The art of listening//with RONNY MORRIS
"If you don't want to put anything good out there, then don't do it," urges Ronny Morris. And as if for good measure, he adds: "And that's my opinion about everything." Get it? Got it.
This may explain why Ronny's taken time over his first album - as in, five years' worth. But it's been well worth the wait.
"Don't build a house if you don't want to build a great house," he reflects. "Don't make wine if you don't want to create a fantastic, delicious wine…"
Such a process is never going to be easy. But since hitting a low in his life ("it all seemed to go wrong at the same time," he recalls without self-pity), Ronny made a choice: to travel light and sharpen his focus. So he sold a heap of recording equipment and instruments he'd accumulated, and kept only a guitar, a Wurlitzer, a pencil and notebook and a coffee mug…
One stripped back demo later - recorded in his bedroom, as all the best demos are - he was licensing his songs to major US television series One Tree Hill, Brothers and Sisters, and The Ghost Whisperer.
"It was amazing. I sent out 500 copies and suddenly people were calling me." Result. Ronny Morris: as heard on TV, and soon to be seen.
To his delight and surprise, last year he picked up a Hollywood Music Award, for best original song, in the shape of 'Every Time It Gets Real' (played on The Ghost Whisperer). It was a track that had not even been released…
Until now, that is. For once he was on track, he knew he simply had to record the album that was emerging from within, even if going for broke meant, er, going broke in the process.
But now, to Ronny's uncompromising ear, it is finished. And he's made the kind of record he believes people can stop to savour. People like his step-dad, who taught him the art of listening, back in the day. Lessons burned into the musical psyche of a little boy.
"When I was little," he remembers, "the prize possession in our home was my step-dad's state-of-the-art stereo and his vinyl collection. He would sit there, legs crossed, his cigarette in the ashtray, sipping coffee, and he would listen to the new album he had brought home that day."
Today, in our down-load, fast-forward and shuffle-off culture, we're in danger of missing the point, he believes: that a note emerges from the silence, and returns there, having entered our head and heart in the process, and touched us, moved us, nudged us towards some place better.
Towards Sweet Silence.
The first single from this much-awaited album is due in October. It's called "I'll Survive". And it's a tune that's likely to hook you in and leave you wanting more.
But the album follows shortly behind. And it comes with enthusiastic recommendation from the renowned producer Steve Thompson, famed for his work with (among others) Guns N'Roses and Korn. Steve mixed Sweet Silence.
"I loved working with Ronny," says Steve. "I think his sensibility is amazing. There's a timeless quality about this album."
Sweet Silence offers mystery at its heart. There are no easy answers here; but Ronny offers lyrical hints, melody, epiphany, movement, and above all inspiration… inspiration to listen harder for the sound of an unfolding story, and to reconnect with something we might have given up as lost.
"I'm reaching out to whatever's good in you," he sings, in 'Hey'. "It's all that I can do."
Hear ye. Hear ye.
Visit MORRIS Myspace and listen to his upcoming single 'I'll Survive'