Bobby Bazini’s breakout journey is well underway, and it will see him touch down in Cranbrook on Wednesday, March 22.
The songwriter, musician and singer from Mont Laurier, Quebec, has been making a big splash in Eastern Canada, with a style rooted in sounds like Marvin Gaye, whose voice Bazini’s is not unlike, and songwriters like Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. The Soul influence is strong, and Bazini makes it uniquely his own, so much that he attracted the notice of renowned Los Angeles producer Larry Klein, who recorded Bazini’s second album, 2014’s “Where I Belong,” in L.A.
“Summer is Gone,” Bazini’s third record, was released in November of last year.
The rising star hit the road with his band early last month and is weaving his way across the continent in the most intense tour he’s ever been on.
“We started in Ottawa and we go until early May,” Bazini told the Townsman in an interview earlier. “It’s really important to Western Canada and the U.S. to play. The songs have been getting a great response.”
While Bazini is out to claim a greater presence internationally this time around, there is already strong international component to his latest work. For “Summer is Gone,” he worked with songwriters who have worked with Adele, Ed Sheeran, One Direction and Amy Winehouse. The album was recorded and produced in London by Martin Terefe, who has worked with Shawn Mendes, James Blunt and James Morrison.
He feels his “Summer’s Gone,” is a strong followup to “Where I Belong” (which made him one of the top-selling Canadian artists of the past two years).
“It was a fun experience to record that (second) album, with all those musicians in L.A. But this one, I feel really strong about it — there’s some continuity [from the last album], with what I do. It was important for me to do something more contemporary, but still keeping the soul sound.
Bazini said that early on in the “Summer’s Gone” process, he wanted to do something completely different from the previous album. “And I think that’s what I got in the end. We wrote a lot of songs — about 30. Some of them are really, really different. 12 songs fit on the album.
“I thought early on that I wanted to work with Martin Terefe in London — he’s done some great collaborational albums in the past.”
“I’ve been really lucky with this album, working with great, talented writers, musicians and producers, from L.A. to London.”
Bazini has grown prolific as a songwriter — he has spent the past year working with Brendan Benson with The Raconteurs — a band that also includes prominent guitarist and songwriter Jack White. Bazini said that unfortunately, none of the songs are on the album, “but I had a great time working with Brendan.”
Bazini has a distinct attention-getting sound, both singing style and musical content. But he feels his musical voice — what he has to say and how he expresses it, is still evolving.
“That’s always what it is,” he said. “Finding who I am and how I want to sound. Maybe a few years from now I might want to sound like something else.
“After finishing an album, it’s always where do I go now. For the first few months after finishing an album, I always get — not writer’s block, but the feeling of where do I go now. So beginning a new album, of lot of it is experimenting, until the vision the vision for the new album, or the new project, becomes clear.
As he gets more prolific, as he gets more prominent, where does he get his inspiration for his writing?
“I get my inspiration from everywhere — a lot of it comes from observation,” he said. “This album — for some reason in the past the songs would not come as easily. It would take more time.
“When you write by yourself, there’s much more distraction. I’d write one verse, then it would take more time to finish the songs. But when you do co-writes, you’re there to write the song and finish it before the end of the session, before the end of the day. And you’re much more prolific, I find.
“If I think of the songs on the album now, I think we mostly started with melodies. We’d get in a session, pull out our guitars, sit at the piano or whatever, and we’d jam, and go from section to section.
“Whatever comes first, we write it, put down, record it, and keep going from there. Every writer has there own way of working, but I like doing that a lot. When I’m by myself, it’s often words first. I’ll be on the plane, or whatever, writing words, and I’ll try to make them work with melody.”
If Bazini’s still finding his voice, so rooted in Soul and Country, his voice is becoming uniquely his.
“The first album came really fast. I was younger — 19. We literally just recorded the songs that I had. I had 11 songs. And those are the songs we recorded — and one that came during recording. But those 12 songs on the album were the only ones I had. The second one was a lot of travelling. I was trying to find where I belong, trying to find the right sound for a new album. And looking back now, I find it was very close to my influences. On this one, I wanted to sound like me. I wanted to make an album using everything I learned in the past.”
Expect a great show Wednesday at the Key City Theatre. Bazini is bringing a seven-piece band (including himself), featuring keyboards, guitar players, backing vocalists, bass and drums. Bazini says everything on the new album will be covered, some of his hits from previously, and maybe even some exciting new material showcase.
Showtime is 7:30 p.m.