Preview: Summer Sundae, De Montfort Hall, Leicester

Sweet success for a gentle songwriter
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The Independent Culture

Now in its sixth year, the line-up for the Summer Sundae music festival features Belle and Sebastian, Martha Wainwright, Richard Hawley, Isobel Campbell, Elbow, Jose Gonzalez, Calexico and The Young Knives. The singer-songwriter James Morrison, 25, whose debut album Undiscovered entered the albums charts at No 1 this week, is also playing on the main stage this year.

Having had a sudden career turnaround since the release of his first single, "You Give Me Something", in mid-July, Morrison is still pinching himself to check that he is not dreaming. "I am shocked that my album has entered the album charts at one," Morrison says. "Six weeks ago nobody really knew who I was. Now everybody is singing along to my songs. I walk down the street and people recognise me. Out of the context of a gig, that is quite scary."

The 25-year-old, who is originally from Rugby, had a string of odd jobs before stardom arrived, including, he recalls, "pot washing, van washing, caravan washing, even being a chambermaid.". He began his career a decade ago busking in Newquay, Cornwall, during the summer months, but it was after touring in April with Corinne Bailey Rae that he began to get noticed. "I began to get lots of My Space messages."

Describing his own music as "soulful folkie pop", Morrison acknowledges Van Morrison, Michael Jackson, and Stevie Wonder as influences. He'll be playing his next single, "Wonderful World", at Summer Sundae. "It is based on a guy getting on a bus who was drunk and hugging everybody," he says. "He was obviously offending a lot of people - I ended up giving him a hug. I felt saddened for him being on the outside and not having the opportunity to get back in."

Morrison loves the festival circuit. "A gig is an enclosed world whereas a festival is more relaxed," he says. "People can wander around rather than get stuck in a venue. And as you can camp in tents at Summer Sundae, you are really living it."

11 to 13 August ( www.summersundae.com)

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