James Morrison is one of Britain’s biggest male solo artists – selling more than five million books worldwide, thanks to made singles like You Afford Me Something and Broken Strings.
But two years ago, he was ready to walk away from music for good.
It wasn’t for the usual rationales – disillusionment with glory, writer’s impede or dodgy controllers. Instead, the 31 -year-old had suffered massive personal misfortune – losing his father, older brother and 21 -year-old nephew in quick succession.
“It only started to beat me, ” he tells. “I lost confidence that the world is a good residence, and I lost confidence in my ability to deal with the negatives in my life.”
He is cautious about going into the details – “it alters a lot of other people in my family” – but has acknowledged that songwriting was the furthest event from his mind.
“I was close to feeling I wasn’t going to make another book. So I took six months out – no music , no writing. I just wanted to turn that part of my brain off.
“I wanted to be external for a little bit and do active acts. I get snowboarding, I took up boxing, started float and I got a motorbike only to rag around.
“I took my daughter to academy, I took her float. Just normal trash. And I mowed my lawn – because when I got back from tour it looked like a Scottish meadow.”
Eventually, the advocate to write returned, but the vocalist discovered he had descended out of practice.
“I was writing for about six months before I got a song where I experienced, ‘yeah, “its good”, ‘” he tells.
Those early demos, registered at home, were “quite humiliating but not too embarrassing” – as Morrison tried a more experimental bang than his previous, soul-inspired ballads.
“I tried use electronic trounces and synths and it resonated dreadful. Then I tried stuff that was more traditional and “its been” boring.
“It took six months to be noted that playing the guitar is where I started and where I’m natural.”
Morrison’s attempt to avoid the guitar may have something to do with the reminiscences the instrument evoked.
He had a broken childhood and a tough upbringing. His alcoholic father strolled out on the family when Morrison was four. His mother, is difficult to make ends meet, left the youngster in the care of his siblings. By the age of seven, he was ironing his own invests, while the children cooked, shopped and tidied the house.
“I experienced checked. I wasn’t allowed to have my own ardours, because my mothers were full of their own ardours, and that was identified priority, ” he recalls.
That all changed when he got his first guitar.
“I was going to be a keyboard player in the beginning but the keyboard I had ran off artilleries, and I couldn’t afford to buy them, ” he tells. “Then I got a guitar for Christmas and it was like a gate opened.
“It allows one to build me scream. Any period I started singing, it shaped me scream. And I was like, ‘why is this happening? ‘ I didn’t get onto. I didn’t get the connection.
“But I knew there was something potent that came out when I played the guitar in front of people.”
He poured his soul into music, soaking up his mother’s preserve collect, especially artists like Otis Redding, Van Morrison, and Al Green. Sanctified with a raspy, mournful articulation – the result of childhood whooping coughing – he started to make money for the family by busking on the streets of Cornwall.
After leaving academy, “hes taking” strange responsibilities all over the country, playing music wherever he had been able to, until he was discovered and signed off by Polydor Records, exhausting his multi-platinum introduction book at the age of 21.
That record peculiarity the multi-platinum single You Afford Me Something, and built Morrison as a contemporary of James Blunt and Paolo Nutini – a trio of feelings, acoustic guitar-wielding troubadours, defrosting souls around the world.
A second book – Songs For You, Truths For Me – followed rapidly, at the behest of his preserve companionship, boasting radio-friendly touches like You Attain It Real and the Nelly Furtado duo Broken Strings – which is still an airplay staple, played practically 200 times on UK radio stations in the last month.
On his fourth album, he decided to steer clear of those “string arrangements and papa lyrics”.
The breakthrough happened with a carol called Heaven To A Fool, a brooding, browbeaten ballad about taking your buff for awarded.
“It was quite dark voicing – with a low-toned monotone cello – and that’s what I needed to captivate, the dark area of myself.”
The song broke Morrison’s six-month dry charm, even though it is apparently happened about by accident.
“I was find really terrible that day. I’d become the whole way to LA to do a conference, but the producer didn’t turn out and I had to wait for a few weeks before he came back.
“So I went into the studio, I didn’t worry about the songwriting and it just came together really quickly.”
It adjusted the tone for the book – called Higher Than Here – which is more spiritual and sparse than Morrison’s previous preserves – resembling the skewered spirit of Paolo Nutini’s Caustic Love LP last year.
“If you like my old trash, it’s a step on from that, truly. I’m refining my bang – but in a rundown mode, ” he says.
One of the key lines is the first single, Demons, a gospel-inspired carol to positive contemplation, which encapsulates the star’s emergence from a period of personal crisis.
“When he had a drink problem and he was depressed, my daddy ever used to say: ‘Oh, it’s the beasts, ‘ so I related to that lyric instantaneously.
“It’s the most spiritual lyric I’ve ever been able to get into a carol. That’s always been my objective – to write something that croaks a little bit deeper than a pop carol on the radio.”
James Morrison’s album, Higher Than Here, is out now.