He has sold out arena tours, gigged coast-to-coast in America as well as in Australia, Japan and across Europe; he has performed on Jimmy Kimmel’s and Jay Leno’s TV shows in the States; sung in front of tens of thousands at London’s Hyde Park supporting both Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Wonder; appeared on Herbie Hancock’s Grammy-winning album The Imagination Project – singing a widely acclaimed cover of Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come; he has been voted Best Male at the 2007 Brit Awards; and – at just 21 – was the biggest-selling British male solo artist the year his debut album, Undiscovered, was released.<br />James Morrison has done it again. His third and best album by far, The Awakening, is the sound of an artist coming of age. In his personal life, Morrison has become a father, while losing his own father after the latter’s long battle with alcoholism and depression. At the same time, Morrison, 26, has matured as a singer, songwriter and musician, enabling him to channel all of that emotion into his most accomplished collection of songs yet.<br />“My first two albums felt like practice shots,” he says, “and now I’ve graduated. In many ways this feels like my first proper album.” Morrison’s first two albums – Undiscovered (2006) and Songs for You, Truths for Me (2008) – sold a combined total of 4.5 million copies and yielded an astonishing ten singles, including You Give Me Something, Wonderful World, The Pieces Don’t Fit Anymore and the global smash Broken Strings, featuring Nelly Furtado. Those practice shots turned Morrison into an international star.<br />The Awakening is a warm, live-sounding collection of classic but contemporary folk-soul songs. There are musical similarities with Morrison’s debut, but with added panache and self-belief. There are soaring strings, uplifting harmonies, soulful ballads and, in Slave to the Music, a hand-clapping dance floor groover – a new string to his bow. There are nods to Motown, gospel, country and a hint of Latin. Technically, Morrison remains one of the finest white soul singers, equal parts Stevie Wonder and Paul Young. But he is more than just a Big Voice – he sings from the heart.