NEW YORK — Anyone can hear the talent and potential of Bobby Long on his MySpace or his iTunes single “Left to Lie,” but there is no way to fully understand how far this boy will go until seeing him perform live. There’s something about his humble, apologetic humor that endears him to audiences, and something about the honesty and vulnerability of his music that captivates and moves them as well. The contrast in the two makes for an absolutely great performance. One minute the audience is giggling in response to Bobby’s impression of Justin Timberlake (his version of “Cry Me a River” may or may not have been better than the original) and then next they are completely silenced by the haunting lyrics of a new song.
Blast Magazine got to witness Bobby Long perform live three times in New York City this week and sit down with him for an interview.
The last time Blast spoke with Bobby, things were just beginning for him. “It was just after the premiere so I was just realizing what stuff was like,” he said, “but it’s been great, it’s just grown and grown … since Christmas we decided to come to America, and this is what’s happened.”
Long has been receiving a lot of attention lately, in part due to the release of his first single, “Left to Lie,” on iTunes. The first day the song was out, it climbed the charts. “It was really cool. It went up to No. 8 on the Folk chart which was really great because it didn’t have any advertising at all, just word of mouth, really. Just being up on that list with all these incredibly famous folk musicians — not like lightly famous — but these incredibly famous folk musicians and having my name there as well was just really, really good feeling. Really unbelievable though, as well.”
With all this great publicity, Bobby was still surprised to find that he’s already being recognized.
“One girl called my name out in the street — that was weird, and it scared the hell out of me. She just yelled ‘Bobby!'”
Long’s first gig in the U.S. was in a charmingly shady dive of a bar in Alphabet City, Manhattan. With a maximum capacity of about 150 people, the venue filled up pretty quickly and had to eventually turn some away. Once Long arrived, the room was lined with women (and a few men). Some pushed up against the windowed wall, some crammed almost up to the low stage, face-to-face with Long, himself.
“It was a little bit overwhelming,” he said of the crowd, “but it’s just nice. People coming to my shows.”
His set included most of his MySpace songs, as well as his single “Left to Lie.” He also introduced a few new songs such as “Who Have You Been Loving,” which will appear on the demo CD and “Two Years Old,” which Long said he hopes to release as his next single on iTunes.
“I like that one a lot. It’s kind of annoying. I wish it was on the CD, but I wrote it literally last week and on the plane over here I was learning the lyrics.”
Long also played two shows at Arlene’s Grocery, a great venue, which was larger and still packed. When asked if he would play even bigger venues still on his tour this summer, he said, “to be honest, as long as people show up, I don’t think it matters where you play.”
And it seems that wherever Bobby Long plays, people are going to show up.
While in the states, the Brit has been in “endless meetings,” with magazines and music labels.
“To be honest at the moment I think the ball is in my court,” Long revealed when asked whether or not he thought he would be signed by the summer, “and there’s no need for me to rush into anything. If I find the right person then I’ll sign tomorrow.”
For now, he just plans on finishing up this mini-tour of the states, continuing to go solo (although he has played a few gigs with a pianist called Alex Starling back in London), and embarking on his full blown tour of the U.S. this summer.
To hear Bobby’s music or find out about tour dates, check http://www.myspace.com/musicbobbylong and check out his single “Left to Lie” on iTunes.