A drummer needs timing, and Jamie Morrison’s calling came right on time, at a very early age. His loving Cambridge family fully embraced and encouraged his choices, even when he wanted to practice drums for eight hours each day. ‘It was not really normal but they saw it as a positive thing and acknowledged that creative spark’, says Jamie, ‘and I am forever grateful for their lenience and support - I was never grounded in my life. I was never told off for being naughty. I never had to do a paper round.’ Thanks to their unconditional support, Jamie was already touring and recording professionally with bands at the age of 16.
‘I saw drumming as a specific skill like carpentry, where if you offer something unique and undeniably excellent, you would never struggle for opportunities’, Jamie remembers. ‘But on the road and in the studio is where I really discovered I could help singers realise their dreams with my ability. I had the skill and experience to come up with the goods, but also a sharp instinct which enabled me to feel what an artist is reaching for and make it possible from the perspective of the drums. I always knew that, although it’s only one element of the whole sound, it is a major one. After the vocal and melody, the drumbeat is everything.’
Among the young drummer’s appreciative employers was singer-songwriter Hayley Willis (also a featuring artist on Drewford Alabama), who asked Jamie to perform with her on Later... with Jools Holland - Jamie’s first of many television appearances. It was October 2003 and Jamie had just turned 20. At that show, Jamie’s dad casually started chatting to R.E.M.’s producer Charlie Francis who then asked him if Jamie could make it into the studio to meet these two kids he was about to start working with - who turned out to be Dan Smith and Shingai Shoniwa. Thus, the Noisettes was born and only a few months later the colourful three piece was flying to Los Angeles to sign a record deal with Motown.
For the next seven years Jamie was a Noisette, experiencing creativity, fun, friendship, creative growth and international success. ‘I traveled the world as my own boss in my own band. It was liberating and empowering and I am very grateful to have experienced that during my early 20s’.
During the rare breaks in the band’s gruelling schedule, Jamie used all of his free time to work and play with other artists, either as a session musician or just helping out his friends in other bands. ‘I like being out there making things happen. I have never been one for sitting around’.
After 7 years of blood, sweat and tears, highs and lows, the Noisettes came to an abrupt end.
But every cloud has its silver lining and this was no different. From the ashes of the Noisettes rose Pop Morrison, and in 2012 Jamie joined Welsh Rock legends Stereophonics. It all goes to show how what seems like a setback can turn out to be the best thing ever.