PJ Morton features Fireboy, Asa, Mádé Kuti on ‘Cape Town to Cairo’

With no music, lyrics, or preconceptions, he stepped foot onto the continent last fall with only the wild dream to make a record in a month, and a mission to immerse himself in as many different cultures, stories, and communities as he could.

Reflecting on his travels– from Cape Town and Johannesburg to Lagos (Nigeria), Accra (Ghana), Cairo (Egypt), and back down to South Africa again, most of which he was visiting for the very first time– PJ Morton says: “I wanted to capture the emotions I felt while I was on the continent, so I made a promise that I wouldn’t write anything before I arrived in Africa, and I wouldn’t write anything after I left– I ended up recording all my vocals before I left too. It really was an experiment in trusting my instincts. I have the ability to overthink as many of us do, so I wanted to spark something that had real stakes.”

Speaking on how he put the album together, PJ Morton said:

“What ended up happening was that all of my raw thoughts and influences came out all at once. There’s of course R&B and soul, but there’s also gospel in songs like ‘Simunye,’ pop in ‘Count On Me,’ jazz on ‘All The Dreamers,’ all combined with the inspiration of Africa. We didn’t have the luxury of time to police which genres would fit where, and the origins of all this music started in Africa anyway. Cape Town to Cairo is the diaspora in music form, done my way.”

While collaborating with featured artists including Fireboy DML, Mádé Kuti, Asa, Ndabo Zulu, and Soweto Spiritual Singers, producers like P.Priime and The Cavemen, his own live band and local musicians, ‘Cape Town to Cairo’ finds PJ Morton using music as his greatest common language.

He connects New Orleans to Lagos on ‘Smoke & Mirrors’– recorded a day after Fela Kuti‘s birthday festivities- while the transportive arrangements of ‘Please Be Good’ and ‘Simunye (We Are One)’ feat. Soweto Spiritual Singers showcase native sounds and the pride in belonging to something bigger than oneself.

Whether the song came all at once or developed across multiple countries, as was the case with ‘All The Dreamers’ feat. Asa & Ndado Zulu, Morton felt a constant sense of gratitude that manifested in “Thank You,” as well as an awareness for his personal lineage and many others’ ancestors who were taken from Africa (‘Who You Are’ feat. Mádé Kuti). On ‘Count On Me,’ he and Fireboy DML speak to the world as a whole, through an uplifting message about the power of friendship and unity.

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