When I initially listened to Morley’s music, I knew I was listening to something special.
I discovered her quite by accident. Her song, ‘When I Love You,’ was featured on a promotional compilation for Sarah McLachlan’s Lilith Fair back in 1998. The song immediately caught my ear as her music blends experimental pop and folk with subtle lacings of jazz. Needless to say, I needed to hear more.
A native of Queens, New York, Morley began her performing career as a dancer, but an injury made her diverge to making music. After a few years of writing songs, she was eventually signed to Sony and released her first album, Sun Machine, in 1998.
Sun Machine (which features the late Jeff Buckley on guitar) was a solid debut by anyone’s standard. Each of its eleven tracks are marked with Morley’s rich, soulful voice and the music’s cool sophistication and emotion, easily inciting comparisons to Joan Armatrading, Joni Mitchell and Sade. Time Magazine has even been quoted by saying, “Somewhere between Sade and Portishead, there’s Morley.”
Morley took some time off after the release of Sun Machine and spent her time teaching music to the elderly and terminal ill while writing material for her follow-up, 2002’s Symphonic Sky, an even more spiritual affair than her debut. ‘Time’ and ‘Raison D’ Etre C’est L’Amour’ can both be found here and the album is available for purchase through Morley’s official site with her third album expected later this year.
Although she regularly sells out shows throughout the New York area, her talent seems as if it has yet to see a wider audience. Let’s hope that changes.