Plenty of star musicians eat, drink, shop, play and stay in Sarasota. But it’s rare that one conducts a master class and musical showcase here. For musicians serious about making it in the biz, Real People Real Music & DQ Events bringing PJ Morton to Sarasota on Saturday should be a must-attend event. The New Orleans native is a singer, musician and producer fresh off another night at the Grammy Awards.
“Being there with Maroon 5 and India.Arie was great,” Morton says during a recent phone interview. “For some reason, though, it felt new this time. It was special to be nominated as a solo artist and to share the experience with my dad.”
The keyboardist and backup singer for Maroon 5, PJ Morton and his dad, Bishop Paul Morton, were nominated for best gospel album for "Best Days Yet,” the elder Morton’s album featuring four songs PJ wrote and produced. PJ’s song, "Only One" featuring Stevie Wonder, from PJ's major label debut solo album "New Orleans,” was also up for best R&B song.
“The collaboration with (Wonder) was all about the song,” Morton says. “It was something he connected to and I was like, ‘Here’s eight bars do whatever you want.’”
Neither Morton won at the big awards show. But they made history with just the nomination. They were the first father and son to be nominated for Grammys in the same year since Bob and Jakob Dylan were up for awards in 1998.
“It’s still such a small group of people,” Morton says. “Just for us to share the nominee reception and for it to be such a family affair was just really cool.”
Morton will be at The Francis, Louies Modern’s banquet hall in downtown Sarasota, to conduct a master class on songwriting, placement, and indie vs. major label artist options from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The musical showcase/open mic will be the same day from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. The latter feature bands of two of Sarasota's top drummers, James Varnado and Etienne Porter.
“It will be cool to discuss songwriting and play songs with these other musicians,” Morton says. “And then touch on more about navigating this crazy music business.”
PJ MORTON MASTER CLASS/SHOWCASE
1-3 p.m. and 8-11 p.m. Saturday; The Francis, 1289 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota; $10-$30 (call or visit website for details); 932-6269; brownpapertickets.com.