An Interview With Pedro Barbosa
Pedro Barbosa chats about his debut album
Pedro Barbosa is no stranger to the South African music scene. The Mozambique-born frontman became a household name performing as singer-songwriter for Mrs B and the eponymous The Barbosa Experience, churning out blends of flamenco-inspired roots rock on the stages of venues and festivals, like STRAB and Mieliepop.
Pedro’s essence lies in the connection with his audience – his big personality, loud voice and fun-loving nature fuels this connection, and is what he thrives on to produce a memorable experience, show after show. His charming character has evolved exponentially, and naturally, this progression of character craved individual accomplishment in a musical sense: “I wanted to take it to the next level and record something true to myself – something I enjoyed and could be proud of. The thought of this was something I feared for a long time, as I primarily only appealed to a rock-oriented market.”
Pedro took the leap and recorded his first solo album, Reborn, this year. The recording process spawned a new beginning and symbolises a coming-of-age.
I caught up with Pedro to talk about his new album and his future plans:
Congratulations on the debut album! How does it feel to finally have the finished project, and how has it been received so far?
So, far it has been good, I think. We haven’t done a proper official album launch, but waiting to see how we do on radio first. But it feels great to have this album. I’m very proud and happy with what we have done.
Tell me about Reborn; how long did you work on it, what was the process of putting it together and who worked with you on it?
From January 2017 till October 2017, however, some of the songs were written before this time, I’m not sure when though. The process of putting it together was interesting, initially I was gonna record only 3 songs with Mark Beling as the producer, but we clicked so well, that I thought oh well lets go for an album. Then half way through it, I wanted to do a double CD, basically 6 songs on one CD and 6 on the other but one CD was just plain acoustic and vocals and the other a more more produced sound. But due to printing and a few other financial constraints, etc. we decided to only release 9 songs. But the whole process was amazing. Mark Beling is one of the most talented musicians/producers out there, and he made the process so special and amazing for me.
It’s great working with people who make the process easier. Tell me, is there a theme running through Reborn? And what is the meaning behind the name?
Ahhh, yes there is… Being my first proper solo album and after going through some big life changes, I needed a fresh start, and all this happened while recording the album. The album name was one of the last things that came to me. I think I needed to have the album before deciding what it means, I guess. Basically, it means starting new for me.
And what do you hope people will take from this album?
Inspiration is the most important. Also, I hope they relate to it. And I hope it motivates them and helps them in tough times.
You also released a pretty amazing music video earlier this year. What is this song and video about?
Some things we should leave as secrets! Hehehe. But I can tell you that Crazy Love was exactly a week in my life while falling for someone, and them telling me that they didn’t feel and that she couldn’t make-up her mind. You know, typical confused lady stuff I guess, hehehe. It ended well though… In fact when I sing it live, I change a part of the lyrics from ‘why won’t you stay’ to ‘why did you stay’…
You previously played in bands. Why did you decide to go solo and what has been your experience so far?
I still play in bands. I love playing with bands, it’s different. You put energies together different styles and express 4 or 5 minds in one. Solo to me was about giving part of me, there has always been songs I wanted to release that I didn’t take to the bands, because they were too personal or too deep, and I hid that from everyone. There comes a time when one has to face who we truly are, and that was REBORN. But I have played so many styles of music with different bands and I love all of them: Mrs. B rock, Los Hermanos Latin, Barbosa Experience African/latin/pop acoustic rock. It’s absolutely great; you get experience, you get to share the stage with your brothers and sisters, I won’t give that up. The fact that I have a solo project won’t stop me playing with my bands.
That’s awesome! So, you were born in Mozambique. Who or what were your musical influences growing up?
Don’t tell anyone, but when I started writing I was listening to a lot of Bon Jovi! Like a lot! And Backstreet Boys! There, I said it! It’s official now… I never limited myself with music. I honestly like most styles of music different artists. It all depends on what touches me in that moment in time, music for me is very emotional. So. generally artists who have that, touch me and influence me. Matchbox 20, Backstreet Boys back then, hehe, Bon Jovi, Linkin Park, John Meyer, Johnny Clegg, Brenda Fassie, Djavan, Gipsy Kings, Foo Fighters, Good Charlotte, Iron Maiden, Ice Cube, Run DMC, etc. and don’t forget Aerosmtih!
Haha, that’s great! So, where are you based these days and where can we catch you live next?
I’m based in Pretoria for now. And I have gigs all over the place. The best thing is to follow my social media pages facebook.com/PedroBarbos
Lastly, what’s next for you? Any big plans for the rest of the year or 2019?
Yeah, a 2019 European tour! We want to do Spain and Portugal for about a month. We were suppose to do it this year, but I had some issues I had to take care of. Due to the amount of gigs I do, I had to take some holiday instead of a tour. But we going to do it next year, and also we want to try break radio… That is the big goal! Also to play some more festivals. And get as much exposure and inspire as many people as I can!
Images by Greyline Photography