Bruno Major aims for the stars
Every creative professional can appreciate the value of a good deadline. But few are as disciplined as London-based musician Bruno Major, who in August 2016 vowed to write, record, and release one song every month for a year.
The resultant album, “A Song for Every Moon,” is a polished, poignant collection of jazz-inflected R&B numbers, held together by Major’s heart-rending vocals and splitting the musical difference between Sam Smith and James Blake. Its unconventional rollout — boosted by Major’s success in landing select tracks on some of Spotify’s most listened-to playlists — sent the musician’s stock skyrocketing and afforded him an unexpectedly massive fanbase spread across the globe.
As Major supports the disc with a sold-out US tour, including a stop at Great Scott Friday, the 29-year-old breakout answered some questions by phone about his newfound fame and sonic stylings.
Q. How’s the tour been?
A. It’s been pretty crazy, dude. Just a bunch of sold-out shows, and covering maybe 2,000 miles in about a week. It’s been amazing. It’s like you’re just on an escalator, and things are moving; they just keep happening. . . . Going on James Corden, on “The Late Late Show” [on Feb. 22], that was a big deal for me, my first TV performance. It was one of those things that didn’t quite feel real.
Q. Let’s talk about your yearlong project. Was it difficult to decide what song to put out each month?
A. I thought it was going to be a lot harder than it was to choose, but it became so obvious, like, “It’s got to be this one, or it’s got to be this one.” Or like, I would just write a song at the beginning of the month and be like, “Yeah, this is the one that’s coming out now.” I had enough songs that were already written that I wasn’t panicking, because if I didn’t write anything I could still fall back on putting out something I’d already written. That took the pressure off a little bit. But the whole process was very inspiring, knowing you have to put something out at the end of every month. And instead of the pressure being too much, it really inspired me to be more creative.
Q. One compliment critics regularly give you is that the music has an authenticity to it, even when you’re channeling different genres. What do you make of that?
A. I’m glad you picked up on that, because that’s something I feel. There’s always a vibe — like maybe it’s tropical house or maybe it’s downtempo, post-James Blake electronica, or whatever it is — that’s going on, and you always get people making music that sounds like that. And the thing that blows my mind is that so much of the music you hear on the radio is quite sad, about heartache and pain, and then you meet the people who are making that music, and you’re like, “You’re not really that sad. You’re actually quite happy.” And I think that means that people are making music that isn’t honest and doesn’t reflect how they feel; or else, there are just loads of really secretly sad people walking around. Either of those situations are quite tragic. I’m quite a happy, warm person, and I want to have people listen to my music and feel like they’re getting a warm hug.
Q. In both title and cover design, your album evokes astrology. Are you someone who consults their birth chart every day?
A. If I’m being totally honest, I don’t believe in astrology at all. I think it’s really silly. [laughs] On a larger scale, I feel the same way about it as I do religion; I don’t deny the likeliness of a higher consciousness and a higher power, and in the same way, I don’t deny that we are profoundly affected by the cosmos on an everyday level, because we are all part of the cosmos. We are literally stardust. But the organized form of religion that others subscribe to, and astrology in terms of the 12 star signs and the entire population of Earth being split up into 12 categories — it’s so stupid. I do think they are both beautiful, as fictional creations, in the same way that the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy is. I love religious iconography, and I actually wear a Saint Christopher around my neck. But the reason I did “A Song for Every Moon” was because on an astronomical level, releasing a song every month, that’s not an arbitrary time period. It’s the time it takes the moon to orbit the Earth.
Q. For many Globe readers, this article will serve as an introduction. What would you say about your music to those who haven’t heard it?
A. I hope it’s honest music. And I hope people find interest in its lyrical and musical content in equal measure. That’s really my biggest hope. When you make art and you release it, it isn’t really yours anymore, and it becomes possible for people to assign meaning to it themselves. I can write a song that means something to me, and then someone else will find a totally different meaning in it, and that meaning can be equally profound, if not moreso. A song is a beautiful thing.