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After a decade in the spotlight highlighted by two JUNO® Award nominations, multiplatinum success, tens of millions of streams, and sold out shows, a period of reflection gave rise to Bobby Bazini’s 2020 fourth full-length album, Move Away [Universal Music Canada]. At a time when most are questioning the road previously travelled, the Quebec singer songwriter has been taking stock of his journey thus far and the growth he has experienced both personally and artistically whilst keeping one eye on the road ahead. Throughout this process, he was challenged to evolve and in doing so has delivered an endearing and emotionally charged body of work cognizant of where he came from whilst pointed towards a brighter future.
“I was reflecting on the past ten years,” he admits. “So much has happened. When I started, I was 19-years-old and didn’t have a career or a steady relationship. It’s now exactly ten years that I’ve been an artist and also been with my girlfriend. The two almost began simultaneously. That was a crazy decade. At that time I remember how restless I could become with moving my career outside my home province, instead of enjoying all the incredible things that were happening on my front doorstep. Today I look back and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m here, doing what I love to do with my significant other by my side. With each album, I know I go a little further and Move Away is that next step.”
In 2010, a teenage Bobby introduced himself with the breakout full-length debut Better In Time. Not only did the album bow at #4 on the Top Albums Chart in Canada and eventually go platinum, but it yielded two 2011 JUNO® Award nominations, including “Pop Album of the Year” and “New Artist of the Year.” Meanwhile, the follow-up Where I Belong debuted at #1, went platinum, and emerged as “the best-selling Canadian album of 2014” as he made an unforgettable appearance at Montreal International Jazz Festival in celebration. Most recently, he arrived at a new creative plateau on Summer Is Gone in 2016. It captured #2 on the Top Albums Chart, and “C’est La Vie” clocked over 10 million total streams and counting. Following a tour in support of the record, he booked a writing trip to London.
However, before diving back into music, he also took a much-deserved break in the form of an Italian sojourn...
“I was done touring, and I had a couple of months off for the first time in a very very long time,” he recalls. “My girlfriend and I were celebrating ten years together and we had always wanted to go to Italy, so we did for a few weeks. C’est La Vie’ opened some doors for me and gave me new opportunities, I now felt like I had something to say. When I came back from that trip, I wrote 15 songs, five of which ended up on the final track-listing. They are some of my most personal to date, Move Away definitely follows a more personal theme than my previous albums.”
Initially working in London, Berlin, and Montreal with producer and co-writer Pedro Vito, he tapped into an unbridled energy and achieved a “more raw and modern sound” which also led him to pen 60 initial ideas (double what he wrote for Summer Is Gone). Bobby often recorded the base of each tune immediately, building on the demos and preserving their spirit. At the same time, he also pushed himself vocally by singing in a lower register.
“I’ve always sung in a higher register,” he goes on. “Singing and belting it out is my comfort zone. Pedro and I wrote songs that were a little lower though. The songs are much more focussed around the lyrics and having a different approach vocally was so important to highlight exactly this. I drew a lot of inspiration from Leonard Cohen and his delivery of lyrics and the story he is telling.”
The title track “Move Away” illuminates his evolution. A static beat and vibrant guitar charge ahead towards a sweeping chorus punctuated by shimmering piano and that deep vocal.
“It’s one of the first songs I wrote, and it’s one of the most important,” he reveals. “Growing up, I had so many dreams about moving away, learning English, and travelling. I come from a small town and never really travelled much... I went to Montreal for the first time in my early teens, and ever since I’ve had this burning desire to leave and see the world. This song was written as a conversation about moving away. It takes me back to just when I was trying to find a new sound and a different direction. ‘Move Away’ was the first step on that road.”
Meanwhile, the soulful single “Choose You” slides from a bluesy riff towards a hypnotic hook, “I will always choose you.” Written in Los Angeles, it speaks to the overall theme. “I’m talking about our love over the past ten years,” he goes on. “This decade was special and I would choose todo it exactly the same again.”
Elsewhere on the record, he teams up with Irish star Imelda May for “Mercy” based on “a beat she played on her makeup brush” and strings maestro Davide Rossi (Coldplay, Alicia Keys...) who brings an even further expanse to the album.
In the end, Bobby doesn’t just move away, he moves forward.
“I hope people are inspired and moved by these stories,” he leaves off. “In order to get a person’s attention, you need to make them feel something—whether it’s making them cry or making them feel good. This album has a lot of that. I believe this sentiment to be even more important in current times than ever.