Photo provided by Associated Press
P.J. Morton poses with his latest Grammy
NEW ORLEANS (April 16, 2021) – Eleven DU students will compete as semi-finalists in the second round of the DU/Morton Records Inaugural Talent Showcase at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 17, at Cook Theatre.
The event, to select a winner who will have a single produced by Morton Records, is one of many activities on tap during Grammy Award-winning musician PJ Morton’s year-long stint as DU’s first artist-in-residence.
A group of 28 students competed in the first round April 3, according to Cortheal Clark, who said only 10 were supposed to be left standing at the end of that competition, but the judges added an 11th person.
The students who will compete in Round 2 are Shailan Allen; Teana Boston; Aaron Brown; Racheal Green; Zaria Ivory; Sharandall Lewis; De’Auan McClaine; Caira McGhee; Landon Reece ; Destinii Wells; and Jasmine Jenee’ Williams.
In addition to the showcase, three DU students will be selected for a summer internship with Morton Records, Clark said; interviews are under way. Students selected as interns will be notified by Morton Records, Clark said.
Other activities through December 2021 will include master classes led by Morton, a New Orleans native who is both a solo performer and the keyboard player for the group Maroon 5. No dates or details about the master classes have been announced, other than all students would be eligible to participate.
Morton won his third Grammy on March 15 (“Gospel According to PJ,” best gospel album) and has been nominated for 14 since 2012. He has served as music director for Solange and has collaborated with the likes of Erykah Badu, JoJo, Kirk Franklin, Lil Wayne, Rapsody, Stevie Wonder, Tyler Perry, Yebb and dozens of others. Morton is also a staunch community advocate in New Orleans.
Many students have expressed excitement about Morton’s presence on campus and wondered whether protocol would allow them to approach him for a conversation. In response, Clark said, students may engage and interact with the musician on compus.
Students have been preparing and anticipating to engage with Morton since the announcement he would be the first artist in residence at the university. With the spring semester coming close to an end, many students at Dillard wonder when the spring contest, internships, and masterclasses will take place along with other details. According to Dillard, the inaugural “ Dillard’s Got Talent Showcase” is supposed to hold its first round of auditions on April 3. The internship will be in the summer and as of right now there will only be 3 to 4. According to the Chair of Humanities, Dr. Clark, Masterclasses are forthcoming and will continue until the end of the Fall of 2021. All students can participate in these masterclasses.
(Victoria Hardy contributed to this report.)