N.K. Morton: I Was Able to Affirm Everything I Knew to Be True About Myself
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N.K. Morton is a singer-songwriter. She wrote songs for Backstreet Boys, Mýa, and Karen Clark-Sheard, worked in television with Chris Rock, and was a featured lead or background vocalist for artists, ranging from Diana Ross to Rakim.
Hi, I'm N.K Morton. And some of you may know me as Nneka Morton. I'm a singer, songwriter, actress and model. As most R&B singers, I got my start in the church. My great uncle was the Pastor of Mercy C God in Christ. I was considered a PK, that's preacher's kid, for some of you who don't know. I've always wanted to be a singer. And that passion really was ignited in the choir. I took center stage and I just wanted to always have it. And so, when I became an adult, I set out to do whatever was necessary to become a star. I wanted to be famous singer. And I didn't let anything stand in my way. So, very shortly, I was able to sign to Island Records. And I was just over the moon about this. I felt surely that this thing that I've been praying on was going to be mine. As long as I put the hard work in, I was going to be successful. And I found out rather quickly that it's not always the case. You know, this industry is really hard. And it's challenging in a lot of ways. Can shake your faith, make you doubt yourself, lose your confidence, and make you wonder whether or not you really belong here. And I went through all of those emotions. The most surprising being losing my confidence in myself. I have never had a problem with confidence. It is the thing that has driven me my whole life. I just felt like I'm a winner. And as long as I put the work in, I'm going to win. So I found myself in this position where I had this thing. I had this career right in front of me, it was within my grasp, but I could not make this thing move. It just was stagnant. I couldn't get any traction. And I was just so frustrated, and I think a little depressed. So, on one of those evenings when I was feeling particularly low, I decided to go to a recording session was held by Stanley Brown. Stanley is a Grammy-Nominated Producer and Songwriter. He's worked with everyone from Dru Hill, Karen Clark-Sheard, Shirley Caesar, some of the biggest gospel names in the business. And I went to the studio and I came in the door and Stanley said, "Nneka, I have this track, this chorus. "You are not gonna believe it, you're gonna love it." So he starts singing the chorus. ♪ I'm nothing without you ♪ ♪ I'm nothing without you ♪ ♪ I realize I'm nothing without you ♪ And I said, "I like that." Now Stanley and I had had a long conversation about me recording a gospel song for my project. I wanted to pay homage to my roots. And so, this was the opportunity. So right then and there we thought about the business of writing this song. It took us about an hour and then I jumped right in the booth and recorded. Immediately after I finished the song, I felt this weight lift off of me. There was just this peace, this calm that I hadn't had in such a long time. I've been struggling with anxiety and frustration because of everything that was going on. And I was just lost. And in that moment, I felt like, I reconnected to my faith. And I said, "You know, I'm just gonna put in God's hands. "Because what is for me, is for me, "and no one can take that from me." I left that studio in a very good place. Fast forward a week. And Stanley comes to me again, he's like, "Nneka, you will not believe this." I'm like, "What's going on?" He said, "Karen Clark-Sheard heard 'Nothing Without You'. "And she loves it. "And she wants to record it." What? I just couldn't believe what he was saying. Karen Clark-Sheard is one of the Clark sisters and they are gospel institution. And Karen herself, I'm telling you, this woman's voice is anointed. So the idea that she was going to be singing "Nothing Without You" was amazing. But then he said, "No. She's also going to do it as a duet with Faith Evans." And I just lost it. I didn't know what to say. I was shocked. And so, when the finished product of these two Titans singing the song that I helped write came out, I just was floored. And I had no words for this amazing moment in my life. That was only surpassed by the evening, I found myself at the Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards. And out walks Karen Clark-Sheard and Faith Evans. And they start singing "Nothing Without You. What? I'm in the audience freaking out. I've heard, I'm turning around to the people that are sitting next to me and I'm like, "Oh my God, I wrote this song. "I wrote this." And they're all patting me on the back and giving me these congratulations and all this stuff. And I'm sitting there just freaking out. Then, in that very moment. I was able to affirm everything that I knew to be true about myself. Yes, you are talented. Yes, you can be successful in this business. Yes, you have a gift to give to this world. And yes, you belong here.
Last Updated: September 10, 2021