Now, almost ten years on, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, George Ezra and James Bay are all crowding the charts, following the same format; one guy with a great, soulful voice and a guitar. They’ve all cited him as an influence but does Morrison take some credit for paving the way? “I don’t really see it like that, I was just lucky to be one of the first”.
Despite his self-deprecation and humble nature, he really was the first to take that format and not only make it work but also became an overnight success story. Pop gems like ‘You Give Me Something’ from his first record ‘Undiscovered’, made him anything but and he won the 2007 BRIT Award for Best Male when he was still just 21 years old. He was also told by the veteran soul producer Jerry Wexler that his raspy, gravelly voice, the product of a childhood illness, had its "own thumbprint" and was so distinctive that “once heard, never forgotten”.
The 30-year-old singer-songwriter has now sold 4.5 million copies of his three albums, performed four world tours including sold-out shows to thousands at London’s Hyde Park, supporting both Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Wonder and appeared on Herbie Hancock’s Grammy-winning album ‘The Imagination Project’.
2008’s ‘Songs for You, Truths for Me’ brought with it a string of Top Ten singles, including the phenomenally catchy ‘Broken Strings’ with Nelly Furtado, with his last album, 2011’s ‘Awakening’ shooting straight to number one, selling over one million copies worldwide.
But in spite of his phenomenal success, the singer-songwriter from Rugby, Warwickshire has never really been able to appreciate how well he’s done. The songs on the new album (due to be released later this year) create a subtle balance between revealing Morrison’s pain and difficulties in his personal life and that soundtrack to those lazy Sunday mornings that, despite the tendency towards dark subject matter, will make you dance, smile and reflect.