Bilal: Artist You Should Know

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Anthony and Bilal
Anthony and Bilal (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

KCRW DJ Anthony Valadez

Recently, I got a sneak peak of Grammy-nominated singer Bilal recording his vocals for an upcoming EP in support of his full length entitled “Airtight’s Revenge,” which is set to be released on Plug Research.  We sat down and talked about his relationship with his label, his vision and what it was like to work with various legendary producers.

Take a listen to “All Matter,” which really showcases his wonderful vocal ability — this version is vibrant!

AV:   Was there a blueprint or concept before you hit record to begin the album?

Bilal:     A lot of the songs just came from just stuff I would write to pass time at the hotel. Just playing around, making certain things. Eventually they would build. Its one of those things where, in the middle of it, I realized I was making a project.  I had stopped creating for a minute and I would jam at home, writing for myself and songs really came together.

AV:  How does it feel to be among such a diverse roster on label Plug Research, with acts like Quadron, Sonnymoon, Shafiq and Daedelus?

Bilal:     It feels great. Everyone is on something totally different but it is all the same adventuristic quality. Everyone is searching and pushing.

AV:   What does artistic liberation mean to you?

Bilal:    To flow. To get into the flow of things is the best thing for me. To improvise.

AV:    You have been one of the few vocalists to have worked with Dr. Dre, Sa Ra Creative Partners and the late Jay Dee, do you ever take anything way from these studio sessions?

Bilal:    Hell Yeah! And I also learned a lot from working with them.  Everybody has their own distinctive way about how they do music. It’s really cool to kick back and watch. Especially form the musicianship standpoint. It’s really cool to watch and fun.