R&B singer Bilal stopped by to perform at The Park Unplugged last week. The singer chatted exclusively with Niteside about his love of music, working with "everyone" (yep, even Beyoncé), and making timeless music.
You're known for your unique sound -- neo-soul, jazz, R&B. What do you think makes it so different? What other artists would you consider similar to you?
I'd definitely consider artist like Janelle Monae, The Roots and Little Dragon as a part of my genre. I think they each have their own style. I think the sound of my music is an eclectic blend of lots of different genres. I think people are drawn to it because it is so different.
Do you remember the first time you fell in love with music?
I don't remember a time when I wasn't in love with music. I've been singing since I was three years old. As a kid I sang in the church choir and I haven't stopped since. It's always been natural for me; music is my life.
There are so many R&B, neo-soul and generally eclectic artists out there. What makes you stand out?
I think I have a different type of soul when it comes to singing. My approach is different and what I'm influence by is different as well. It's a combination of blues, jazz, hip-hop, classical, electronic and rock.
You've worked with some major players in the music industry. Is there anyone left you'd love to work with?
I've worked with so many people [that] at this point if you call out someone's name I've worked with them.
How about Beyoncé?
Yes, I've worked with her! There are some people who are untouchable, though, like Keith Jarrett. Now, I'd love to work with him, but I doubt he'd ever invite me.
You've built your own large following as an artist who isn't mainstream. What words of inspiration can you give to rising artist out there?
Be yourself at all times and maintain that.
What do you want to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered for making timeless music that people can still listen to in 3012.