Soul and reggae singer Liam Bailey made his US debut in Austin, Texas at Okayplayer’s official South by Southwest showcase with DJ Lo Down Loretta AKA Erykah Badu. Producer Salaam Remi, who helped cultivate the sound of artists such as Amy Winehouse, Nas and The Fugees is the man behind Bailey’s debut album set for release in September on Sony Music’s label Flying Buddha. Heavily influenced by reggae, rock n’ roll and blues, Bailey wants to blend these genres naturally on the upcoming release. With his understated confidence and undeniably authentic soul it is not hard to predict Bailey’s success.
As one of LargeUp’s top artists to watch for 2014, Bailey sat down for an exclusive interview to talk about his new album project and the direction he sees himself going in, musically speaking. Get a taste with the excerpt below and click through to LargeUp for the full piece (with tuff photos by Kevin Ornelas).
“On the album I’ve just recorded [with Salaam], there are tinges of reggae, but no reggae riddims on there. I think for artists with any [Jamaican] heritage whatsoever, or just any inclinations to absorb Caribbean culture, the best thing we can do is implement it into other forms of music the same way you do with food, you know what I mean? So that’s why I’m not afraid to be picking up the guitar and playing a blues rhythm or a soul rhythm because at the end of the day, imagine listening to Otis Redding on the beach, Hellshire Beach in Kingston, know what I mean? It still works.
It’s just natural for me to have something else come out of me than the last time. I’m very much a British man, you know—there are many different aspects of our culture. There’s Caribbean, good old Britannia, and then there’s the influence of America—all comes through me. I don’t want to limit myself and I’m glad I’ve never had to consciously do that. Or consciously force myself to mix it up.”