There are still a few artists left in the industry who don’t like to get easy popularity by recording catchy yet soulless records about sex, booze, drugs or twerking but create quality music, tell honest and relatable stories through their songs and evoke positive feelings from their listeners. Canada’s Bobby Bazini is one of them. We recently reviewed “Heavy Love”, his very first U.S single - which we by the way loved a lot - and now we've had the privilege of interviewing the folk-soul singer himself.
Bobby is no unknown name in his home-country of Canada, in fact he has released two studio albums already there and they both have gone platinum. His latest; “Where I Belong” debuted at #1 on the Canadian Album Charts this Spring of 2014. In view of this impressive chart success, Capitol Records gave Mr. Bazini a ring earlier this year to get to sign him. Sign him they did, and this summer the 25-year-old singer from Quebec officially released “Where I Belong” in the USA.
“Where I Belong” is must-purchase to everyone who say they love “good music” and even if you think you're not into "folk-soul" music just hear one of my favourite tracks on the album "Bubblegum" and I bet you'll immediately change your mind.
During the candid exclusive interview Directlyrics.com had with Bobby Bazini we discussed about his beginnings, finding overnight success in Canada, his signature sound, being nominated for Juno Awards, his thoughts on fellow Canadian Justin Bieber or his future projects. Don't miss this!!!
When did you know singing was meant to be your career?
In my teens, I wanted to be an actor. I wanted to go to Hollywood and be famous. When my parents divorced, I turned my attention towards music to help express my feelings. I went to live with my grandmother and she introduced me to Johnny Cash, and that’s when I knew I wanted to sing. Music has always been present in my life and in my surroundings. Growing up, there was a lot of music in the house, my parents were big country music fans. My dad played guitar and both my parents sang so it was easier for me to go towards music, but I like to think that music came to me.
You blend folk and soul in your songs. How did you come up with your signature sound?
I can never focus on doing one thing because I like to many genres of music. I have many influences: Soul, Motown, Blues, Folk, Country and Jazz so because of that it’s hard to categorize my sound, but I think that's what makes who I am, and distinguishes me.
You released your debut album “Better in Time” in 2010 when you were only 20 years old. Warner was your label back then. How did you get discovered/signed to Warner?
At the time I was signed to an indie label in Montreal, and following the album's great response in Québec, Warner France quickly picked up the rights for Europe and released the album in 30 Countries. It was pretty crazy for me at the time, everything happened very fast.
“Better in Time” was certified platinum. How did it feel to have a platinum-certified DEBUT album. Unexpected?
Yes, it was quite the surprise! I mean, we were all hoping that it would work out, but I didn’t think it would happen so fast. So yes, it was unexpected.
Your second album “Where I Belong” (almost platinum!) was released earlier this year in Canada. You're now part of Universal. Why did Bobby Bazini fans have to wait four years to get new music (they were certainly hungry for new music!) and why the change from Warner to Universal Canada?
The reason why it took four years to release the second album is because 2010 and 2011 were pretty crazy for me. I was touring and promoting the album in Canada and in Europe, then the Juno nominations, then back on the road. It was very intense. In 2012 I decided to step away from the spotlight for a year, I bought a condo and got a dog, I just relaxed for a bit, and took all the time that I needed to finish the songs/ideas that I had started when I was out on the road. Universal Music Canada bought the worldwide rights early 2013, and from then, we started looking for a producer. I met Larry Klein in April 2013. The recording sessions started in September of that same year, and lasted for about two months. I took a break for Christmas holidays, and we released the album in May in Canada, which just officially went Platinum last week!
You have been nominated for a few Juno Awards in the past. Specifically in 2011 “Better in Time” was nominated for “Pop Album of the Year”. Justin Bieber’s “My World 2.0” ultimately won. We’ve heard your album and Justin’s album. If you could read our mind, you’d know who we thought should've won! Did it feel unfair to you? True the category was “Pop”, but the QUALITY was certainly on your side! Have love for Justin as a fellow Canadian, though?
Well, I mean, I don’t hate him, but to be honest, his music isn’t really my thing, as you can imagine, but I think he’s talented regardless, and it’s great that we have such a big star in Canada.
You recently signed with Capitol Records in the US to bring “Where I Belong” to America (you dropped the album here a couple of months ago). How did it feel to have a US label interested in you? Remember the call? Did you give Capitol a quick and easy YES?
I’ve been wanting to bring my music to the U.S. for a very long time, and when the opportunity presented itself with Capitol Records, I didn’t hesitate!
The tracklist on the US version is exactly the same as the Canadian one. Did you hope to include new tracks on the US version? Were the 13 songs on “Where I Belong” the only songs you recorded during the album’s studio sessions?
We recorded 13 songs at the Village in total. Unfortunately, one of them didn’t make the album, and ‘To Love Somebody’, which was not part of that recording session, was added as the Bonus Track. It was recorded in Canada with a fellow Canadian Serena Ryder. We were both approached to do a song for a french movie in Québec. Later on we released the song on the radio and it got good feedback so I decided to put it on the album.
That being said, I know is soon to ask. But are you already working on ideas for your next album? A tentative release time maybe?
Yes, I’m constantly writing new ideas. I’m glad because I started early, I just literally never stopped writing since we finished recording the second album. So I already have a couple songs that are almost finished and I’m starting to have a clear idea of where I want to go with the next one. I’m always excited with getting back in the studio and working on new songs with the musicians. I think it’s what I like the most about being an artist.
Our favourite song on “Where I Belong” is “Bubblegum”. Tell us the story behind this song.
It’s one of my favourite too! I call it the ‘’baby making’’ track of the album. It’s literally a sex song. It was inspired by the old Motown records. It’s always a lot of fun to sing live, especially the first time you play it to someone, and you see the smile on their face. It’s a very groove tune.
What are Bobby Bazini’s Top 5 songs of the moment?
1. Colour Me In by Damien Rice
2. I Forget Where We Were by Ben Howard
3. I’m A Mess by Ed Sheeran
4. Kansas City by The New Basement Tapes
5. A Sky Full Of Stars by Coldplay
Do you see any difference between American and Canadian crowds in concerts?
I think it’s pretty similar. I haven’t played the big venues in America yet, but I’ll probably be able to say then.
What’s your favourite Canadian artist besides Bobby Bazini?
Half Moon Run, they’re based in Montreal. They’re super talented. I’ve only discovered them recently and their first album ‘Dark Eyes’ literally just blew my mind.
If you could collaborate with any artist right now to record a brand new song together. Who would it be, why and how do you imagine your song to sound like?
John Mayer, I just really like what he does. I discovered him with the ‘Continuum’ album at the time, and that album is in my top ten all time favourite albums. I think it’d be cool if we could collabore together, he always comes up with a cool guitar riff that always sounds catchy and original. I’m sure we could make something great together.
Best of luck with everything, Bobby! Any last thing you’d like to share with our Directlyrics.com readers?
We are working hard to get me another tour in the U.S next year. I am very eager to going back to the U.S.
For news and updates, make sure to check me out on twitter: @bobbybazini and on Facebook: facebook.com/bobbybaziniofficial or on my website bobbybazini.com
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