Almost 7 years ago, PJ Morton decided to go full speed ahead in pursuing his solo career, and he hasn’t looked back since.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Grammy Award-winning entertainer was most appropriate to welcome the more than half a million people who traveled to the Crescent City for the 25th Anniversary of the Essence Festival.

A talented musician, producer and songwriter, Morton gave the packed audience inside the Playlist Superlounge at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome a taste of true southern hospitality. Kicking things off as only he could, Morton opened his set with a performance of his song “New Orleans Girl,” and brought out the incomparable Mia X. In addition to the second-to-none vocals with a Bounce music backdrop, what made this introduction truly special was the dress worn by Mia X during her cameo— it payed homage to all the iconic New Orleans women who inspire her, as well as her city.

As a former keyboardist for pop rock conglomerate Maroon 5, Morton has experienced his fair share of the ups and downs the come with pursuing a career in music—and he has become an expert storyteller for it. His performance of “Claustrophobic” halfway through his Essence Fest set proved a lesson in non-conformation and remaining true to self above all else. His run through of “Sticking To My Guns” off of his critically-acclaimed album, Gumbo, reminded the audience that leading with authenticity always pays off in the long run.

Earlier this year, Morton released a track entitled “Say So,” which hears he and R&B darling JoJo take listeners through the powerful emotions of love. Live acoustics on deck, the duo captivated the audience with a magical performance of the song, giving fans the opportunity to appreciate both artists’ remarkable vocal ability.

Morton’s ability to effortlessly combine elements of Jazz, Bounce, Hip-Hop and R&B has seen him craft a unique sound that continues to captivate audiences across the nation. One of NOLA’s most notable natives opened the 2019 Essence Festival with a bang, and it was a show that will never be forgotten.

If you missed him at Essence Fest, get more information on his upcoming tour dates HERE.

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