Watch: Bilal’s Musicians at Google interview and acoustic performance
A few short months ago, I was gearing up for Bilal’s album release and it’s here! During my blogging hiatus, he blessed us his third studio album, A Love Surreal, which immediately soared to the top of the top of the Itunes R&B/Soul album charts. Three cheers for folks supporting real music.
I have been super impressed with the wide variety of promotion the album has received so far, which can likely be attributed to a change in record labels. His team is working it! As an online professional
who would kill to be on Bilal’s online marketing team, I was also extremely excited to see that his official website is finally complete and his social presence is expanding. [Get all the links on his blog.] It’s been a long time coming!
The latest promotional effort for the album, Musicians at Google, was released today. He joins artists like Raphael Saadiq, Eric Roberson, and Lady GaGa in being featured on this series. Very good company. Filmed a month before A Love Surreal was released, the showcase began with an interview, one that had its moments. However, where he really came alive was during the intimate acoustic performances of “Back to Love,” “Longing and Waiting” and “Never Be The Same” from A Love Surreal and “All Matter” from Airtight’s Revenge. It’s definitely worth taking a look at, even if your ADD causes you to have to just skip ahead to the performances.
As for my thoughts on A Love Surreal: I listened to it three times before it was officially released thanks to the First Listen series on NPR. I didn’t fall in love with the entire album from the time I pressed play. Although I have stanned for Bilal since before the term existed, I can admit that. There were certain songs like “Slipping Away,” “Never Be The Same,” “Longing and Waiting,” and “Butterfly” that drew me in right away. Others it will take more time. Seeing them come alive on stage in a couple of weeks will surely have me listening to the album with new ears. Watching some of the performances that have popped up on YouTube have already done just that.
One thing that immediately struck me about the album is the live instrumentation. It’s simply breathtaking. Unfortunately, it’s a rarity to hear real instruments on albums today. You will find them here. I appreciated hearing about the process of making this album on the two-part (very well done) video series, Welcome To A Love Surreal [Watch Part 1 and Part 2]. Bilal breaks down everything from where he goes to write, what inspires his creative process, the evolution and maturation of his writing, and working with King and Robert Glasper, the only two guests on the album. He also shares how he likes to record by the beach because it calms him. Me too! Twinsies!
Listening to Bilal talking about the road to the making of this album, which was originally supposed to be just a five song EP, enhanced my appreciation for his growth as an artist. Although the long lost Love for Sale remains my favorite, I am more than willing to let him move on. Bilal is at the top of his game and is hands down one of the most gifted vocalists making music today. I may not like every song he releases but as long as he stays true to his art and takes care of that voice, he will have my eternal support!