Since picking up a guitar at the same age he was imagining himself as a guitar hero, Bazzi has looked to the “eccentric” music of the ‘80s and ‘90s to help him find his sound (also citing Michael Jackson and Led Zeppelin as influences). Yet, he's certainly found his own lane with his emotionally connected songs, and his uniqueness is starting to be recognized thanks to his latest single, "Mine."
Although Bazzi isn’t quite on stadium stages or at an MJ-level just yet -- nor does his R&B influenced, guitar solo-less pop music really emulate the classic rock dreams of his early days -- judging by the rapid success of “Mine" he could very well be on his way to rocking arenas as a pop star. The Detroit-born, LA-based singer has seen “Mine” garner more than 55 million streams on Spotify alone, and the song is currently sitting at No. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 only three weeks after its debut on the Feb. 3-dated chart.
What’s contributing to making “Mine” a high-speed hit? One could assume it has something to do with a viral meme that features the first line of the song (“You so fuckin’ precious when you smile”) and an unexpected explosion of heart emojis on the beat drop. If you ask Bazzi himself, though, he’ll likely argue that it has something to do with his universal approach to writing it.
“’Mine’ was interesting because it was about the way that someone made me feel so loved -- so beautiful, so special, so accepted,” he explains. “I knew that it was deeper than just writing a song about that. I knew that I could take that exact feeling and direct it at people, and not just that person. I could make songs to make people feel that love and acceptance. In such a sad, insecure world, I knew the power of what that could do for people.”
The song’s deeper meaning could be attributed to Bazzi’s emotion-based recording process, because as he puts it, “music is feeling." As he said about “Mine” specifically, he was passionate about helping people feel his positivity – especially because he could sometimes use it himself.
“I use music like therapy sessions,” he admits. “I’m still dealing with a lot of the things my fans are going through, like feeling alone, feeling anxiety. There’s moments I go through day to day because I’m human. I think the diversity in my music is going to help people relate to that.”
Perhaps it's also the song’s short-and-sweet delivery that's making it soar. At just over two minutes in length, the song -- which doesn’t even have a bridge -- almost feels like it's over before it begins. But as Lil Pump has proven with the success of the 2-minute-and-4-second smash "Gucci Gang," sometimes that's what makes the magic.
“I think it almost forces the listener to hear the whole thing,” Bazzi says of the song’s run time. “I wanted people to really dissect what I was saying in those two minutes rather than giving them a little too much. I definitely think there’s something special and revolutionary about that.”
Once listeners do dissect what Bazzi is saying, they’ll hear verses that are both sweet (“Girl, I lose myself up in those eyes”) and crafty (“Even when it's rainy all you ever do is shine”). His personal favorite line comes about halfway through when he declares, “I’m so fucking happy you’re alive,” and his reasoning is as simple as the song itself: “People gotta hear that.”
Simple or not, the fast climb on the charts and streaming numbers are enough to prove that “Mine” is resonating. And along with fans, the song has already caught the attention of another singer-songwriter familiar with having a hit "Mine," Taylor Swift, as well as K-pop phenoms BTS, who gave Bazzi praise on social media. Swift put “Mine” first on her recent “Songs Taylor Loves” Spotify playlist, and BTS tweeted his single art, which was “Liked” 600,000 times – both things Bazzi couldn’t believe.
“I’ve always had such a high level of respect for Taylor Swift because she writes all of her music,” he gushes. “She’s done so much of this on her own, which is something I’m so passionate about doing myself -- such a special feeling for me. And BTS’ shout-out was insane. I noticed a whole new group of international fans [from it], which was so cool.”
All-star shout-outs and chart ranks aside, the best part of Bazzi’s sudden success has nothing to do with accolades. And if he does get to play stadiums one day, he’ll know the superstardom started exactly the way he hoped.
“Over anything, it’s just cool that people are finding a home with somebody or something and finding a safe place where they can turn on my music and connect,” he says. “I’m spreading that love and acceptance so quickly. That’s a feeling I can’t even explain.”
A version of this article was published in the Feb. 17 issue of Billboard.