Brit Award, hit album propel Morrison to fame



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British sensation James Morrison doesn’t think sudden stardom will change him. “I’m too much of a daydreamer to reinvent myself,” he says. He plays a gig at the Mod Club tonight.


James Morrison swears like a sailor six months out to sea.

It plays charmingly though, coming from this 22-year-old “regular bloke” Brit who’s just hit it big back home, a bushy-tailed young buck freshly sprinkled with the fairy dust of fame. His first album Undiscovered very quickly belied its name — debuting at No. 1 on the U.K. charts and crowning him Best Male at this year’s Brit Awards. But chatting with him from some hotel room in some American city, one thing quickly becomes clear: It’s all still very new.

“It’s totally surreal, it’s fucked,” Morrison says of fame. “I don’t understand it, man. I feel just the same but I’ve been plunked into this crazy world where a lot of people know who I am now. I kind of try to ignore it, to be honest.”

The new life stands in pretty stark contrast to where Morrison’s been, which is, essentially, just about everywhere else. Raised by a single mother and moved around as a child as she searched for steady work, he’s worked kitchen jobs and cleaning jobs, and busked to get by. And while the rags-to-riches tale generally gets writers salivating, Morrison admits that the press make a bigger deal of it than he does.

“I’m just enjoying my life and not thinking about yesterday,” he says. “At the same time, yeah, it has made me who I am. But I’ve gotten over it.”

But what becomes of the poor, struggling artist once they’re not so poor and not quite struggling?

“I don’t think it will change me, to be honest,” Morrison says simply. “I’m too much of a daydreamer to reinvent myself. I think sometimes it’s due to the fact that I had whooping cough as a kid,” — he’s laughing but it nearly took his life — “and maybe my brain is not as functional as it should be. I can drift off really easily into my own little world.”

That little world will likely get a whole lot bigger, as Morrison’s fresh-faced and brash-tongued charm blends quite potently with the husky voice trained on soul classics. As for Hollywood, it’s already come knocking — initially asking to use his song for a movie and then offering him to co-star in August Rush with Robin Williams. Morrison turned it down because it is, after all, about the music.

“I like the music, I like playing gigs, I like travelling the world,” he says. “I forget everything else most of the time.”

Morrison plays at the Mod Club tonight.