Bill LaBounty's brand new CD "Back To Your Star" just hit the Japanese music market. And rest of the world will have it also on June 15th. I am pleased to let you have Bill LaBounty's exclusive interview for my "Adult Contemporary Music in Japan" here. Mr. LaBounty looks back his long career and talks about the latest effort "Back To Your Star". Here is the 2nd part;
[ACMJ]: You came to Japan and performed live in July 1991, promoting "Right Direction" album. Many of your fans thought that you would continue to create your own solo album in mid 90's as Robbie Dupree did so, but didn't. You concentrated to write smash hits to many artists including Tim McGraw, Brooks & Dunn and Neil Diamond. Did you learn something special when you collaborated with them? For example, how did you wrote "Can Anybody Hear Me" with Neil?
[Bill LaBounty (BL)]: Neil Diamond was someone I always held a huge amount of respect for but I was not necessarily a music fan. As writers we sometimes meet our musical heroes and even get to work with them. Once in awhile we meet a musical hero and are shocked to discover we don't really like them much, they aren't nice, or kind, or whatever. With Neil Diamond this was reversed. Neil Diamond, in person, must be one of the kindest, wisest, and most generous of spirit people I've ever met. I, of course, not only loved working with him but have since become a giant fan of him, not just his brilliant songwriting, but as a musical artist and performer.
[ACMJ]: You restarted to create your brand-new album "Back To Your Star" around 2005. You said "I started feeling very frustrated that you had not been concentrating any efforts at all on myself as an artist and my music, so I decided.... life is short" when you performed live in Paris with Robbie Dupree in September 2006. What made you feel so ? Did you have any specific incident around that time?
[BL]: I guess the difference between a recording artist and hit songwriter is that a true recording artist always wants to break molds and create new ones. There is "outside the box" and and then there is "off the planet" or outside the galaxy. A naked artist can never be completely accessible. His work must be raw and unadorned. I've always been inclined to create on this basis. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of hit songwriters with the same inclinations. And they many times express them through their work. But these are the exceptions. When you create a record on your own terms you no longer have to be restricted to the parameters of market or commerciality. And in casting these things off you have a real chance at creating something more universal than the most commercial of products. Just a chance. But, hell, life is short and at this point I'd just as soon take the chance.
[ACMJ]: You created this brand new album with your old friends including Larry Carlton, David Hungate and others. Did you rediscover anything new with those renowned musicians during the long-period recording sessions ?
[BL]: Once recently I bumped into Larry at a music function here. I asked him what he'd been up to. He said something I loved. He smiled and said, "Not much. I'm still just searchin', trying to find my groove." But Larry knew that I, and all the players I know, Hungate, Michael Rhodes, Tommy Wells, Danny Parks, Brian Fullen, Sam Levine etc. would know exactly what he's trying to find. Exactly what he means. That the process of that search, if you're really looking, always renders something brand new, bright, and special.
[ACMJ]: The music of this brand new album has Steely Dan's jazz groove and part Muscle Shoales and reflective of what you've done in your last album, as you said. What is the largest difference between this brand new album between "Right Direction" album musically?
[BL]: I believe, at the time of The Right Direction, I was more cognizant and reverent of the world of of pop, the chart hit, and music as a marketplace as opposed to a stage. I still want to serve my audience with what they've come to expect of me on any new record. But I don't want to inhibit my expression by total adherence to form. I think I've wandered a little further off the known roads on this map I've used over the years. I hope so. I think Back To Your Star is a bit rougher, not quite as polished as my prior recordings. But still musically sophisticated thanks to the brilliant players who are still ready and willing to work with me.
[ACMJ] Lastly, it might be too early to ask this question but I dare to ask you. Will you continue to create another solo album, without long absence? And do you have any plan to perform live promoting this brand-new album in Japan or Europe? Could you send your message to your fans not only in Japan but also in Europe?
[BL]: I'm already working on a new album. And my participation in commercial songwriting lately has been giving way to attending to my muse as a composer and singer of my own music. I'm pretty sure my next album will not be far behind this latest one. I'm putting the specifics for a tour of both Japan and Europe together right now. Most likely to begin in the Fall. And, to my audience in Japan and Europe, I express my humblest thanks. I am very grateful, and look forward to performing on a stage near you soon!
ACMJ would like to thank Bill Labounty again for his kindness to have the exclusive interview.Last but not least, click the album jacket image shown below if you would like to pre-order "Back To Your Star" international edition! Otherwise, please click the CDJapan logo if you would like to order the Japanese edition including the exclusive bonus track "Livin' It Up" accoustic version!!