Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA and initially developing his aptitude for music in church, it wasn’t until his father introduced him to jazz and he began attending the Philadelphia High School for Creative Performing Arts that Bilal began to envision his future in songwriting. Immersing himself in his musical education, Bilal developed his own voice and interpretation of his own writing. “I wanted to sing Jazz, play Jazz and write Jazz tunes.”
While attending the New School For Social research in New York, Bilal meshed his classical approach with the New York City nightlife, collaborating with fellow Soulquarians, The Roots, Common, Erykah Badu and Mos Deaf and with Aaron Coleman of the Spin Doctors. A demo made with Coleman lead to a record deal with Interscope and a tighter focus on his music career. His album, 1st Born Second, released in 2001, was hailed by critics though he would eschew media efforts to box him into the Neo Soul movement of the aughts.
Following the mysterious leak of the still unreleased Love For Sale, Bilal placed more focus on touring, playing “jazz-fusion/rock type funk.” A sophomore LP, Airtight’s Revenge, released under the independent label Plug Research, thrilled critics while providing listeners with a retrospective journey and an experimental fusion of jazz, hip-hop, electronic, soul and blues with themes of love, religion, politics and spirituality. His latest endeavor, a “warmer…sensual” album, A Love Surreal, is slated for release on 2/26/13.