Bruno Major: ‘I Want to Connect With People in a Different Way’
The rising British R&B/pop artist talks about his new album ‘To Let a Good Thing Die’ and the time he was in India as a session player
On his second album, British singer-songwriter Bruno Major sees love through a lens that’s not always prevalent in pop music. To Let a Good Thing Die, released on June 5th, comes across as a calm dismantling of all the ridiculousness of “true love,” as narrated by Major at his wizened best.
He says over a call from London, “Love songs are usually so grandiose.” He immediately cites Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years” and even Shakespeare’s sonnet “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?” But he adds, “I think love a lot of the time in real life isn’t grandiose. Most of the time it’s brushing your teeth in the morning together and watching Netflix, all banal things that you do every day. That’s the reality of love, I suppose.”
Recorded at his friend and co-producer Phairo’s shed in Acton, U.K., the 10-track album also features an assist from Finneas, who found out about Major’s music from his sister, pop star Billie Eilish. Major says, “Finneas is one of the best songwriters in the world. And it’s really just really great writing with somebody who’s really good at what they do. First of many songs that we’ll write together, I hope.”
The track they worked on together, “The Most Beautiful Thing” sums up a lot of what Major is going for on his latest record. He says about the track, “There’s this ridiculousness of the idea of true love. People say how they’ve married their soulmate or whatever, right? Most people get married to someone they live in the same village as or the same town as.” As he talks about tearing down that romanticized notion, he sees how another interpretation could be around the serendipity of it all. “Maybe that’s the great miracle of true love. You can view it either way, I suppose. But it’s a love letter to the person you’ve never met,” he sums up.
A choice pick for lazy days or late nights, there’s also tracks like “Nothing” and “Regents Park” which pair lo-fi elements with old-timey melodies. Part of the reason we hear that is perhaps due to Major’s previous stints as a session player playing in multiple jazz projects. The work even brought him to New Delhi for a gig a few years before he started his own solo career. “It was an amazing experience and I would very much like come back to India. I love the eclectic mix of people’s music tastes. It seems to me that like it doesn’t really matter on the genre of music, people will like it if it’s good and that’s something I respect. So yeah, as soon as possible, I will be coming over there.”
Amongst the most refreshing and intelligent songwriters in the world right now, Major started off uploading tracks to SoundCloud, eventually bagged a major label recording deal but it only resulted in a tumultuous time, with Live EP releasing in 2014. By 2017, he had released A Song for Every Moon on a track by track basis, which led to wider acclaim and touring spots alongside pop crooner Sam Smith.
Along the way of world tours and wider listenership, he’s had his brother Dot Major (from electronic/indie pop band London Grammar) to lean on whenever he needs it. “Being a musician, you do extraordinary shit sometimes, like go on The Late Show with James Corden, and appear in front of thousands of people and play gigs and travel the world and spend a lot of time away from home and no, it’s not a normal lifestyle in a lot of ways. Sometimes it’s difficult to talk to your parents about or talk to your best friend about because they haven’t experienced those things and they don’t understand it. They can’t really empathize with you. So, you know, to have someone like my brother. He’s the person I’m closest to in the world,” he says.
While extensive plans for shows around the world – including Asia – stand postponed, Major is fine knowing he’ll be at home, “writing, eating and spending time indoors.” He counts his most recent, pre-pandemic show at the Java Jazz Festival in February end in Indonesia as “a really special show” that he “leveled up at.” As much as he does admit he misses performing, he adds, “In the grand scheme of things, having to cancel a few tours isn’t the end of the world.”
Major took on a few virtual gigs ahead of the release of To Let A Good Thing Die but he’s not keen on necessarily keeping at it. “At the moment, I’m not sure if I want to do any more livestream shows. I liked doing them, they were great. [But] I want to connect with people in a different way. I haven’t figured it out yet, but I will do something. I think three [shows] were enough. I wouldn’t want to see my great heroes playing once a week on a sofa. I don’t see why anyone else would want to either.”
Listen to ‘To Let a Good Thing Die’ below and on more platforms here.