For the latest edition of Rolling Stone‘s Spoken Dialogue series, singer-songwriters Yola and PJ Morton sat down for a thoughtful, intimate conversation about genre, influences, and artistic limitations.
Just a few months after the duo collaborated on a cover of the O’Jays’ classic “Give The People What They Want,” Morton and Yola shared their frank, free-flowing thoughts about their experiences navigating the music industry.
“Those barriers can be really insidious,” Yola says, discussing her time in the United Kingdom when she was relegated to the role of backup vocalist. “When you’re part of the band, you’re not the artist, you’re part of the band.”
Morton, who plays keyboards in Maroon 5 in addition to his own solo career, discussed the circuitous route that leads to his 2020 album Gospel According to PJ. “I was named after [my father]; I was his only son,” Morton says of the famous New Orleans Baptist preacher Paul Morton. “It’s like, ‘Oh my God, I’m getting out of here. I didn’t want to be a preacher, that was one thing. And then I didn’t want to be a gospel singer. I felt like that was going to limit me…I wanted to talk about way more.”
From Rolling Stone US