James Vincent McMorrow is one of Ireland's most respected recording artists, with a live reputation to match.
Finding fame on the back of a haunting cover of Stevie Winwood's Higher Love, his first album, Early In The Morning received critical acclaim, with the follow-up Post Tropical repeating the trick, debuting at No. 2 in Ireland, as he added in new sounds alongside the predominantly acoustic elements found on his debut.
We caught up with James to discover his Ultimate Playlist and the stories behind the choices. Read on for some great songs, including a few early 90s classics.
Post Tropical is out now, for more info visit his website
Favourite Movie Soundtrack Song
"In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel [from Say Anything...]. It's just that scene where he holds the boombox up - it's a super iconic scene. I'm a huge Peter Gabriel guy and that's such a rad scene from such an awesome movie, so I can't think of any other song I'd rather have on a soundtrack."
"This is a totally random one and - I'll be perfectly honest - I put it in here because I was listening to it on my iPod when I got this thing through, and it was End of The Road by Boyz II Men. Sometimes I do that - like I've done things before, when I'm on radio shows and they're like, "what song can we play for you?" and it always ends up being like This Is How We Do It by Montell Jordan! 'Cos it's the last song I was listening to and that's always my rule - I play the last song on my iPod and almost always it's either Bump and Grind by R Kelly or This Is How We Do It by Montell Jordan, so you got End of the Road by Boyz II Men! It's a brilliant song."
Favourite Club Anthem
"What Is Love by Haddaway. Just because of the movie A Night At The Roxbury. It's one of Will Ferrell's first movies, and it's about him and his brother - they're trying to get into this club, called the Roxbury, in LA. It's a stupid movie but it's really funny, and the song that they listen to in the car, when they're getting warmed up to go into the night is What Is Love by Haddaway and they do a dance to it, and it's particularly ridiculous. When we were kids we used to watch that movie all the time and listen to that song a lot."
Favourite Song That No One Else Knows
"I've picked a song by a band called Menomena - the song is called Dirty Cartoons. It's off an album called Minds from maybe three or four years ago and it's one of my favourite albums of all time. I absolutely love it, I listen to it all the time, and it never did what I think it should have done. It's one of those albums that kind of came and went and they never really got to tour it the way they should have done and it kind of just disappeared. But there's this song on it, and it's such a beautiful song...I used to listen to it when I was on planes, coming home from tours, 'cos the song has got quite a like a coming home kind of resonance to it, and it used to make me super-emotional on planes to be honest! Every single time on that first album cycle, when we were on planes almost every second, third day, every time we'd be coming back to Ireland, coming home for a while, I'd listen to that song. It's a beautiful song."
Favourite Wedding Song
"I can't answer this one! I think I've been to five weddings in my life. What song would I want to hear at a wedding? I don't really know! It's a strange one when you think about it. The only thing that comes to mind was that every time - when I'm back in Ireland, people stop me in the street all the time and tell me that they've played my version of Higher Love at their wedding - [laughs] you'll have to put the why in for this, otherwise it'll look wildly narcissistic, I'm just like, "oh yeah I like to hear myself at weddings, it really sets my mind at ease!". People have got in contact with people that work for me and asked if I'll come to their wedding and sing it...a lot of people have asked, and get quite annoyed when I say no!"
Favourite Current Song
"There's a band called Spoon, from the US, and they have a song called Do You, which I heard when I was in the US a couple of weeks ago - I'm not sure if it's come over here yet, but it's amazing. It's a beautiful, driving in your car, summer jam. One of my favourite songs of all time is Boys Of Summer by Don Henley, I think it's one of everybody's favourite songs - but it has that real kind of top down, classic American vibe to it and I haven't heard a song like that, in a modern context, in so long, and then I heard this song...I've liked Spoon for a long time but never really loved them, but it's got that kind of classic American driving fast in a Mustang kind of thing, so I think that's my favourite song at the moment."
Favourite Song From Your Childhood
"Mr Blue Sky by ELO. The reason I picked it was because my dad used to play it in the car when we were kids, he had a car with a sunroof...when we were kids myself and my sister would always put our heads out of the sunroof and play Mr Blue Sky. I guess it's that song isn't it - some people aren't hyper-familiar with ELO but everybody knows that song. It just reminds me of being 5 or 6 and just having that experience, being in a car with my dad and it being really lovely. And also as well, from a music perspective, i remember being absolutely enthralled with that song, and that weird outro to it - even as a 5 or 6 year thinking "that's crazy". What an amazing tune."
Favourite Lyric From A Song
"It's a difficult one, so again I've picked something that is a bit more modern. My favourite lyric at the moment, someone who I watched last week and he sang it, and I love it every time - it's a Kanye West lyric and it's off that song Hold My Liquor, off Yeezus, right at the start of the song and he's says "I slightly scratched your Corolla" and then he's like "OK, I smashed your Corolla" and it just makes me laugh so much, I just think it's such a deadly lyric to put in a song, like, what a ridiculous thing. I just love that line. I think Kanye comes up with these couplet lines every now and again that are better than anything anyone will ever come up with, and I think that's one of them."
Favourite One Hit Wonder
"I'm not actually 100% sure if this is a one hit wonder because of the name of the song, but Return of the Mack by Mark Morrison. I feel like it does...because it's called Return of the Mack I used to always ask people about this - where was he returning from? Was he somewhere before? So I guess that's a one hit wonder - I love that song, it's a brilliant song, but he always struck me as a dude that maybe had more hits somewhere that I wasn't super-familiar with because he came with such confidence on the track, on the video and it's like "damn, this guy's like had a career" but I don't think he did, I think that was just the song! Unbelievable song, just total genius, that melody is brilliant. That would be my pick, I hope he doesn't seek me out now to tell my why he's had ten other number 3 hits that I haven't heard of or something but hopefully he'll appreciate being mentioned rather be insulted that he's in the one hit wonder category!"
Favourite Song From Your Own Music
"Hard to pick - the one I like singing the most at the moment, it's a song from the new record called Cavalier, it's the first song on the record and just from a singing perspective, which is where I live and breathe, it really pushes me every single time. I can't take my foot off the gas with that song, there's some huge notes at the end and I have to really go for it and I just love the reaction that people have to it, like everybody freaks out when we play it at the moment...and it's a slow jam - it's a really slow song - you just wouldn't expect it. It's really compelling to me when that happens. We had it on the first record with a song called We Don't Eat, when we used to play it, we used to come in with the kick drum and crowds would just instinctively know and...I think it's more so now that everybody is familiar with all the albums, but there are certain songs that people just really get involved in, and that's one of them, and for me, as a singer, it really pushes me a lot, so I dig that."