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Morgan Harper-Jones Announces New EP ‘While You Lay Sound Asleep’ & Shares New Single and Video “Want Me”

February 3, 2022
credit Katie Silvester

Morgan Harper-Jones

Announces new EP, ‘While You Lay Sound Asleep’

Shares “Want Me”

Headline show at London’s St Pancras Old Church in March

Rochdale songwriter Morgan Harper-Jones announces new EP ‘While You Lay Sound Asleep’, due 4th March on Play It Again Sam. Preorder here.

Produced by Luke Smith (Foals, Depeche Mode) and recorded with members of new wave jazz group Ezra Collective, this collection of songs pair the Morgan’s knack for emotional rawness with experimental flourishes of strings, and darker explorations still.

Having recently shared “All I Do“, “Lonely” and “Tell Me That You Miss Me“, today Morgan unveils “Want Me“, co-written with Adele collaborator Eg White.

‘Want Me’ details the ways in which we change ourselves: “[It’s] the idea of being a jigsaw piece,” Morgan explains, “and trying to push yourself into this hole. But you don’t need to abandon yourself to be chosen by somebody, and if you do… they’re not your person.”

Easily one of the most stunning releases we will encounter this year and for time to come. A track that captures this wide range of emotion, from the harrowing vocal melodies and the expressive range emitting from the sincere harmonies to the deeply intricate lyrics. Raw, personal, and reflective, the lyrics linger with the affection and collaborate with the delicate keys moving the journey further into its complex voyage. Harper-Jones is one of the most ambitious singers, the powerful character oozes from the distinct vocal tonality that simply enthralls. From start to finish, this is such a striking composition with this lasting significance.

Morgan adds, “I was actually super angry when I wrote ‘Want Me’. I felt like I was getting loads of things wrong and disappointing people.

“Romantically I’d go on a couple dates with someone, feel a connection and then as they got to know me more they were incredibly disappointed to find out that I was a human with flaws. Even outside of romantic situations I felt like I was disappointing people for not being what they thought I “should” be. And trying to be their version of me wasn’t fun.

Of the video, she says, “It was the director Dylan’s wonderful idea to use a split screen, and with the song being about different versions of oneself it kind of became a way to show that. It’s a bit weird and I love it, I won’t say anymore…

Live:

Wednesday 16th March 2022 – St Pancras Old Church, London
21 – 24th July – Blue Dot Festival, Cheshire

Raised by her grandparents in Rochdale, Morgan Harper-Jones has always been an old soul. On car trips, she and her grandma would listen to Diana Ross and The Supremes, Otis Redding, Patsy Cline and old Motown classics on repeat, and at home in front of the telly, her favourite comedies were Norman Wisdom films, and the 70s sitcom George & Mildred.

Harper-Jones’ iPod Nano was loaded up with Joni Mitchell –  “I’d listen to ‘Blue’ every single day,” she smiles. “Nobody else knew this stuff, but I wasn’t bothered or aware of how odd I was”. In her free time, the musician likes to act like “I’m retired,” she laughs, and favours boogying to ABBA over late ones in clubs. “I’m in no way a rock star: I like getting up early, being in nature, and doing wholesome things.”

As a kid, Harper-Jones loved performing and writing melodramatic lyrics to belt out atop her keyboard’s demo settings, but it never occurred to her that she might become a musician one day. A good portion of her family were entertainers, playing in cover bands and performing at weddings, and songwriting was an integral part of their everyday life. “It’s just normal to me,” she explains, “everyone in my family wrote them. When I was born, my grandad wrote me a song, and we’ve all got our own song in the family.”

Harper-Jones wrote songs too, and eventually decided to throw herself into studying music full time at BIMM in Manchester. She still lives on the outskirts of the city now, and her bedroom-meets-studio looks out onto the green park where she volunteers as a gardener. Though still obsessed with Joni Mitchell, her contemporary influences include Aldous Harding, Andy Shauf, Okay Kaya, Big Thief’s Adriene Lenker, and St Vincent

At the beginning of 2020, Harper-Jones released ‘Breathe’ as her debut single – a quietly humming beauty of a song that reluctantly steps back to find space from an all-encompassing relationship, and recalls the candour of both Joni Mitchell and Tracy Chapman. The likes of Clash and The Line of Best Fit began spotlighting her music (with the latter calling her “striking and self-assured”) and an accomplished debut EP followed. Then, after playing her first ever live solo show, the pandemic hit. “Everything got shut down, so I kind of started from scratch again,” she explains. “I’m glad about that, and I think I really benefited from a year of space to really think about what I wanted to write about.”

And the result of this year of reflection, Harper-Jones’ forthcoming EP ‘While You Lay Sound Asleep’ builds upon these foundations, produced by Luke Smith (Foals, Depeche Mode) and recorded with members of new wave jazz group Ezra Collective.

The title, she adds, refers to exploring the various ways in which the musician has woken up to certain aspects of their life. “I love psychology a lot, and understanding humans,” she says. “I would start writing a song about something people do that I find interesting, and afterwards I’d be like, fucking hell, that’s me, and I need to change something.”

Filled with starkly honest lyrics that tap into obsession, infatuation, and the unhealthy behaviours that come with the territory, it’s the Manchester musician’s most exposed writing yet. “I don’t will myself to cry when I write, but with particular lines I get emotional, and I keep them – and those are always the lines that get other people. It’s magic, and so connecting when I hear myself in the music of others,” she says. “It’s like someone’s sat next to you saying it’s ok to feel that way as a human. I hope that my music can be that for someone else too”.

And these are the lines that Harper-Jones hopes that ‘While You Lay Sound Asleep’ might wake her listeners up, too – or at least, help us to feel less alone in those flawed moments we all stumble into.

Tracklisting:
1. All I Do
2. Want Me
3. Tell Me That You Miss Me
4. Dream
5. Never Have You
6. Lonely

https://www.facebook.com/morganharperjones

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