If you were anywhere near Snapchat on Valentine’s Day, you probably heard Bazzi’s romantic record “Mine,” paired with endless filters and heart-eyed emojis. Two years ago, the R&B crooner burst into the public arena with his social media presence, doing Vine impressions and YouTube covers. Since them he's been working hard to establish himself as a credible artist on the back of his undeniable ability and now, he celebrates the release of his debut album, Cosmic.
Bazzi’s rise to superstardom is not conventional, to say the least. From singing a Bruno Mars song at a talent show in grade school to now preparing for his second of two sold-out shows at El Rey, Andrew Bazzi (his real name) proves dreams do come true, if you work hard and never let up.
L.A. WEEKLY: For those who don’t know, who is Bazzi?
BAZZI: Bazzi is a NYC-born, Detroit-raised singer-songwriter-producer who currently lives in Los Angeles, California — who loves making honest real music and is obsessed with being creative and delivering any form of emotion through art I possibly can.
How would you describe your sound?
My sound is a mix between pop, hip-hop and R&B. It’s a good collaborative effort of all three.
How does being raised in Michigan play into your life and career?
A lot of my career is mental and I just have so much perspective from being raised in a city like Detroit and being able to come and live the life that I do now. To see that broad of a spectrum is really helpful for relating to people and feeling them.
How important is it to come to L.A. as an up and-coming artist?
I think it’s very important. It’s kind of like America on the scale of the world, like if it’s popping in America, it’s popping everywhere else. If it’s popping in L.A., people eventually catch on to it, too.
I absolutely love your debut album, Cosmic. What do you want fans to get from your story?
I just want to show people how much I’m like them, and hopefully that can inspire people to do something. And just know that someone who shares such a similar approach and such a similar perspective on life can do something extraordinary. It doesn’t take an extraordinary person, but just someone who believes that they can be extraordinary. I just wanna give my fans something they can relate to and find a home and comfort in. That’s what Cosmic is.
Your “Beautiful” music video is currently at over 9.2 million views on YouTube. Did you foresee it blowing up like this?
I don’t know, kind of. [laughs]
How’d it feel seeing “Mine” go No. 1?
It’s a good feeling, definitely a good feeling. You make music hoping people hear it, so it’s cool that they did.
I loved reading how millions used the record on Snapchat on Valentine's Day. How important is social media for your career?
It’s definitely really important. It’s a platform where people can spread things and if the content is good and great, then it has viral potential on a platform. I think that’s really important.
What can fans expect from one of your Los Angeles show?
A lot of energy! If they’re a Bazzi fan, then I’m playing all their favorite songs. It’s a good time.
How does it feel selling out two nights at one of L.A.’s most popular venues, El Rey?
It feels cool. It feels really good. I’m excited to get out there.
You mentioned Justin Timberlake is one of your biggest influences. What are you most excited for ahead of joining him on the European leg of his Man of the Woods tour?
Hopefully just getting to sit down and talk to him and learn from him. I’ve admired how he’s handled his career and his music and his creativity as a whole. I’d love to just sit and talk with him, and get to learn from one of the greats.
What’s been the hardest thing as you continue to rise to superstardom?
[Yawns] The hardest thing is staying awake, honestly. Finding time to sleep and getting that personal time to just relax and get straight.
What’s been the best thing?
I think the best thing is having a voice and being able to give people a different perspective and a different opinion, and voice my emotions and how I feel. To be heard by people, it feels good.
What did you do with your first advance?
I bought a lot of clothes. I’m always buying a lot of clothes.
You were born to a Lebanese immigrant father and American mother. How are they reacting to your success?
Both of them are so proud of me. My dad is definitely very, very proud, instilling so much belief and value in me at such a young age. To see this happen from someone who supported me my whole life to do music, he’s so excited.
Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
Either Prince or Michael Jackson, for sure. One of the two.
I’d like to produce something with Kanye. Like my production plus his, I think he’d make something really cool.
Not even vocals? Just production?
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Yeah, I’d write my own stuff. But I’d let him catch a beat with me.
What advice do you have for an aspiring Bazzi?
I’d say my best piece of advice is confidence. Find your worth and your value in yourself. Don’t try to live up to other people’s expectations because even if you fulfill them, you’re still gonna be left feeling lonely. To be an artist, you need to be really confident in who you are and what you’re doing. A lot of it stems from you.
Bazzi plays at 8 p.m. on Friday, July 13, at the El Rey Theatre.