Bobby Sparks: Music that Spiritual Matter
When one hears the debut album of Bobby Sparks II, Schizophrenia: The Yang Project , he wonders why its author has not been admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Because the content of the dish lives up to its title. The one born in Texas looks like a keyboard player out of orbit, but also as a trained commander to take his sonic ship to the most rebellious seas, no matter if he goes through the waves of jazz and funk or the tides of the r & b and the rock.
On the other hand, Sparks has a care curriculum. The man has collaborated with characters of the caliber of Ray Charles, Herbie Hancock and Prince, without demeriting what was done next to St. Vincent, Tower of Power or Lauryn Hill. In response to this, is it clear why the disc he is carrying certifies that his mental state deserves to be studied? “Yes, what I did was a schizophrenic record,” says Sparks, by telephone, from his homeland. “Each theme has its own personality, each composition is different, totally different. I did it this way because that’s how music was heard on the radio in the sixties and seventies: they passed a song by Bob Dylan and then a song by Sly and The Family Stone, followed by one by Funkadelic. Under that parameter I made a disc with many faces ”.
The producer is also about to appear for the first time in Mexico, today Thursday, October 31, at the Bajo Circuito forum, an ideal date to certify the talent of a guy who, without wishing to become interesting, is assumed ready “to absorb All the music in the world. That is my only plan for the future: to get as close as possible to all the music that is possible. It’s a good idea, isn’t it? ”
What kind of music did you listen to during your childhood, in your native Texas?
A lot of gospel music in the church. Thus I introduced myself to the world of music. I had that on the one hand, thanks to my mother; but my father was a jazz and blues musician and that meant a lot to me, because he showed me Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington. Then, as a teenager, I discovered Prince; From that moment on everything changed: I became a funkster .
Will jazz and gospel have something in common?
Well, we are talking about the roots of black music. These are music that basically comes from the blues, you know, the music of the plantations, the pain song of the slaves. Music is a spiritual matter. For example, jazz is born from the spirit of blues. And everything is related, so it is with music, there are meeting points everywhere. I am very influenced by gospel and jazz, but not only at the musical level, but by the soul that both genres possess. As I was saying, I grew up listening to Miles Davis, but in the same way to Edwin Hawkins. Pure spirit.
Since you mention Prince, it seems to me that his legacy has not been fully appreciated, what do you think?
What can I say. Look, a lot of people remember Prince as a funk musician, but in reality he was an artist who performed virtually every musical style that exists. Something extraordinary. Prince was good at playing almost anything and it was he who invited me to explore many musical genres; Listening to it, I reached incredible worlds. For me he is the best artist that has existed in the history of mankind. Many believe that qualifier Michael Jackson deserves it, but there is one point here: Prince could do everything Jackson did, but Michael could never have achieved what Prince. I love Prince.
After listening to you, I can’t imagine what it meant for you to end up playing with him.
Do you know how I took it? As a gift of life. Imagine, play with your hero. I made my dream come true. I am a very lucky guy, I have had the opportunity to play with fantastic musicians on fabulous albums, watering a lot of styles. George Benson, Ray Charles, Prince. I feel blessed, what could I complain about?
Another of your dreams has just acquired disk form. This album with which you debut, Schizophrenia: The Yang Project , man, it took you twenty years to finalize it, why so much time?
Yes sir. It took me twenty years to finalize this album. I am very clear about how I started to plan it in my head: one day I went to a record shop and bought some compact, including Tales , from Marcus Miller, and Brown Sugar, from D’Angelo, and I took them on tour, I wanted to listen to them on the road; doing so inspired me to create my album. I started recording it in 1999, but I wrote it since 1996, more or less when the music business started to change; that is, the times when it began to be difficult for a record company to help you financially in order to record a record. In the end I decided to make music on my own, calling friends to help me finalize the album, a job I did with all my effort, the best I could, and yes, it took me twenty years to finish.
Maybe you can give some light to such a dark subject. Considering what you said, that the record industry has been in poor condition for a while, what do you think the future of music will be, where can we find it, listen to it, who will be doing it?
The future of music? Wow, I can tell you that it won’t be on the record labels as we met them. More and more artists are working independently, doing amazing things. And I think that will be the way. If you see it this way, there is a lot of hope in tomorrow, because creators can already do what we want, do you understand? At this point, what could stop us?