I feel trapped: James Morrison

Melissa Aw
Singapore Showbiz

After making a name for himself with sentimental numbers such as "The Pieces Don't Fit Anymore", English singer James Morrison says he wants to stop being labelled as a romantic singer.

"It kind of annoys me, because I'm not quite as soft as that really. I am romantic about life [and] relationships are important to me, but I kind of like music that is good as well -- funky, dirty, gritty kind of music," the 28-year-old said in a roundtable interview at Movenpick Heritage Hotel Sentosa on Monday.

"I'm slowly kind of getting confident enough that I can make music like that. But my voice lends itself to ballads. [I feel] kind of trapped in a way," he added.

That may explain the crooner's decision to take a "backseat" from the music industry at the end of the year once he has set up his own studio (in his garden, no less) through which he plans to help new artists develop by penning lyrics for them.

"[Performing and recording is] taking a toll on me now… emotionally and physically. I'm heading towards 30 and I got a little kid. I kind of want to take it a little bit more easy rather than just working all the time. I want to have something left by the end of it," he explained.

'I'm quite nervous'

The award-winning singer-songwriter was in town for four days for the second installment of MTV Sessions, a new multiplatform music series developed for artists to highlight their craft in a state-of-the-art studio environment in front of a live audience.

Morrison performed to a 200-strong crowd -- made up of lucky fans and the media -- in an intimate setting at Resorts World Sentosa's Waterfront Studio on Sunday evening.

With an acoustic set-up, the talented guitarist charmed the audience with his earnest, rustic voice with earlier hits such as "You Give Me Something" from his debut album in 2006 and fresh tunes such as "Up", a duet with Jessie J from his latest album.

Morrison also proved to be a seasoned entertainer as he easily charmed the audience with his self-deprecating humour. He joked at one point, "I'm quite nervous. Everybody is just looking at me and must be thinking: 'Oh my god, he's so much uglier in real life.'"

[See photo highlights from MTV Sessions: James Morrison]

In the one-hour performance Morrison also animatedly shared tidbits about this life as well as stories behind the songs he wrote for his new album. On his latest offering "Slave To the Music", Morrison described it as a Michael Jackson-inspired song as he had been a fan of the King of Pop since he was 10.

The night ended on a high with Morrison closing the showcase with "Wonderful World", but not before wishing the audience, "Keep on believing it's a wonderful world, ladies and gentlemen".

Watch a preview of "MTV Sessions: James Morrison" here:

MTV Sessions: James Morrison will premiere on MTV SEA Saturday 28 April at 6pm.