Singer songwriter Morgan James to headline Strings Music Festival Friday |

Singer songwriter Morgan James to headline Strings Music Festival Friday

New York-based soul singer and songwriter Morgan James will performing at Strings in Steamboat Springs this weekend.

From Juilliard to Broadway, one virtuosic singer-songwriter is making her mark on the music industry.

And this weekend she will arrive in Steamboat Springs for the first time to headline the Strings Music Festival's Different Tempo performance at 8 p.m. Friday

An Idaho native and now New York-based, Morgan James has made a name for herself, first appearing in leading roles on Broadway in “Godspell,” “Motown the Musical” and “The Addams Family,” and taking the stage at venues such as the Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center.

Explore Steamboat wanted to get the inside scoop on this show-stopping performer and a few things she's learned along the way.

Explore Steamboat: Who or what inspired you to pursue music? At what point did it become a reality that you could be a singer-songwriter full time?

Morgan James: Different people inspired me at different points in my path: Audra McDonald and Barbara Cook when I wanted to be on Broadway; Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon for lyrics and writing; Aretha Franklin and Donny Hathaway for singing; Prince for vibe; Nina Simone for soul and passion.

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Note: Her rendition of Prince's "Call My Name" was the last cover to be personally approved by Prince before his death. 

ES: What have been some of your biggest challenges and triumphs that you've encountered the past few years?

MJ: I feel a huge sense of pride and accomplishment for all of my Broadway shows; getting signed to Epic records was a huge triumph. Then getting dropped by Epic Records was a challenge and a setback. But it’s actually the challenges and setbacks that make a great artist, and a great person. Being resilient and hard working is everything — how you handle the setbacks defines you.

ES: Did you ever see yourself where you are now?

MJ: No! I had no idea I would be here. I thought I would perhaps work on Broadway forever, but I love touring and being my own boss.

ES: What is your songwriting process like? Where do you draw inspiration?

MJ: Every song comes about a bit differently, depending on who I am working/writing with. Some songs are lyrics first, some are a title, some start with a melody or theme. Every one has come to be in a different way.

ES: Who has been some of the most memorable musicians you've shared the stage with or collaborated with? What did you learn from them?

MJ: Robert Glasper and I collaborated on a song on my first album (“Let Me Keep You”), and it was a special experience — we came together and shared memories in order to birth that tune. He is a special musician.

ES: What can Steamboat expect to see at the concert on Friday?

MJ: We will be singing lots of music from the new album "Reckless Abandon" and a few favorites from the debut album, "Hunter." We also have some new covers we added for the tour, as well.

If you go:

What: Morgan James

When: 8 p.m. Friday, June 23

Where: Strings Music Pavilion, 900 Strings Road