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ON THE RISE: PJ Morton and Jasmine

HAPPY Valentines Day readers! I love you! Do you still get excited about Valentines Day or are you an older cynical reader that is more turned on by other things in life?

You know you’re getting old when you get excited about renovating your bathroom! Yes I was all-excitable when the lady from the bathroom company came over to measure up my lav for a new suite. I primed the house as if my mother-in-law were popping round LOL.

THERE was much buzz in the music industry’s inner circle about an act that’s about to blow called PJ Morton. Morton is an American writer and producer as well as a solo musician who was the stand-in keyboardist in pop rock band Maroon 5. In the past he’s won a Grammy for his song writing and production of India Arie’s Interested. He’s also won numerous awards and accolades in the business and been noticed by AR Rahman (composer for Slumdog Millionaire), who asked him to contribute Sajna to the soundtrack and movie for the Vince Vaughn comedy Couple’s Retreat. As if that’s not enough he’s produced and written for musicians such as Jermaine Dupri, LL Cool J, Jagged Edge, Monica and more. From song writer to star is a route that many artists have taken in recent years to make it to the top.

Jessie J and Kanye West are great examples. Last year Morton released his first solo recording, Following My First Mind, on Lil Wayne’s Young Money label. Now he’s about to release his first YMCMB full-length album titled New Orleans on May 14. So when record industry maverick Vivian Scott Chew reached out from the States to invite me to his London showcase I was most intrigued to hear more and meet the talented man myself.

PJ’s showcase was held at the London nightclub, Borderline. One of the few venues with a great stage, great acoustics and with the original name two decades ago! Most clubs around now have been around for decades and I’ve seen them go through up to four name changes! In the house on the night were former Cookie Crew member - Cookie, BBC marketing’s Jay Davidson, Warner Music’s Taponeswa Mavunga, TV editors, A&R reps, record label folk and more. The great and the good in the scene were not disappointed with PJ’s live set. He is a very unique, impressive young man. He played keyboards, sang, rapped, spoke, smiled. His live set was polished and took us on a journey of calm relaxed tracks; sing along fun melodies and straight up jump around club bangers.

Its always natural to compare new acts to others when describing them to people but honestly this act went from reminding me of a little of many of the greats like Stevie Wonder, John Legend and Kanye West. Importantly he was unique in his style. He spoke to the audience; saw us all, had that gift that makes you feel he’s speaking directly to you and by the end of the set had the crowd high and sweaty. When I went backstage to meet him his crew it was the most relaxed pre-show dressing room I’d ever been in. they were chilling, happy, chatting, warming up.

The energy was quietly confident and PJ was welcoming, friendly and chatty. Just a really nice guy, no wonder he’s worked with the best. They want him on their team. Lil Wayne and Baby don’t sign up anyone. They recognise talent, nurture it and set it free when it’s ready. PJ Morton is ready. He’s been real! He'll be on the road again with Maroon 5 for their US and Euro tours. He has his own opening slot in each city and will be playing the O2 Arena June 23 and 24th. like a breath of fresh air in a world where many claim to be real musicians but aren’t this young man is going to do some lethal damage to the charts! watch him blow!

Much of the work I do combines broadcasting with a co-operate social responsibility angle. This week that included attending an RBS finance community investment event called Creating a Life of Love and Compassion For Children in Support of Nelson Mandela’s children fund. It works to encourage young people who want to get into the television industry to join up with the RTS Futures organisation who can help them meet the right television experts that can help guide their career paths. There’s so much out there to help people, much of it is wasted as people don’t know about it. Search and ye shall find!

Jasmine Dotiwala is a TV producer, director and broadcast journalist. Email her atjasmine@hiphop.com Follow her on Twitter: @jasminedotiwala

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