I was a premature baby who got whooping cough.
It was so serious the doctors said they should turn off the machines.
I’ve always felt I’m lucky to be here.
Knowing that has played a part in who I am, I don’t take anything for granted.
But if I hadn’t had whooping cough, I wouldn’t have my voice – it’s what gives me that husk.
It was annoying when I was a kid, but I realised I could turn it to my advantage.
I listened to Otis Redding and Rod Stewart , stopped worrying and learnt my craft.
My upbringing has had a profound effect on me.
I got ripped for being poor.
Friends never used to come around to my house, I never knew what mood my mum would be in, she had a lot on, to be fair.
Three kids, single parent, depression…
She did well to get us all through it.
When I was younger I was angry at her, but I’m grateful now.
She made me feel like I could do anything.
My mum would ship me out to restaurants to sing, all like, ‘If my boy plays, can we get some food?’
It was awkward, but it taught me how to get up there and perform.
I do have diva moments, but it’s always about music.
I did a gig in Blackpool where they didn’t get the track right and I looked like a d*ckhead in front of 20,000 people. so I lost it.
I don’t know why I’ve had success over other artists, but I think it’s something to do with the fact I nearly died.
I feel like I’ve been given a gift.
Or maybe I’m talking sh*t and I’m just lucky.
I’ve got enough success to feel good about myself, but not so much I’ve got a massive ego.
A lot of people in this industry are a*seholes.
Where I’m at right now is perfect, I never wanted to be as famous as Elton John.
I have to keep a little bit back for myself.
If I could turn back time, I’d enjoy it more.
The first five years of doing this was terrifying and it still kind of is.
I want to be better than I am, that’s the trouble. I want my music to be everlasting, I want to be Stevie Wonder , but I’m not.
On the one hand, I’ve got quite a high regard for myself, and on the other hand I’ve got a really low opinion of myself where I’m nothing, just a dude making tunes.
I’m trying to be other-worldy and touch your soul, and at the same time I just like singing songs.
Sometimes I think I should have lived a bit before I got with my girlfriend, Gill.
We’ve been together since I was 17, she was with me when I had nothing.
We were so young, I didn’t go anywhere or have many girlfriends before her.
I had my daughter when I was 24 and my dad said, ‘Get on with it, I had a kid when I was 19, I had no money, I was an alcoholic.’
It taught me a lot about what not to do, because I know exactly what I didn’t like when I was growing up.
I’m not a strict parent, but I have values and principles and if they get broken I’m p*ssed off.
I want to bring up grounded, level-headed, polite, generous, caring, strong girls.
I thought we were done after our daughter Elsie, 10 – the second, Ada Rose, who’s one, was a surprise, but a wicked one.
She was a miracle, I believe in God way more since she was born.
My family were broken, my dad left when I was young, and being a good dad is important above everything.
I took a year out when Elsie was five, which was a privilege, I wanted her to know who I was, not be one of those touring dads who is never around.
My dad was an alcoholic and he wasn’t around a lot when I was growing up, but he was my best friend.
He died seven years ago and I haven’t found a person to fill that gap.
There are rock ’n’ roll temptations, I’m only human, but my striving to be a good person and not a d*ckhead outweighs my desire to go, ‘Yeah, let’s get f*cked’.
I’m lucky my voice doesn’t allow me to get into coke, and I’m not even a big drinker.
When I was starting to do alright I got a bottle of rum on my rider, but I can’t sing when I’m p*ssed and I get lairy.
I take myself out of situations that could see me come unstuck.
I have a lot of discipline.
If you’ve been away six weeks and there’s a lovely girl being flirty, it’s like, ‘Argh go away!’
My Secret Snapshot
This was around the time I started doing gigs with my school band.
I had an education maintenance allowance like all the poor kids got, so I set myself up with that guitar and some speakers and a microphone and stand.
I grew up in Rugby where I felt like a weird kid – my mates would take the p*ss out of me for playing guitar in my bedroom.
Moving to Cornwall was amazing, people would go, ‘Hey, go and get your guitar’, for the first time ever.
And there were girls around.
I was a quiet kid, the middle one of three, and finally I was getting some attention.
Mum used to work her a*se off as a nurse and we were still skint, so I knew if I was going to get out of this trap I needed to earn some money.
My dad said that whatever I did, I should do it because I love it.
I just wanted to play my music in pubs.
The end goal was to get on the radio, but that was just a pipe dream.
– James Morrison’s album You’re Stronger Than You Know is out now
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