A frequent collaborator with Scott Bradlee and the Post Modern Jukebox, Morgan James became an artist I had to see after her YouTube success both with the group and solo. Having listened to her debut album Hunter and her latest album, Reckless Abandon, it was clear I was in for a night bursting with talent.
To add further to the excitement, upon booking my tickets and posting the news on Instagram, I got a like and a reply from the artist herself! (Sorry… Bit of a fan girl moment!)
With impressive Broadway shows under her belt including The Addams Family, Godspell and Motown: The Musical, the expectations were high for her vocal range and power to raise the roof of the 500 seat capacity venue.
On her Reckless Abandon tour, the warmth of soul and R&B with a cheeky shot of country made you feel transported back to the early naughties. Her vocals are very reminiscent of LeAnn Rimes and Christina Aguilera back in their heyday.
Her set was varied, toying between her albums and a few covers. A highlight was her cover of Prince’s ‘Call my name’ which the idol himself gave approval for James to record and put on her debut album.
A standout moment in probably my entire gigging history is hearing ‘Say the words’ live. Even though the venue’s capacity was lacking, she raised the roof with her emotional performance as if she was singing to thousands, which resulted in small applauses throughout for her outstanding performance.
Additional notes about James’s performance is that she is one of the most expressive artists I have encountered to date. From her face to her body language, she truly feels the music that she’s singing and her theatre background is evident but comes across genuine and relaxed.
Not only did she thank her band twice (which featured jazz guitarist Doug Wamble, who is also James’s husband), she also graciously thanked the venue for letting her play, expressing the struggles artists sometimes face in securing venues to perform.
To top off the evening, she stood at the merchandising table to speak to fans and sign albums and tickets. She took adequate time with each of her fans and was highly engaged with everyone, to the point she asked the staff to turn down the music so she could hear her fans talk and have a more personal interaction.
I’m not a massive groupie when it comes to getting my ticket signed, having only got signed tickets for Jimmy Carr, Ben Caplan, Katzenjammer and now Morgan James but this ticket will surely go pride of place in my gig collection.