You might remember catching Olu Bliss on Milk Crater a little while back. My jaw dropped through the floor on first listen. MC named his track one of our favorite new tunes early in the year. That feeling of awe has stuck with me over the last couple of months and his EP Traveling Bliss has been on heavy rotation in my tiny San Francisco apartment. I hope the neighbors love it as much as I do.
Olu was kind enough to take a few minutes to catch up with Milk Crater and treat us to a little inside scoop/interview.
MC: Your music has such a wonderful easy going vibe. I’ve been describing it to my friends as breezy soul. Does this match your personality?
Olu Bliss: Thanks man, one thing I love is a nice easy breeze and that vibe definitely matches my personality. Especially when I wrote and recorded this EP. A feeling of peace and tranquility was what I needed the most so I tried to transfer that on to the record as much as I could.
MC: If you could co-write a song with anyone, who would it be? What would the song be called?
Olu Bliss: This one’s easy, John Mayer! He is one of my favorite artists so it would definitely be someone I’d work with in a heartbeat. The song would be real introspective and transparent and will be titled something like …. “Ex with a manifest”….Random, I know!
MC: What’s the highest high you’ve ever hit musically?
Olu Bliss: Man! I’ve had a couple moments that were fairly surreal but the highest level was the moment I knew I was put on this earth to make people feel something beautiful through making music. When I was in college, I was in a Neo-soul group with some talented friends. We played a lot on & off campus and quickly grew a niche fan base around the college. By senior year we already had a decent following, so when it came time to do our last show as a group (because most of us were graduating) it was a very emotional show. At one point I looked up mid-song and watched as some of our closest friends, fans, supporters sang along to songs we created. It was at that moment where I felt a feeling of purpose. It was just like that scene in the movies when everything goes into slow motion and the camera pans to the right person by person. There are very few feelings that can beat that, it was overwhelming. At that very moment I knew creating music and making people feel was a big part of my purpose in life. All other moments though important and significant are secondary.
MC: How about the flip side of that. Have you experienced a lowest point musically? If so, what did you learn from that?
Olu Bliss: My lowest point musically would have to be last year! Which is odd because it was also when I recorded my EP. After a while I got some serious writers block, fell into a dark, depressed and uninspired place due to a break up accompanied by other gloriously untimely events. They say the greatest art is created from pain, but I had to feel it and deal with it before I could even create anything out of it. I did learn a lesson though, Everyone has felt these feelings, few like to talk about them, but as an artist it is my job to wear my heart on my sleeve and be vulnerable for those who need permission to feel. Music gives people permission to wear their hearts out in the open, if even for a moment!
MC: I saw you played a fantastic Sofar Sounds set. What was that like? How are grassroots pop up concerts changing the music for up and coming musicians?
Olu Bliss: I loved the Sofar show, such a good vibe in there. I enjoy pop up concerts because they give me a chance to really connect with people. It’s so intimate and you can easily make the audience part of the performance and have an experience that they had a hand in creating. I came up playing shows with a lot of indie bands in college so I’ve played house shows, park shows, basement jams , whatever! These grassroots concerts allow artists to give a tailored experience to fans and create their own audience.
MC: What’s next for you?
Olu Bliss: We just finished doing an In-studio release show which we live-streamed on Facebook: http://bit.ly/2lOOvy1
Now it’s all about getting on the road and doing shows. I have collaborations in the works with some pretty amazing producers, some who reached out after hearing the Traveling Bliss EP. So just working on more music, performing and keeping the momentum up.