Morgan James Opens Up About Breaking Down Biases Against Prince

Morgan James‘ first studio album, ‘Hunter,’ released in 2014, featured her cover of Prince‘s ‘Call My Name.’ In a recent chat with Songfacts, the singer remembered the time the late star gave his blessing to her to make a new version of the song.

James recorded her rendition of the track during the sessions of her debut album, but nobody around her thought Prince would give permission to release it:

“Yes. That was the first song I had ever arranged. I had been singing that song for a long, long time. I love it so much. When I was signed to Epic Records, we recorded all the songs for ‘Hunter,’ and we recorded that song, even though L.A. Reid said to me, ‘You might as well not record it, don’t waste your time.’

We did it anyway; it sounded amazing, and I sent it to them. Everybody loved it, and he said, ‘We can’t put it on the album; he’ll never say yes.’ I said, ‘But has anybody asked him because I think he would like it.’ They said, ‘No, he’s never going to say ‘yes.” I said, ‘But why doesn’t anybody just ask him?'”

When they finally decided to send it to the late rocker a year later, he loved it and gave a ‘full blessing’:

“Cut to a year later. I begged, and I begged, and I begged. We released the album without ‘Call My Name’ on it. L.A. calls me up one day, and he says, ‘I was just listening to music in my house, and ‘Call My Name’ came on shuffle. That’s a good track.’ I said, ‘Thanks. I think we should send it to Prince.’ He said, ‘You know what, I think I’ll send it to Prince.’

He called Prince’s assistant and said, ‘Can you give me four minutes?’ He sent the song over, and a few minutes later, Prince called back and said, ‘I love it, and she should release it. She should make a video, the whole thing.’ A full blessing.”

After an extended process due to their hesitation toward Prince, the song finally made its way to the new version of the album:

“I’ll never forget the day L.A. called to tell me that. It was a long process because everybody was scared, and there was no reason to be scared of him. They immediately pulled my album and released ‘Call My Name’ as a single. We went into the studio to make a video. They pulled the old album, rebranded the new one, and added ‘Call My Name.'”

The American musician is no stranger to covers. In her previous works, Morgan James released new renditions of songs by many prominent artists, including Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell, and the Beatles. She has also been part of Postmodern Jukebox since 2014, recording various cover songs for their YouTube channel.

Below, you can listen to James’ version of ‘Call My Name.’