It's all about letting the music decide where it takes you.
If you ask Byron Bay’s Bobby Alu what his music sounds like, he’ll tell you how he hopes it makes you feel: like you have your favourite drink in hand, sipping as the sun sets on a balmy evening that’s laden with the promise of adventure. In an ideal world, he’d follow summer around the earth, in his endless quest to nail that feeling in his songs.
For Bobby it’s all about letting the music decide where it takes you - creatively and physically - and following the threads of curiosity large, small and often strange. It’s playing ukulele with old friends at the local market in exchange for a box of vegetables, because how weird is it to improvise along to people buying bananas at 7am on a Tuesday? It’s going to Ghana with just a hunch and a WhatsApp number to track down the rhythms that lit up his heart. It’s touring the world for five years as Xavier Rudd’s percussionist, learning how to be in service to the vibe of a room, and how to make the jump to being an international performer in his own right. It’s honouring his Samoan heritage through sharing the stage and releasing an EP with his mother to connect with the language of her homeland. Always, it’s about being open to discovery: if you choose music, you choose it all.
Across multiple releases – starting with the deep grooves of his self-titled debut album in 2010 (Triple J Radio - Roots ’n All Top 10), and continuing through to Flow in 2019 (#1 Independent Album Charts - Australian Independent Record Labels Assoc. / Double J Radio - Feature Album), Bobby’s musicianship has flourished as exponentially as his spirit of inquisitiveness and collaboration.
The beautiful fusion of rhythms, effortless harmonies, and storytelling that weaves instrumentation and influences from his Polynesian ancestry has remained at the core of his work. And as Bobby’s songwriting skills have continued to mature and evolve, the music fans have been gifted in recent years has perfectly reflected an artist who is consistently taking steps forward into dynamic new creative territory.
As he enters a new chapter in 2023 with the fresh single Do It - a tidy three-minute coastal pop reminder to actively move in the direction of your dreams - Bobby’s music remains marked by capturing the feeling of enjoyment in its purest form. Since the beginning, he has chosen to spread positivity, without glossing over the hard stuff; invitational and expressive, it has brought his global audience a sense of community. A new album is in the works; it’s taking the time it takes. There’s a thread to follow in the form of an immersive rhythm quest to the Cook Islands first. Bobby can’t tell you what the body of work will sound like yet, though you can bet it’ll make you feel good.