The build up to the release of Bilal‘s official third album, Airtight’s Revenge has been non-stop for the artist. Currently on a hectic schedule, doing a slew of lives shows both in the States and Europe, with press interviews, Muphoric Sounds was able to get some face time with Bilal. Meeting at L.A. Burdick in the Flatiron District of Manhattan, in a cool environment furnished with delicious chocolate coffee, we spoke at great length about his career, overcoming misfortunes, his clear passion in music, and his forth-coming release, Airtight’s Revenge. His integrity as an artist is unmistakeable and so refreshing. Check out the interview below. [Note: this was supposed to be a video interview, but due to technical difficulties, we had to run it as a Q&A. Big thanks to CochraneImage, for taking such great shots!]
Also, after reading the Q&A below, there’s a lovely download from Miguel Atwood-Ferguson Ensemble, where they do a rendition of Donny Hathaway‘s “Someday We’ll All Be Free” featuring Bilal on vocals.
Airtight’s Revenge hits stores September 14th and can be pre-ordered here. Get one for yourself and a friend!
Muphoric Sounds: Who is Bilal?
Bilal: I’m a musician. I make music from the day that I experience and see and use my music as a platform.
MS: When your career started it was rumored that Erykah Badu was responsible for discovering you. Who were the people that helped start of your career?
Bilal: I kind of met Amir [Questlove] first. But I was also supposed to do a tune with Q-Tip. I met everyone around the same time when I moved here [New York] from Philadelphia. And I also started to work with one of the Mtume brothers, James Mtume.
MS: If you were to look back at your career as a musician, what are the most significant lessons learned?
Bilal: I’ve learned a lot of things. The main lesson, I would say, is being true to myself to making music from an honest place.
MS: The Soul Aquarium Movement. What happened to them?
Bilal: Oh, big question man! Initially, it started off as photo that took showed musicians that always worked together and it appeared in Vibe Magazine. Somebody told me that we were supposed to do an album together but it never happened. We’re all still in contact today. I did a show with Erykah the other day. I talk to Amir all the time. We just did a show at Highline Ballroom recently. Q-Tip, I just did a show with him two days ago. Common, we talk all the time.
MS: You’ve collaborated with a lot of great artists in the past – both mainstream and independent. Who would you like to work with next, who you haven’t worked with before?
Bilal: There’s a lot of cats I want to work with. I would love to do something with Thom York.