Bilal

Bilal

Real Name:
Bilal Oliver
Profile:
Bilal Sayeed Oliver (born August 23, 1979), better known by his stage name Bilal, is an American singer-songwriter, musician and producer. He is currently an independent artist residing in New York City.

He grew up in a religiously mixed household, his mother being a devout Christian and his father, a Muslim. He regularly attended church with his mother in a small church that consisted of mostly family members. It was there that Bilal grew an interest in music and singing. His interest in jazz music was fostered by his father, who took him to the city’s clubs. Singing eventually became more than an interest. After attending high school at the Philadelphia High School for Creative Performing Arts, Bilal moved to New York City and studied at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. He studied jazz, and his love for music caused him to use a voice as an instrument.

At the New School, Bilal met Robert Glasper. They soon became best friends, working together on the singer's demo. Eventually, he was "discovered" by Aaron Comess from the Spin Doctors during an after-school jam session. It was with him that Bilal recorded his demo that landed him a record deal with Interscope.

The resulting material landed Bilal a deal with Interscope in his sophomore year, whereupon he promptly dropped out of school; the demo tracks make up a portion of 1st Born Second, his 2001 debut. Glasper's association with Bilal would lead to work with Q-Tip and Mos Def, and the very real possibility of a career in hip-hop.

In 2001, Bilal released his debut album 1st Born Second, which featured contributions from the Soulquarians as well as high profile producers such as Dr. Dre and J Dilla. The album showcased a wide variety, from the emotionally charged fan-favorite Soul Sista, which peaked at #18 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts, to the political viewpoints of Fast Lane and Second Child. Bilal managed to gain a sizable following and high attendance at his live shows, as well as much acclaim and respect from his peers, many whom noted his range and ability to sing in a freeform style, and his classically trained falsetto. The soulful feel of the album caused Bilal to be labeled as "neo-soul." Bilal stresses that this term does not fit, and throughout his career, his expansion in music and pushing of boundaries proved his point.

In the following years Bilal continued to appear on projects by other artists of both high profile and avant garde, while recording and developing his follow-up set to be released on Interscope Records and featuring contributions primarily from producers Dr. Dre and J Dilla (as heard by Dilla himself). These plans proved to be changeable and the final result, Love for Sale, was an album that appeared to be built around Bilal's own musicianship. A forever evolving artist, Bilal switched it up on Love For Sale, which includes live instrumentation and a vibe completely new and different from its predecessor. However, his anticipation was shot down after receiving disapproval from Interscope. Unwilling to start from scratch, Bilal continued to push his LP. However, near the album's completion, the album was leaked in its entirety on the Internet. Interscope shelved the album indefinitely, hinting that it saw little commercial potential in it. The event sent Bilal into a period of distress,and was considering quitting music. However, many fans and music critics expressed their love for his shelved album online, and Bilal began to perform at many shows, practically touring for his unreleased Love For Sale. This gave him the encouragement to go on and record new music.

After nine years without a properly released album, Bilal made a comeback on September 14, 2010 with Airtight's Revenge, a sophomore LP released under independent record label Plug Research. Bilal describes the album as a retrospective album: an album that explores his experiences and things that he's learned since his last release. An experimental album, Airtight's Revenge blends jazz, hip-hop, electronic, rock, soul, and blues into one raw, genuine collection of music.The successor of a soulful love album, the lyrics of Airtight's Revenge focus on a wide range of topics, including love, spirituality, religion, the economy, politics, capitalism, and much more. The album received immense, positive feedback from fans and praise from numerous music critics. In 2011, Bilal received a Grammy nomination for the song Little One, a track dedicated to his eldest son, who has Autism. Bilal dedicated his Summer tour to his son, naming it the Little Ones Tour and raising money for autism awareness.
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Bilal Discography

Albums

UICS-1013 Bilal 1st Born Second (Album) Interscope Records UICS-1013 Japan 2001 Sell This Version
none Bilal Love For Sale(CDr, Album, Promo) Universal Records none US 2006 Sell This Version
88697169762 MDR Symphony Orchestra* Feat. Joy Denalane, Bilal, Dwele & Tweet MDR Symphony Orchestra* Feat. Joy Denalane, Bilal, Dwele & Tweet - The Dresden Soul Symphony(CD, Album) Four Music 88697169762 Europe 2008 Sell This Version
PLG105 Bilal Airtight’s Revenge (Album) Plug Research PLG105 US 2010 Sell This Version
BBE239ACD Bilal A Love Surreal (Album) eOne BBE239ACD Europe 2013 Sell This Version
BBE351ALP Bilal In Another Life (Album) eOne BBE351ALP UK 2015 Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

0694974092 Bilal Soul Sista (Single, Maxi) Interscope Records 0694974092 US 2000 Sell This Version
UNIDJ046 Bilal Fast Lane (Single) Interscope Records UNIDJ046 Europe 2000 Sell This Version
BILALVP3 Bilal Soul Sista / Fast Lane Remixes (Single) Interscope Records BILALVP3 Europe 2000 Sell This Version
VUSCDJ201 Guru's Jazzmatazz* Featuring Bilal Guru's Jazzmatazz* Featuring Bilal - Certified (Single) Virgin VUSCDJ201 UK 2001 Sell This Version
BILALSNIP1 Bilal 1st Born Second Sampler Interscope Records BILALSNIP1 Europe 2001 Sell This Version
INTR-10378-1 Bilal Love It (Single) Interscope Records INTR-10378-1 US 2000 Sell This Version
MCAR-25628-1 Jaguar Wright (Featuring) Bilal Jaguar Wright (Featuring) Bilal - I Can't Wait (Single) MCA Records MCAR-25628-1 US 2001 Sell This Version
VUST201 Guru, Bilal Guru, Bilal - Certified(12", Maxi) Virgin VUST201 UK 2001 Sell This Version
none Tito Ramos / Bilal Tito Ramos / Bilal - Heaven (Is Not For Everyone) / Free(7", Promo) Wax Poetics Records none US 2010 Sell This Version
PLG108-D Bilal Levels (EP, Single) Plug Research PLG108-D US 2011
88875149531 Miles Davis, Robert Glasper, Bilal Miles Davis, Robert Glasper, Bilal - Ghetto Walkin'(12", Ltd) Columbia, Legacy 88875149531 US 2016 Sell This Version

Miscellaneous

STIL001 Rogiérs Feat Bilal Rogiérs Feat Bilal - Hollywood Story Remixes(2xFile, MP3, 320) Stilnovo Music STIL001 UK 2009