Interview: Bobby Bazini
Wed, 27 Aug 2014 09:34:44
Bobby Bazini has already taken Canada by storm, becoming one of the country’s most important young acts. Now, he’s its hottest export. His new album Where I Belong features an impressive and dynamic soulful vocal delivery and sharp, smart songwriting. It’s instantly unforgettable, and it belongs in your collection.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Bobby Bazini talks Where I Belong and so much more.
What ties Where I Belong together for you?
I wanted to explore the old sound that I was very influenced by like Johnny Cash, Al Green, Bob Dylan, and Otis Redding growing up. That was the music I was listening to. My goal was to use all of these influences and try to make my own sound. I wrote all of these songs at my place back in Canada. It took me a couple of years. We tried to find the right producer for it. Larry Klein was the perfect match. I was very happy he was able to put together these incredible musicians. We have Booker T. Jones who played with Otis Redding. We have Jack Ashford who is a Motown percussionist and a couple of other guys who actually played with my heroes. It was a fantastic recording experience.
Is it important for you to paint pictures with the songs?
It is. For some songs, I have my own idea of what I want to talk about. It's different for each one. Sometimes, the melody comes first, and I have to find the right lyrics for it. I need something to talk about, and it's always been like that. I've traveled across the country and the U.S. I've tried to live some new things and get vibes and experiences. It's important for me to have a good story to tell. The main theme of the album is love. That's important to me, but it's also something people can relate to.
What's the story behind "Wish You Were Here"?
It's funny because "Take Me Home" took me two years to write. "Wish You Were Here" came up in like five minutes. It's weird because some songs happen like that. We had two days left in the session in Los Angeles. I came back from a session pretty late, and I hadn't touched a guitar to just write in a little while. So, I wrote it at my apartment in Santa Monica. I recorded it on my iPhone and sent it to Larry. He said, "Yeah, let's record it tomorrow". I felt like I needed to put it on the album. It fit the sound and vibe of the album exactly.
Where did it come from lyrically?
I actually wrote it for my girlfriend. She has her own ideas of what it is. It could be for anything. It could be for someone who lost a person. I was far away from home for a while. I was missing my people. I guess anyone can relate to it, and that's what I like.
What about "Cold Cold Heart"?
It was written a couple of years ago. It was one of the new songs. From the minute I wrote it, I knew I had to put it on the record. It had that sound I was looking for. It's incredible how the song changed over the years and became what it is. When we recorded it, I said, "Yes, this is what I wanted for the song and sound". We did it in a couple of takes. We didn't spend too much time on it or want to overthink it. That was what we did for most of the songs on the record. That's what I liked about the recording experience with Larry. We used to meet up in the morning with Larry at the studio, sit down, play the song acoustically, the musicians would listen to it, we'd go in the other room, and we'd play whatever would come out. I liked that because musicians could come up with their own ideas and create things. There was a lot of spontaneity in the musicians' playing.
What artists shaped you?
Growing up, my dad and mom would listen to a lot of American country music. At age 15, my parents separated. I went to live with my grandmother. She was a huge fan of Johnny Cash, and she introduced me to his music. From that point, I started picking up his tunes and discovering other musicians from that time like Otis Redding, Bob Dylan, and all of the others. I started writing my own material at that point. Music helped me process my feelings. It's still the same thing to this day. At some point, I had a couple of songs and decided to perform at a local festival in my hometown. I got discovered during my first public performance. Then, everything went pretty quickly.
Have you heard Bobby Bazini?