At the ripe old age of 21, James Morrison became an overnight sensation in the U.K. with the release of his debut album, 2006's Undiscovered, which wasted little time going platinum in the British Isles. Blessed with a fresh, soulful voice that alternated between smooth and rough tones (and suggested a British Stevie Wonder), Morrison recalled both the passion of classic soul music and the confessional lyrical stance of the singer/songwriters of the 1970s. Morrison was born in the West Midlands town of Rugby, where he soaked up the influence of his parents' record collection. His mother was a fan of soul, especially artists like Otis Redding, Van Morrison, and Al Green, while his dad was big on country and classic folk musicians such as Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie. During interviews conducted years later, Morrison alluded to an unhappy childhood touched by poverty and illness -- describing his hometown, he told one a journalist that "[t]he best thing is I've got memories of being a kid there and the worst thing is I've got memories of being a kid there" -- and early on he struck out on his own, earning pocket money by busking on the streets of Porth, a village near the Cornish coast.