Maroon 5 keyboardist (and solo artist) PJ Morton is back with the video premiere for “Claustrophobic” featuring Pell. It’s the first single from Morton’s upcoming fourth studio album Gumbo.
Set inside an elevator, the video focuses on Morton being surrounded by a growing contingent of riders who suggest he’s not mainstream or street enough and needs to switch up his style. “No offense,” says one of the riders on the soul, funk, hip-hop and jazz-infused track. “We’re just trying to make you a star.” To which Morton confesses, “I must admit I’m claustrophobic / I have a hard time trying to fit into your small mind.”
“I wrote this song while feeling like I was being smothered by everyone else’s opinions,” Morton tells Billboard. “I was starting to lose myself and this was my song to fight back. It’s the anthem for all the dreamers who may not fit in.”
The video concept came to Morton a couple of years ago. “I wanted it all to be shot in an elevator where it would continue to get more and more packed. It was my take on how my brain kept getting more and more filled with others’ ideas and opinions.”
Both “Claustrophobic” and the Gumbo album mark a new beginning for the Grammy- and Dove Award-winning singer/songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist. The New Orleans native moved back to his hometown last year and began laying the musical foundation for Gumbo — the first album he’s actually recorded there. The April 21 set is also the first release under Morton’s Empire-distributed label Morton Records. In addition to fellow Big Easy artist Pell, the album features BJ the Chicago Kid and The Hamiltones.
Morton’s 2013 album New Orleans includes “Only One” with guest Stevie Wonder, which received a Grammy nomination for best R&B song. Beyond his continued work with Maroon 5 (Overexposed, V), Morton has collaborated with Busta Rhymes, Lil Wayne, Jazmine Sullivan, Monica and India.Arie. His collaboration with India.Arie netted him a Grammy win in 2008. Morton also became music director for Solange following the release of her critically acclaimed album A Seat at the Table.
Morton will perform with Maroon 5 at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (aka Jazz Fest 2017) on April 29. He will perform as a solo artist at the festival on May 5.
Watch the “Claustrophobic” video below.