Morgan James in 2014
|Birth name||Morgan Grunerud|
November 24, 1981 |
Boise, Idaho, U.S.
|Genres||Soul, jazz, musical theater|
|Associated acts||Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox|
Morgan James (born November 24, 1981) is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. She has appeared in numerous Broadway shows, including Motown: The Musical, Godspell, and The Addams Family. Her first studio album, Hunter, was released by Epic Records in November 2014.
Early life and education
James was born Morgan Grunerud in Boise, Idaho, the daughter of educators and actors Allen Grunerud and Shellie Harwood. The family moved frequently when James was a child, going from Idaho to Utah, Tennessee, and eventually Modesto, California where she spent her high school years. James was inspired by her actor parents to enter the performing arts, and she joined a choir while in middle school. Her grandmother also bought her a karaoke machine and agreed to pay for singing lessons until James went to college.
James attended high school at Peter Johansen High School in Modesto. She graduated in 1999 and was quickly accepted to The Juilliard School in New York City at age 18. There, she studied opera, and eventually earned her Bachelor of Music in Voice in 2003. In college, James also took a master class headed by Broadway veteran Barbara Cook.
After college, James initially struggled to find work and looked for jobs that utilized both her operatic and classical training. James did not make her Broadway debut until 2010 in the musical production of The Addams Family, starring Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth. In 2011, James appeared in Frank Wildhorn's Wonderland and the Broadway revival of Godspell. James was injured (sprained ankle) in a rehearsal for Godspell in October 2011 and was unable to perform during previews. She recuperated and, by November 2011, was performing in the musical at the Circle in the Square Theatre. In 2013, James took on the role of Teena Marie in Motown: The Musical. She stayed with the cast until December 2013, at which point she left to pursue a vocal performance tour.
During her time on Broadway, she also moonlighted as a solo artist with a backing band often composed of Chris Fenwick, Matt Fieldes, Damien Bassman, and others. She has played at numerous New York City clubs including (Le) Poisson Rouge, 54 Below, Rockwood Music Hall, Birdland, and more. Her first solo album, Morgan James Live: A Celebration of Nina Simone, was recorded at New York jazz club, Dizzy's, and is a collection of Nina Simone cover songs. It was released via Epic Records in December 2012.
Her second solo album (and first studio album), Hunter, was recorded in 2014 and first released via Epic Records in June 2014. The 11-track album was produced by Doug Wamble and is James' first album of all original, solo material.
Besides touring with PMJ, she has also been on a solo tour with her band during the summer and fall of 2015, with scheduled tour dates well into 2016.
|Morgan James Live: A Celebration of Nina Simone||
|2014||"Call My Name"||N/A|
- Holden, Stephen (9 June 2013). "Emoting And Belting, From Holiday To Prince". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Gioia, Michael (4 September 2013). "PLAYBILL PLAYLIST: Motown Actress and Soul Singer Morgan James Shares Her Musical Inspirations". Playbill. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Cerasaro, Pat (30 August 2014). "New Morgan James Single, 'Call My Name', Now Available". Broadway World. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Victor, Greg (8 June 2014). "The Summer of 2014′s First 'Must-Have' Album: Morgan James' "Hunter'". Parcbench. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Collar, Matt (3 June 2014). "Review by Matt Collar". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Millegan Renner, Lisa (10 May 2010). "Johansen High grad enjoying kooky, spooky role in Broadway show". The Modesto Bee. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Gans, Andrew (10 February 2012). "DIVA TALK: Chatting With Godspell Star Morgan James". Playbill. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Rowland, Marijke (3 April 2014). "Modesto's Morgan James 'on fire,' joins cabaret". The Modesto Bee. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Hodges, Bruce (May 2013). "James and Dinnerstein Release New Song CDs". The Juilliard Journal. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- "WONDERLAND's Morgan James Plays Concert at Birdland 5/9". Broadway World. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Gans, Andrew (14 October 2011). "Morgan James Temporarily Sidelined from Godspell; Free Concert Set for Oct. 17". Playbill. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Blank, Matt (13 December 2011). "PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: A Three-Show Day With Godspell's Morgan James". Playbill. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Gans, Andrew (21 October 2010). "Addams Family's James to Offer Solo Concert In November". Playbill. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- "Postmodern Jukebox's Youtube channel". Retrieved 24 February 2015.
- "New videos and updates". morganjamesonline.com. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
- Collar, Matt (4 December 2012). "Review by Matt Collar". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- "Call My Name - Single". iTunes. 19 August 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014.