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Interview: Tunde Baiyewu

5 min read

As front man of UK pop duo Lighthouse Family, Tunde Baiyewu secured a place within the hearts of music fans the world over with his husky, soulful serenading on the bands globally recognized hit singles – Lifted, Ocean Drive and High. The band has sold millions of records during their time together but Tunde is no one trick pony. In between Lighthouse Family releases he has led a successful solo career, his first self-titled solo release being unveiled in 2004 was met with critical acclaim.

Nine years have passed since Tunde’s debut solo outing and following the release of his long-awaiting sophomore release, Diamond In A Rock, we caught up with the internationally adored musician to find out about his latest release, why the star chose Oregon as the location to record his new album and what he has in store for fans throughout 2013. Here is what Tunde told us:

Brendon Veevers: How are you Tunde?

Tunde Baiyewu: I’m very well thank you.

BV: Where in the world does our Q&A find you today?

TB: I’m at home in cloudy London at the moment staring at a piano and waiting for inspiration to hit.

BV: Diamond in a Rock is your latest album. Can you tell us a bit about the new record and the inspiration behind it?

TB: Yes. Diamond in a Rock, the album, was recorded in Portland Oregon. Of all the records i’ve made to date I’ll say this one is by far the most soulful. The title is my analogy for life. It’s my way of saying there’s always something of value to be discovered even within our most challenging or hard times. Hindsight often gives us the vision to see that this is true.

BV: The latest single, the second from the album following Move, is the title track. What is the song about?

TB: I wrote the song move with my good friend Andrew Stonestreet. It’s very easy to become selfish and think life revolves only around the proverbial “me myself and I”. But when we do the opposite and place the attention on somebody else and their needs then it becomes a lot easier to live in sync with the world around us. That’s what Move is about. Learning to get back in sync with those who have our best interests at heart.

BV: For anyone who has yet to hear the new album, would you say that the style of the singles that have been released from the album so far are a good indication of what they can expect from the rest of the collection?

TB: Yes that is absolutely true. This is not a Lighthouse family sounding album. It’s a very real sounding album, very soulful.

BV: Diamond in a Rock is your first solo album since 2004’s Tunde. What have you been up to since you latest offered us a solo record and why such a delay between solo projects?

TB: Well, I got married six years ago and that took me out of the loop for a while. In between then and now I’ve had two daughters and they have a way of keeping me busy. But music is always there and I have never stopped writing songs. That, you can tell when you listen to the record.

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BV: You recorded the album in Portland, Oregon. What was it about the city that convinced you to record there?

TB: Sebastian Rogers convinced me!

BV: How have the fans responded to the new songs?

TB: Everybody that’s heard the record has been very, very complimentary. Obviously there’s always going to be one or two unsatisfied customers, but hey it’s hard to please everybody.

BV: You worked with a string of talented musicians on the new album including Sebastian Rogers, Catherine Feeney and Jon Neufeld. What role did these musicians play on the album and what was it like to record with them?

TB: It was absolutely amazing! Probably the most inspired recording session I’ve been involved in. It took five months everybody brought their “A” game. I wrote the song Awake with Catherine Feeney and it’s easily one of my favorite songs on the album. John Neufeld is an incredibly talented guitarist and he played on a couple of tracks on the record.

Sebastian Rogers is probably the most enthusiastic and passionate producer I’ve had the pleasure of working with and he’s a good friend of mine. Andrew Stonestreet, Daniel Kamas, the list goes on and on. You can check out the list of credits on the record to see what each of these individuals has contributed. Their efforts have made the record what it is. I feel very privileged.

BV: As a member of The Lighthouse Family you have achieved a great deal of success over the years. Is there any pressure for you to replicate that success as a solo artist?

TB: I think some people expect that and the pressure comes from that expectation. I’m very realistic about the situation. There are millions of people out there who aren’t even aware that “the guy from lighthouse Family” has just released another album. So in a way it’s just like starting all over again. But with time, patience and a bit of luck everything is possible!

BV: When you go into the studio to record a solo album, is there any focus placed on making your solo material sound different to Lighthouse Family records or it a matter of ‘going with the flow’ and seeing what happens?

TB: I went into the studio with the intention of making an album that was a true representation and expression of me, a ‘not too watered down’ version. Keeping that focus ensured that everything worked out the way I wanted to.

BV: What are the biggest advantages and disadvantages of being a solo artist as opposed to being front-man of a band?

TB: As a solo artist you enjoy the freedom to explore and express yourself to your hearts content. As the front man of a band some things have to be tailored to fit in with the band.

BV: Will you be touring your new album?

TB: Absolutely. I can’t wait to perform these songs!

BV: Are there any other projects on the Tunde Baiyewu calendar for 2013?

TB: I caught the creative bug again recently. So I’ve been writing more songs towards the next Tunde solo album.

BV: Thanks for your time Tunde

TB: Thank you very much for listening.

Tunde’s new album, Diamond In A Rock, is out now.