With a rawer and more modern sound, Move Away, Bobby Bazini’s fourth album, is his most daring and personal one. No frills or production this time, and, most importantly, a body of songs that perfectly express his moods. The compositions have become deeper, the sound has grown richer, and, in short, there’s a fresh wind of renewal without any sampling, or other “canned” sounds. The album’s 13 songs form a compact, unstoppable suite of well-crafted arrangements.

“I need to travel before writing an album,” says Bazini. “That’s an essential source of inspiration for me. Much thought was given to the past 10 years in preparation for the writing of these songs. My life had been an unending race. That was an important journey, because expectations have always been high.”

Early in Bazini’s career, the French magazine Paris Match published an article on him, headlining that “the next Céline Dion is a man.” That’s where it all began, Bazini says today. And there was also comedian Louis-José Houde’s joke as he hosted the ADISQ Awards a few years ago: “Break out, Bobby, break out!” Bazini adds with a laugh.

“As I was not to work with any producer this time, the person responsible for the project was me,” Bazini explains. “I worked with other artists in the early stages to get the songwriting off the ground. We had a stock of some 60 songs. On the demos, I also played drums, bass and keyboards. At the end of the day, all the co-writers of these 13 songs also are the album’s de facto co-producers.”

In London,  celebrated British producer Jake Gosling (Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga), and the Brazilian musician Pedro Vito (who worked on four of Bazini’s songs), were his creative partners. “I also wanted to use strings, so we called on Davide Rossi (Coldplay, Alicia Keys), and the whole thing has been really stimulating.”

Move Away is replete with ballads that hark back to classic soul music — one immediately thinks of Al Green, and there’s a little something that betrays the year of manufacture… A display of references that are too visible, maybe? Not in the least! Bazini avoided slipping on the banana peel of that stereotypical, “oh-so-’60s”  sound.

Bazini’s whisky voice rules, moving from one song to the next without ever becoming intoxicating. There are also organ and choir passages, and the interplay of these varied voices breathes air into the music while containing the atmosphere.

“I’ve been going to London since 2015, and I’ve always been interested in the old-school sound of white British singers [the likes of James Hunter, for one],” he says. “The drum tracks of these British producers are very much ‘front and centre,’ like on Adele’s recordings, and I like that production approach very much. The title song, ‘Move Away,’ was written with Vito in mind: following his dreams to Europe. Personally, I would have written it in 4/4, but he did it in 6/8, so it’s much more rhythmic, and you can hear it on the recording.”

“Then I moved to Berlin to be able to continue my collaboration with him, because he lives there, and I like the quality of his writing,” Bazini continues. “We recorded Some & Others in Berlin. From the studio where I was, I could see how grey that city was. The studio was cold and old, and the heating was provided by a tiny radiator. And there was a 5:00 p.m. curfew, so we couldn’t waste any time!”

Obviously, working in this open-pit mine of super-catchy tunes hasn’t been a breeze, but on this album, Bazini hitting the nail on the head, piece after piece, without ever easing up.

To complete the picture, Bazini travelled to the Los Angeles, where he’d worked at the start of his career, in order to polish his recordings. This time, however, the producers weren’t the same. Studio time was booked at the request of Universal, his record company. These sessions have a more pop sound, and “Choose You,” the album’s second track, is the perfect illustration: “I wanted to try new things, to move out of my comfort zone,” Bazini explains.

While Bazini no longer had the wind in his sails following management changes, this new album is a first step toward his true identity. Who cares if the world has changed around him? Here’s the elegant Bazini in top shape.