Real music, real impact, real inspiration
David Goodson | 2/28/2013, 3:32 p.m.
When speaking to some cats about the music game, it's wise to take heed of the ones who know it's not a game. Music is quite serious.
"I think we need to have a certain level of excellence and understanding of music. I think that's why America's approach to music is [to follow] whatever the trend is, and then it's discarded for the next thing that's new. In other places in the world, people cultivate culture. I think that's a very important aspect of art in general," said singer-songwriter Bilal. Now that we're in Black History Month, it's only right that he go on to highlight the importance of Black music.
"We have a beautiful way of changing tragedy into inspiration. That's really been our song in American history. We've been able to manipulate art to make it heal, and that's inspired people in how they create art across the world."
So far his track record has indicated that he's not playing around. His discography alone would be strong enough to support his feelings. Listed as a featured artist on tracks from underground stalwarts like the Roots, Common, Talib, Guru, Jadakiss and Robert Glasper to royalty like Dr. Dre, Raphael Saadiq and the Carters (Beyonce and Jay-Z) is impressive. Now if you add his experience to the equation, then his musical opinions may qualify as expert commentary.
Bilal cut his teeth as a singer in the church and watched and learned about jazz with his father, who let him experience live music in clubs. Now frame that with scholarly training; he went to the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts and then went to the New School in New York. His enriched educational experiences serve as support for making art a mainstay in school curriculums. "With music, I got at a young age purpose and vision. I tapped into my creativity and used and expanded my mind."
Utilizing his energy, talent and hustle, Bilal took full advantage of what New York had to offer, and soon thereafter, he found himself on a major album with a debut album, "1st Born Second." Then along came the drama that can and has shut down the career of many an artist. For some reason, his second album, "Love for Sale," didn't impress the suits at his old label and was shelved indefinitely. Or so they thought.
The music got out and took on a life of its own. (Trust and believe me when I say that joint is the truth! But as a sidebar, search for the project called "The Dresden Soul Symphony," released Oct. 24, 2008. On that joint, the musicians reinterpret soul hits with classical music backdrops. The featured vocalists are Joy Denalane, Bilal, Dwele and Tweet, and it was conducted by Jun Mrkl.)
After that, his shows remained just as steady as before, and because of the increased catalog, they got stronger. As did his loyal fan base, which waited for nine years with baited breath for a new official project that was called "Airtight's Revenge." Album number three has come much sooner, and on Feb. 26, he dropped "A Love Surreal."