Ethan Bellows

PJ Morton performs 'Say So' for EW's In the Basement

December 20, 2019

PJ Morton will be the first to admit that “Say So,” the lead single off his 2019 album Paul, has a pretty simplistic message.

“But a lot of times that’s how people want to receive the message, especially when there are mixed signals,” he says of the love song, which is about telling someone directly about your romantic feelings rather than avoiding them. “If you’re in love with them, just say it, just be direct and let them know how you’re feeling as opposed to playing games and trying to figure out what it is and how you feel.”

Morton — who recently stopped by EW’s Los Angeles studios to perform an acoustic rendition of the track for In the Basement — says the song came from both his own experience, and that of his friends. “I’m a big people watcher and life watcher,” he says. “I usually don’t write a song until I see it happen more than once in my life or someone else’s. This is something I saw reoccurring over and over where people would just… I wish they would tell me what’s up.”

It’s already setting up to be a busy 2020 for the 38-year-old multi-instrumentalist, who also plays keyboards in Maroon 5. Not only is he up for three Grammys at next year’s ceremony, including Best R&B Song and Best R&B Album — for “Say So” and Paul, respectively — he’ll also be taking his current tour across the pond to Europe.

“I think the thing I enjoy the most is after [a song is] all done and then we get on the road and people know these songs,” he says. “The [recording] process is wonderful to me — writing it and hearing the melody and being in the studio — but it’s nothing like hearing the song you created out of nothing being sung back to you by an audience. It’s the best feeling in the world.” 

You can watch Morton’s full In the Basement performance above.

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