FUSICOLOGY: You’ve had a big year touring and a packed schedule across the US all fall and all over the world – how has it been touring so much again for you?
BILAL: It’s been good, I really love to travel and perform whenever I can do that I feel like I am living out the dream, ya dig? It’s cool. I miss my family sometimes and my kids are getting big but I love it.
FUSICOLOGY: Being a Grammy Award winner and having such a massive year following the win with Kendrick Lamar, how do you feel about where you are at in your career right now?
BILAL: I feel optimistic about the future and the things that I can accomplish – having a Grammy, no matter how you get it, brings about a whole new level of success. It’s been pretty good, inspiring and I have been able to do certain things – like this past fall, being able to play with full orchestra in Miami which a conductor doing classical arrangements of 5 of my songs. Incredible.
FUSICOLOGY: Which other artists do you want to work with?
BILAL: Stevie Wonder (last grace that is still here), Flying Lotus – and I just want to work with everybody that I worked with again (chuckles) I have worked with so many damn people, shucks! This past year I worked with Karriem Riggins on the new Common album and sang on a few of the joints and did some writing – just like old times.
FUSICOLOGY: What are your plans for your next album?
BILAL: Right now I am in the infancy stages of recording – I am doing a lot of meditating, fasting and detoxing in preparation. With any record I challenge myself to be as truthful and as honest as I can with myself – not only do stuff that is just going just to bring about a loving feeling in the people but I gotta be provocative and bring about and talk about certain things people don’t want to think / talk about – I can’t wait to get in there.
In the beginning I write down all the ideas that I want to say, just little shapes and stuff – once I get into the studio for a long period of time then I can officially say that I started. I travel with my guitar, got LOGIC on my computer like I always do and I put my little ideas down until that time that I can get into the studio.
FUSICOLOGY: There is a lot going on obviously in the world, a lot of things are being unveiled and some of the truths are being shown to us – as a conscious artist how do you feel about the cross-section of music, art and politics yourself?
BILAL: We’re in a cool place to change things, people want change but I think it will be a dark day before we get there – we got a long way to go. I think right now, the way things are going, it’s forcing everyone to talk about it – a lot of things that is going on with the police, things that are going on in the world with America trying to police to police shit, the economy of London going down – there is a change of the guard.
I feel that right now a lot of the secrets that people have been trying to keep secret are all going to start coming out and I feel like it is up to the artists of today to really speak about it it and make sure that everyone is aware. It is a good time for artists, whenever the world is in some time of challenge and change, it is good time for artists that see themselves as the reporters for the underdogs if you will. A good time for creativity.
– good time for creativity
FUSICOLOGY: The State of the Music Industry – we’re long overdue in making changes in the recording aspect of it – how do you feel about the present state of things?
BILAL: Right now the music industry in the middle of such a big change. Labels aren’t as powerful as they used to be. When I first came into the industry labels used to be King, now cats are really taking the power out of the labels, going to battle with the labels. Sponsors are taking over the old role and concept of the labels and hiring outside promotion. teams.
I am sitting back and watching, navigating so that know what the next steps are from me – you wake up and another game changer happens. I am really just trying to study what is going on while I am in the process of starting something new. There is not a process or one way to do anything anymore.
SPECIAL THANKS: Hans Elder
Bilal Interviewed by: Asya Shein of Fusicology