A CHAT WITH BOBBY ALU
With a third album dropping this year, Bobby Alu hits the road armed with the only tools he needs - a uke and smile from ear to ear. He has just released a new single ‘Finally’, and has put a nationwide callout for ukulele players for support. We had a chat with Bobby before his show at Mojos Bar on June 16.
Hey Bobby, how are you?
I'm really well at the moment. We are in the final stages of finishing an album that's taken a long time to make. It always feels amazing to be at the final stages of a project. Having spent so much time writing and crafting these emotions and stories into songs, it's an exciting time to bring it to stage and share with the world. I feel super grateful to get to do this.
You’ve just released your new single ‘Finally’, what was your inspiration for this new tune?
I love old people. I have friends of all ages and I'm constantly inspired by the older friends. I just had breakfast with a mate named Merlin who turns 84 today - each time we meet he is always positive and shares amazing stories. He's a professional fish drawer - like seriously! He's literally drawn fish professionally for 70 years. I have one of his drawings hanging in my office. 'Finally' is about ageing. Our society is geared toward focusing on the negative aspects of getting old like losing your mobility, wrinkly skin and not being useful. I'm hopeful that if I am blessed with old age, I will be proud and accepting of life's journey.
How has being born and raised on the Gold Coast influenced your style over time? Does your Samoan heritage also help shape your musical style?
I'm heavily shaped by my childhood, I think we all are. The Gold Coast was a friendly and social place to grow up. There wasn't much of a music scene when I was getting into performing and I believe that landscape made me work harder at my craft. My musical tuition came from an early age jamming Samoan songs with my mother and uncles at family parties - when I think back on those times it makes me smile.
How have the applications you’ve received for ukulele show openings around the country been?
There's some really diverse applications coming in for every city so far, and it's pretty incredible to see how much talent is out there. Really looking forward to seeing what else comes in over the next few weeks. I remember starting out playing music and how tough it was to get opportunities, so hopefully this call out for performers can help some artists out there in making moves to start a journey in performing music.
If you could have a jam with 3 musicians, alive or dead, who would you choose?
I'm going to up the stakes... Being in a jam with Dallas Taimara (Fat Freddy's Drop singer), James Gadson (Bill Withers' drummer) and Aston "Family Man" Barrett (Bob Marley's bass player) all in the same room would be ridiculous. Dallas is one of my favourite singers of all time. The sound of his voice is so smooth and calm. I love Bill Withers' music and the drum beats have the heaviest pocket. Check out 'Aint No Sunshine' Live on YouTube, then check the drummer - sunglasses, afro, wearing pyjamas with a cheeky grin - what a boss! I grew up listening to Bob Marley, his band were amazing - Aston Barrett wrote the most melodic and beautiful bass lines that really made Bob's music different to anyone else.
What’s something you want to checkout while you’re in Perth?
I love Perth. I'll definitely go to Scarborough for a morning coffee and a dip in the Indian Ocean. TAKA for lunch for my Japanese cuisine fix, then a bar in Freo to watch the sunset with an ice cold beer.
What can the punters of Mojos expect from your show?
Sublime hammock music served with the finest Jamaican rum. We're throwing some new songs into the set among the usual favourites, so it'll be a fresh night for sure.