It’s perhaps appropriate that Bielfield answered our questions whilst sitting and watching a thunderstorm. After all, there is something torrential – epic, even – about the singer’s new single, Frequency, and the lightshow of the gods provides a sound metaphor for the breadth and cacophony of the singer and his sound.
American born but Australian residing, Bielfield is an artist on the rise: a musician who possesses a staggering vocal range and an equally impressive desire to push the very limits of his sound into something at once melodramatic and yet totally real.
We spoke to the artist about his influences, his musical upbringing, and his secret ‘specialist’ albums…
Joseph Earp: How are you and where in the world does our interview find you today?
B: I am sitting in Potts Point right now enjoying the amazing thunderstorm taking place
JE: Frequency is such an uplifting, emphatic song. How did it come into being?
B: Frequency was supposed to be an experimental track. I really wanted to draw upon some of my favorite artists like Prince and Whitney – but really put my voice and its particular talents into the track. Turns out I even got the whistle tones in there. It just ended up being something totally unexpected.
JE: How would you describe Frequency if you had to in a word?
JE: The music video for the track is very ambitious – epic, even! How was it to shoot?
B: Way too much fun. I literally almost started to cry when I saw my first composition be put to dancing. It was such a beautiful experience.
JE: Who were your musical influences on the song?
B: Michael, Prince, Whitney Houston
JE: A lot has been made of your impressive vocal range. At what age were you when you realised the breadth and dimensions of your voice?
B: I remember imitating people from a very young age and not having a problem hitting any of their notes. It wasn’t until later I realized this was really unusual.
JE: Was yours a very musical household growing up?
B: My mother is a Soprano, my dad was in a rock band growing up, and my sister composes and plays piano and double bass. We would always sing songs in perfect harmony growing up.
JE: Who were the people you looked up to when beginning your musical journey? Do you still have mentors now who assist you with the direction you want to take your sound?
B: I always say it takes a village. I have had many teachers along the way who I owe everything to – but now my sound and voice – even though it’s scary – is managed by me now. The people who influence it are my close friends and members of the team at Sony who really push me to write and sing stronger music and have more emotion and connection with what I am doing.
JE: Did you ever have a eureka moment when you felt that music was what you wanted to do with the rest of your life?
B: The eureka moment would have had to have been when I sang for a talent show with my sister as a kid. Not anything too out of the ordinary, I think it was something from Aladdin – but the experience in particular was beautiful and very inspiring.
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JE: You had a very classical musical education which some might see as sitting in contrast to the pop music you now make. But do you see the two ‘genres’ as being separate? How do you think your education has shaped your sound?
B: My education taught me all about my voice. Now when I make musical choices and vocal choices I know exactly why and when I want to change them I know how to do that. It’s great to have options!
JE: Your bio says you have released a few ‘specialist albums.’ What genre do they fall into? Are they available for fans in some form?
B: Haha – I do have “Specialist albums”! One is an art song album with beautiful melodies which sort of played as a thesis to my education at Juilliard. The other was a gospel album which I did at the age of 12. That is all I will say about that one – you gotta do the rest of the research yourself!
JE: You were born in the States but you now reside in Australia. Do you find there is a big difference between the music scenes of those two countries?
B: Very big difference. Music here is definitely more influenced by other parts of the world, including a strong European influence, while American music tends to be very localized. I enjoy the musical exploration and how open Australians are to new artists.
JE: Which contemporary musical artist has the career you must admire?
B: Nicki Minaj – she keeps surprising me every time I see or hear her
JE: Tell me something you’ve never told an interviewer before.
B: I think I might be the luckiest person in the world right now – doing what I always dreamed of doing with music and writing songs like Frequency keeps the dream alive.
Frequency is out now.