Pop Shop Podcast: Bazzi on His 'Cosmic' Journey, Connecting With Camila Cabello & Chance Encounter With Justin Timberlake
Welcome to the new episode of the Billboard Pop Shop Podcast, your one-stop shop for all things pop on Billboard's weekly charts. In addition, you can always count on a lively discussion about the latest pop news, fun chart stats and stories, new music, and guest interviews with music stars and folks from the world of pop.
Casual pop fans and chart junkies can hear Billboard senior director of charts Keith Caulfield and Billboard deputy editor, digital, Katie Atkinson, every week on the Pop Shop Podcast, which can be streamed on Billboard.com or downloaded in iTunes. (Click here to listen to the previous Tuesday’s edition of the show on Billboard.com).
On our latest episode, rising singer-songwriter Bazzi joins the show! Bazzi called in to chat about his No. 1 Pop Songs hit “Mine,” his Cosmic album, connecting with Camila Cabello on tour (and in the studio) and a chance encounter with one of his “biggest inspirations,” Justin Timberlake. (Listen below.)
What’s the journey been like to see “Mine” rise to the top of the Pop Songs chart?
“About two years ago,” Bazzi tells Billboard, “I set out and I said I wanted to just release music and I don't care how many people heard it at first. And I just wanted to put records out, I knew that. My iPhone background says 'If you build it, they’ll come.' You know, quality over quantity. And I really live by that. And I just kept putting music out. … and 'Mine' started to do something much different, [it] kind of lifted up all the other records and put so many people on the rest of my music. So it's been such a beautiful ride so far.
“Mine” is lifted from Bazzi’s debut full-length album Cosmic, which reached the top 20 of the Billboard 200 chart in April and hasn’t left the top 50 in its first four months of release. Was a full-length set always his goal?
“Definitely,” Bazzi says. “I mean, people kinda [thought] Cosmic came out pretty quick, but I did work on that album for two-and-a-half, three years. So the album is always definitely the goal, because I think that albums are like captures and bookmarks. After five or six of them, you can always go back and be like, 'Well, what was his first?' …I think an album really gives you a chance to make people feel something.”
Earlier in 2018, Bazzi wrapped a supporting gig on Camila Cabello’s Never Be the Same Tour. Of Cabello, Bazzi says she’s a “kind-hearted person.” Did they get to spend much time together while on the road?
“Yeah, we got time to kick it,” he says, though both of them were quite busy with performing and promotional duties while on tour. “She's such a cool girl, honestly. When both of us get free time, we're definitely gonna get back in the studio and work on some stuff.”
When the Pop Shop spoke with Bazzi, it was July 17, before he and Cabello announced their “Beautiful” collaboration on July 31. Cabello is hopping on to a remix of the Cosmic track, which is due out on Aug. 2. That said, Bazzi’s mention of aiming to "get back in the studio” could give fans hope that further collaborations might be in the works.
After Bazzi wrapped his opening gig for Cabello in early May, he headed out on the road for his own solo tour, which has dates lined up through Aug. 8. He’ll then join Timberlake from Aug. 13 through Aug. 29 on the European leg of his Man of the Woods Tour.
Weirdly enough, Bazzi was invited to join Timberlake’s tour a few days after encountering the pop star by chance in the Bahamas -- but didn’t speak to him.
Bazzi says he was eating dinner at a resort on vacation, “and there were literally two groups of people there” -- Bazzi and his family and friends, and then Timberlake and his wife Jessica Biel, apparently on vacation.
Bazzi says no words were exchanged between him and Timberlake. “Nothing. Nothing. Not a single word, not one word to each other. We both just ate our food and I didn’t want to bother him… I definitely was not gonna walk up and mess with their vibe.”
And then, perhaps by Cosmic chance, “two or three days later, he asked me to open up for him on his tour.”