I remember the first time I heard Junie Morrison‘s “Super Spirit“…Q-Tip played it for me one night in his studio in Jersey. No song had ever made me feel quite like it. It tapped into places and spiritual frequencies that I couldn’t even put into words. I listened to it on loop for an hour, each listen hitting me deeper and deeper.
I went home immediately and listened to every song I could find of Junie’s, as well as revisiting and diving deep into his work with The Ohio Players and Parliament. I was blown away by his brilliant musicianship, chords, melodies, and his ability to make the most obscure changes in songs flow from one to the next like he could do it in his sleep, any night of the week. His music found me during a really hard time. During a time of a lot of self-doubt about my own music and career. Any time those feelings would rise, I’d put on “Super Spirit” and try and to manifest it into that moment.
I had just finished my album and started mixing when one day I walked into the studio and heard Raphael playing this drum and bass loop. He was playing it for a friend, but I begged to take it home and write to it. I started sketching out “Junie” with Junie Morrison heavy on my mind that very night. I asked John Kirby to come and play some piano and synth on it and stayed up all night sampling it and creating the vocal harmony that’s now the hook.
I went down to Dallas and asked the great Andre 3000 to join me on the song. I remember him showing me this video and the first verse coming shortly after. When I got back to LA, I asked Kelly and Nia to sing the intro with me. It was really a kind of cosmic, collaborative experience with incredible people who I feel are connected to the song with a purpose. It’s the last song that made it onto A Seat at the Table and the one I feel the closest to today.
I wrote the song to honor the brilliant Junie Morrison and the impact his work and story had on me, while wanting to challenge my own relationship with “sharing your magic.” The more I learned about Junie, the more I learned how much of his gift he shared through his musical contributions to others; how we have all in some way or another been touched by his contributions to funk music, and about his wealth of inspiration to other musicians. The more he came up, the more I heard the words underrated and under-credited. But the greatest lesson I learned about Junie Morison is that the magic was endless….and the truest testament to real authentic magic….is that it can’t be made….. it just is. When that kind of magic exists, it will happen again and again, no matter what the potion of players are. He had it in his hands. He was very appreciated. He was the “Super Spirit” indeed.
A mutual friend, the wonderful DJ Soul Sister, introduced us and I was lucky enough to share with him how much of an impact he and his music had on me at a time when I really needed it. I spoke with him from time to time and he was always incredibly kind, humble, and shared gems of advice and little mantra’s with me along the way. He always ended them with “ever fonking on,” which I know he’s doing right this moment.
RIP Junie Morrisson