Closing out 2019 on a high, ukulele strummer, drummer, and singer Bobby Alu, is riding the wave of joy that his third album, Flow, has brought.
The record has received wide acclaim for Alu’s audio presentation of his mantra: “move and be moved”. Flow delivers a robust energy that reminds us to have a good time while remaining pensive about life’s surprises.
The uplifting and diverse instrumentation of the album has left many in awe of Alu’s quick stylings and rampant rhythms. Alu is, of course, floored by the reception.
“It’s different with this one,” he begins carefully, “I think with past albums I had this element of expectation, what quantified it doing well or what quantified success.
“With this one, I felt so happy and really spent a long time on these songs that I really just wanted to have it out there. Whatever comes back comes back, [but] I was really content with having it out there.
“Having these thoughts, these feelings, I was really grateful for that, and whatever happens [now] is a bonus.”
Conversations surrounding Flow – not just with friends, but with strangers – have had the greatest impact on Alu.
“People have said, ‘Hey, I really love your album, it’s helping me through this and that,’ and that’s huge for me, that means a lot. That’s sort of why I did this.”
The album itself is largely Alu’s observations of people around him and how they live their life – but it also provides insight into who Alu is as a musician, and how he channels his energy into those observations.
Not only does music serve as a catalyst for Alu’s creative reflections, it allows him to generate connections with the aspirations he holds as an artist to the world around him.
“Ultimately I feel super lucky I have an outlet,” he says. “I feel like there’s so much stuff going on in our heads – everyone you know is going through some sort of battle, sometimes they tell you, sometimes they don’t.
“For me to have this vessel to communicate whatever is going on, to help the human experience, I feel I’ve got that. So, if there’s any way I can help and let others do the same… Yeah, I’ve got an amazing community around me who are really inspiring.
“I really try and keep myself open to that inspiration, because you can really close yourself a lot when you’ve got your head in your own shit. Open up, listen to other people, share these experiences. Ultimately, I think we can become better versions of ourselves.”
“My music is also light, as well,” Alu reasons. “We’ve only got this life once, so it’s like, we might as well have a good time and not be so deep all the time. It’s finding the balance, that’s what I’m after.”
As part of his lengthy touring schedule this month, Alu will be performing at Chapel Off Chapel. With music so well suited to those easy breezy, chilled out kind of days, Alu admits it will be a challenge, albeit a welcome one, to adapt to the acoustics and tone of a venue like Chapel Off Chapel.
“I love that about different venues,” says Alu. “To put your own perspective into a room – that happens every night and I enjoy that challenge.
“For me, it’s always been, ‘Let the music speak for itself and I’ll do everything in my power to perform these songs and get to that space’.
“I’ve been really looking for to Chapel Off Chapel, I’ve been wanting to play this venue for a long time and I’m really looking forward to sharing my flavour.”
Bobby Alu will perform at Chapel Off Chapel on Friday February 7 as part of Chapel Summer Sessions. Find tickets and more info here.