Bilal Sayeed Oliver was born Summer, 1979 in Germantown, Philly, and first encountered live music at the Philly jazz clubs, where his father would sneak him in and hide him in the closet. Now, more than 20 years later, he’s the main attraction at some of those same clubs, winning fans with his distinct, emotive vocals and constantly evolving style. This Friday, he will return to Philadelphia, playing a hometown show at West Philly’s The Blockley.
Bilal experienced music at an early age, and quickly took to it—becoming choir director for his mother’s Catholic church at age 11, gigging in the city at age 14, and becoming classically trained in opera while in high school. In the late ‘90s, he appeared on records by Common, Guru, and The Soulquarians (a musical collective that included Common, J Dilla, D'Angelo, Erykah Badu and more), and in 2001, he released his debut record, 1st Born Second. These days, he’s touring behind his third LP, the dreamy, sensual A Love Surreal, which proves he doesn’t need big name collaborators to make a killer record. Live, he’s known for his high energy levels and charming personality, so prepare to swept up in jazzy flirtations and cool vibes. See you there, Philly!
9:00 at The Blockley, 3801 Chestnut St., $25–30. Tickets available here.