Interviewed and written by Peg Andrae
Pop-Soul singer/songwriter James Patrick Morgan chatted with us recently about his life, career and reasons for supporting G4V as one of our ambassadors.
Growing up in a rural area in Athens, James was exposed to the requisite country music hits early on, but his tastes soon ran much further and deeper than Top 40 country radio. He picked up a guitar in his senior year of high school, he began paying close attention to artists like John Mayer, Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews, and Shawn Mullins.
James has just completed a collection of new music entitled: ART+WORK=LOVE. The EP illustrates his myriad of musical influences, such as Sam Cooke and Freddie Mercury to Ray Charles and Dave Matthews, highlighting James’ love of R&B and funk music.
This Georgia native has spent years honing his sound while playing 300+ shows a year, performing covers and originals as well.
Q: How has technology changed you in terms of your music?
A: John Mayer, when he was first starting off, would record on a cassette tape and play it back, then solo on top of it to get his chops up. I have the advantage of looper technology, and I can record myself and have it played back immediately in a live setting. When making my music, it’s so convenient to have this “step above” technology. I can create everything live; the technology is such an advantage.
In the classic sense, when I first started out people would tell me, “Don’t play with a capo because it’s cheating on the guitar.” I laugh at that now because you can do so many voicings and play the same key throughout the entire fretboard, getting more depth in your sound and different perspectives in one recording.
Or people would say, “Oh that was before auto tune.” When I would listen to classic people singing, they did not have the advantage of correcting in the studio, they needed to get it right off the cusp or waste a lot of tape.
That’s how I try to do things live. It makes me want to be more accurate.
Q: How did you first hear about G4V?
A: Actually, from my former label representative. He found the organization and brought it to my attention. I don’t know if some people thought it would be a good cause or PR or publicity, but I support our armed forces and the kind of attitude you need to have going into it . This isn’t any kind of draft, so those in the military serve voluntarily and they believe in something. They should be honored.
Q: What touches you about our organization?
A: One of the things I am passionate about is music therapy! When I advertise or post anything online, I add
#musictherapy, it’s the heart and soul. In college I got a degree in psychology, it was always in my heart to do something in that field. I went into the music field because doors opened up. They have never stopped opening, but I always wanted to have that marriage between the two. Your organization is great because music therapy is real. It does soothe the soul and it does give people opportunities to feel peace, even if only for a small part of their day.
Q: Being an ambassador, do you have opportunities to talk about G4V and our mission?
A: Yes! Patrick sent me a hat and I wear it! During quarantine days, it’s easier to not worry about your hair, and I wear darker muted colors at certain gigs, and the hat provides a lot of color, so the hat is great! I have a giant bald eagle like the American flag on my guitar case when I go into places and I wear that hat. When I see someone in the armed forces I or when they make mention of it, like when I play near Dobbins AFB. Hopefully people express gratitude when they see a veteran
Q: Have you ever had a chance to participate in or play for a G4V event?
A: Not yet, I would love to, though! I have played online since quarantine for the organization’s FB page and had a good response. I was happy to provide that. With several chapters in Georgia, there could be some opportunities once things open up again for musicians to perform at live events. We’ve all been shut down with the pandemic.
Q: How has COVID touched your career?
A: I do miss playing with other musicians. I get to do that occasionally, but since Covid, my life is divided unevenly to cover tune shows mixed with original shows. I’m getting a lot of work, outdoor shopping centers with large audiences, sometimes bigger than the original show. Sometimes I get to play with a band, being six 6 feet apart from everyone around you, so there’s a natural barrier. The camaraderie that music brings is something very special. It’s not just playing guitar but playing it with someone else.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
A: It’s kind of a funny little saying, “If you loan someone $20 and you never see that person again, that was $20 well spent.” When it comes to finding quality people in your life, some can be superficial, some have other motivations, and sometimes you don’t know what you think of a person. In spite of that, I believe that you should give anyway, even if you don’t fully understand the implications of your giving. If you give and you get nothing in return, at least you did a good thing. No problem with the return. Pay it forward.
To learn more about James’ or listen to his music, go to https://www.jamespatrickmorgan.com.