Detroit is famous for its Motown sound and even captures the electronic dance music world’s attention yearly with its renowned Movement Music Festival. However, its gospel roots are just as strong, if not stronger. The latest reminder came courtesy of PJ Morton’s latest project, “Gospel According to PJ.”
The album includes an interlude conversation between PJ and his father, gospel artist Bishop Paul S. Morton, where Bishop Morton recalls growing up in Windsor just across Detroit’s water. He often interacted with legendary gospel groups like The Winans, The Clark Sisters (who his sister sang background for), and Commissioned (who sang backup for one of his albums). PJ was introduced to this early and considers Detroit “the modern mecca of gospel music.”
It’s no shock PJ turned to the mecca for his first, long-awaited gospel album. He’s always written and sang about love, but this time around, he chose to dedicate his latest work to the greatest love he’s known, Jesus. Detroit was represented well throughout the project with artists like J Moss, Commissioned, and the legendary Clark Sisters, each singing a song on the album.
“Gospel According to PJ” is a homecoming, a true passion project. PJ grew up a preacher’s kid, playing the organ for his dad at church. Although his musical career has spanned R&B, soul, and even pop as a member of Maroon 5, the multi-Grammy award winner has always credited his success to how he was raised. He’s gone on record in numerous interviews saying he’s always wanted to do a gospel record when the timing was right. Considering everything 2020 has brought us thus far, this release seemed as good of a time as any.
It was indeed worth the wait too. This isn’t your average gospel album, though. Sure, it starts with a track featuring a divine pairing of Kim Burell and an organ that resonates with anyone who has spent time in a Black church. Yet songs like “So in Love” give reggae vibes or the funky “Gotta Have You” with Kirk Franklin break from the traditional gospel standard.
Then consider this list of powerhouse singers featured:
Tasha Cobbs Leonard
It’s only a matter of time before the awards for “Gospel According to PJ” start rolling in, and Detroit is proud to serve as a muse for PJ’s latest masterpiece. The album is available for download and purchase on all music platforms.
Photos: PJ Morton (@pjmorton) & @brikliam