's solo work won the attention of Mack Maine, who signed him to his production company, Soothe Your Soul, and Young Money Entertainment in 2011.[8] The Following My First Mind (EP) was released on March 27, 2012.

On May 14, 2013, Morton released his major-label debut studio album with Young Money Records, titled New Orleans. The album's lead single, "Only One", which features Stevie Wonder, was nominated for the Best R&B Song at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards in 2014.

Gumbo and Paul edit

In 2016, Morton moved to New Orleans and opened a record label called Morton Records which he envisioned as "the New Orleans Motown".[9][10] Same year, Morton started working on Gumbo. About the album's title he said "I named it Gumbo because the actual dish is a bunch of things mixed in together to make [something] beautiful. I wanted to grow as a songwriter and talk about more things ... about where we are in the world today, the tension, how divided we are as a country. It kind of felt like I was dumping a bunch of subject matter together and I made it in New Orleans so that sounded like gumbo to me."[11] As a first step, on March 25, 2016, Morton released Bounce & Soul Vol. 1, a mixtape which includes re-imagined versions of his best songs in New Orleans' bounce style.[12] On July 1, 2016, Morton released the Sticking to My Guns EP, featuring the single of the same name.[13] The EP, besides including alternative versions of "First Began" and "Sticking to My Guns", also contains "Say So", a song that was later cut from the final tracklist of the album. On November 15, 2016, Morton released "You Should Be Ashamed", a Stevie Wonder-esque socially conscious song that was later replaced by "Religion".[14] On March 13, 2017, Morton announced on his Instagram page April 14, 2017 as the release date of Gumbo.[15]

Gumbo did not manage to enter on the US Billboard 200 chart but received positive reviews from most music critics, who complimented Morton's style and praised him for his singing and songwriting. The album earned Morton two Grammy nominations for Best R&B Album and Best R&B Song at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards.[1] On February 14, 2019, Morton collaborated with singer JoJo on the song "Say So", which served as the lead single for his sixth album Paul.[16][17][18]

Gospel According To PJ and The Piano Album edit

In 2020, Morton recorded his live album The Piano Album. It features songs from Gumbo and Paul. On August 28, 2020, Morton released his long awaited gospel album Gospel According To PJ. The album features The Clark Sisters, Comissioned, Zacardi Cortez, Darrel Walls, and others. It also features remade versions of So In Love by Amber Bullock and Over and Over by Trinitee 5:7. A documentary was released talking about how he was pressured to make Gospel music, the process of each song, and his father.

Other work edit

After winning Grammy Awards for his songwriting and production on India.Arie's Interested, Morton won Dove and Stellar Awards in 2008.

Morton was also noticed by AR Rahman, composer for Slumdog Millionaire, who asked Morton to contribute "Sajna" to the soundtrack and movie for the Vince Vaughn comedy Couples Retreat. Morton has also produced and written for musicians such as Jermaine Dupri, LL Cool J, Jagged Edge, Monica, India.Arie, gospel musicians Fred Hammond, Men of Standard, Brian Courtney Wilson, and Heather Headley. In 2009, he published a book entitled Why Can't I Sing About Love?[19]

Morton who wrote a song called "Battle Field" by Chinese singer Jane Zhang from the 2016 film The Great Wall.[20]

in October 2023, Morton was featured in Portuguese singer Barbara Bandeira's debut studio album Finda on the track Ego.[21]

Morton wrote a song for the theme park attraction Tiana's Bayou Adventure, which is inspired by Disney's 2009 film The Princess and the Frog.[22]

Personal life edit

He married his wife Kortni Morton on December 25, 2008. They grew up attending the same church and began dating as adults. They have three children.[23]

Filmography edit

Year Title Role Notes
2017 NCIS: New Orleans Himself Episode: "Return of the King"
2018 Nobody's Fool Himself
2020 Soul City Terrence Episode: "Give Man"
2021 American Idol Himself / Performer 2 episodes
2022 Take Me to the River: New Orleans Himself Documentary film
2023 The Daily Show Himself / / Guest Episode: January 31

Composer edit

Year Title Notes
2018 Champaign ILL Web series; 10 episodes
2020 Soul City 3 episodes; co-composed with Zak Engel

Discography edit

As solo artist edit

Studio albums

Live albums

  • Live from LA (2008)
  • Live Show Killer (2015)
  • Gumbo Unplugged (2018)
  • The Piano Album (2020)
  • Watch the Sun Live: The Mansion Sessions (2023)


  • Bounce & Soul Volume 1 (2016)


  • Following My First Mind (2012)
  • Sticking to My Guns (2016)

With the PJ Morton Band edit

  • Perfect Song (2007)

With Maroon 5 edit

Remixes edit


  • "The Cat Looks at the King (PJ Morton Remix)" – Collapsing Scenery featuring Good Joon and Buddy

Awards and nominations edit

Grammy Awards[24]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2013 "Payphone" Best Pop Duo/Group Performance Nominated
Overexposed Best Pop Vocal Album Nominated
2014 "Only One" Best R&B Song Nominated
2016 "Sugar" Best Pop Duo/Group Performance Nominated
2018 Gumbo Best R&B Album Nominated
"First Began" Best R&B Song Nominated
2019 Best R&B Performance Nominated
"Girls Like You" Best Pop Duo/Group Performance Nominated
"How Deep Is Your Love" Best Traditional R&B Performance Won
Gumbo Unplugged Best R&B Album Nominated
2020 "Say So" Best R&B Song Won
"Built for Love" Best Traditional R&B Performance Nominated
Paul Best R&B Album Nominated
2021 Gospel According to PJ: From the Songbook of PJ Morton Best Gospel Album Won
2022 "Bring It On Home To Me" Best Traditional R&B Performance Nominated
We Are Album of the Year Won
2023 "Please Don't Walk Away" Best R&B Song Nominated
Watch the Sun Best R&B Album Nominated
2024 "Good Morning" Best Traditional R&B Performance Won

References edit

  1. ^ a b "60th Annual GRAMMY Awards". May 22, 2018.
  2. ^ Bebco, Joe (April 10, 2019). "PJ Morton Working to Save Buddy Bolden House". The Syncopated Times. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  3. ^ MacCash, Doug (March 29, 2019). "Jazz pioneer Buddy Bolden's historic house cited for demolition by neglect". NOLA.com. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  4. ^ "USA GRAMMY ARWARDS 2014". naver.com.
  5. ^ "Printing – Discovery: PJ Morton – Interview Magazine". interviewmagazine.com. November 14, 2013.
  6. ^ "PJ Morton Talks Transition From Writing Gospel Music to Singing with Young Money Records". UGospel.Com. May 8, 2012. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
  7. ^ "Band Announcement – Jesse Carmichael". maroon5.com. March 9, 2012. Archived from the original on April 14, 2012. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  8. ^ "Maroon 5's PJ Morton Talks Young Money Deal". AllHipHop.Com. March 26, 2012. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  9. ^ "PJ Morton of Maroon 5 moves home to New Orleans, opens record label". nola.com. February 16, 2016. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  10. ^ "PJ Morton of Maroon 5 moves home to New Orleans, opens record label". February 16, 2016.
  11. ^ "PJ Morton talks new album, Maroon 5 and more". May 30, 2017.
  12. ^ "New Music: PJ Morton - Bounce & Soul Volume 1 (Mixtape) - YouKnowIGotSoul.com". March 26, 2016.
  13. ^ "New Music: PJ Morton - Sticking to my Guns - YouKnowIGotSoul.com". June 9, 2016.
  14. ^ "PJ Morton Addresses The Deplorables On 'You Should Be Ashamed' - SoulBounce - SoulBounce". November 17, 2016.
  15. ^ "PJ Morton on Instagram: "MY NEW ALBUM!!!!!! #GUMBO COMING 4.21.17 🍛🥄"". Instagram. Archived from the original on December 24, 2021.
  16. ^ Jefferson, J'na (February 14, 2019). "PJ Morton And JoJo Collaborate On Stunning New Song "Say So"". Vibe. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  17. ^ Velez, Jennifer (July 23, 2019). "PJ Morton Announces New Album 'PAUL'". Grammys. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  18. ^ "PJ Morton Releases New Single "Ready" + Reveals Cover Art & Tracklist For Upcoming Album "Paul"". You Know Got I Soul. July 23, 2019. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  19. ^ "Why Can't I Sing About Love?". WhyCan'tISingAboutLove.Com. Archived from the original on April 26, 2012. Retrieved April 17, 2012.
  20. ^ Rui, Zhang (November 22, 2016). "Jane Zhang sings for 'The Great Wall'". China.org.cn. Retrieved February 19, 2022.
  21. ^ SAPO. "Bárbara Bandeira lança álbum de estreia: ouça aqui "Finda"". SAPO Mag (in Portuguese). Retrieved October 11, 2023.
  22. ^ Alexander, Jared (June 2, 2023). "PJ Morton, Terence Blanchard to make new music for 'Tiana's Bayou Adventure'". thegrio.com. Retrieved October 20, 2023.
  23. ^ Times-Picayune, Kevinisha Walker, NOLA com | The (November 29, 2017). "New Orleans' own PJ Morton scores 2 Grammy nominations: See a few of his favorite things". NOLA.com. Retrieved October 16, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  24. ^ "PJ Morton | Artist". The Recording Academy. Retrieved January 8, 2019.

External links edit