Acclaimed singer-songwriter Stephen Jones, aka Babybird, is back with a new album and a tour that will bring him to Leeds once again.
‘Photosynthesis’ is out on August 16 and set to arrive just months after the critically acclaimed ‘Happy Stupid Nothing’ compilation.
Throughout this decade Jones has been quietly building himself a reputation as one of the music world’s most prolific artists and ‘Photosynthesis’ is another cohesive collection of 10 tracks, all self-recorded by Stephen.
He spent a lot of time in the 1980s making demo tapes of songs in his Sheffield bedsit. After landing a publishing deal, he released many of these tracks on a series of independently released albums, which caught the ears of the music press and conquered the indie charts. Then came a record deal, followed by a string of seven UK Top 40 hit singles during the 90s, when Babybird’s music was too maverick and eclectic to be pinned down and put into a convenient box labelled “Britpop”.
Despite this, Jones sold over 2 million records, and was nominated for two Brit Awards. Hollywood legend Johnny Depp became such a big fan that he even paid for Babybird to record the 2010 album ‘Ex-Maniac’, as well as playing guitar on a number of songs and directing a powerful music video for the single ‘Unloveable’.
As well as proving himself to be a master of accessible melodies and captivating hooks, Stephen Jones never lost his appetite for recording strange, imaginative and challenging music. It’s the sort of juxtaposition that has often been a theme in Babybird’s work.
Since launching his own Bandcamp page in 2012, Jones has reconnected with his DIY roots, exploring new styles and approaches with various other projects as well as Babybird, producing many intriguing albums, all self-recorded and self-released.
Independence has allowed him to dig deeper creatively without having to worry about commercial expectations. The rate of his output has become so prolific that many wonder just how he manages to do it.
Released earlier this year, the ‘Happy Stupid Nothing’ compilation collected together some of the best Babybird recordings from the last few years. It gained praise from BBC Radio 6Music, Virgin Radio and many other radio stations worldwide.
But while there was plenty on that collection to please the indie rock fans who gravitated towards Babybird in the 90s, Jones has never really been an indie rock musician. ‘Photosynthesis’ is definitely not an indie rock album.
While ‘Happy Stupid Nothing’ offered up a sprawling mixed bag, the new album is a fluid yet more focused record.
‘Photosynthesis’ will be available as a limited edition gatefold vinyl LP, and will be released on the RW/FF Recordings label.
In addition to the release of the LP, there will also be a number of other Babybird releases over the coming months. ‘BB / AA / LOFI Future Taste’ is a sampler containing several brand new songs, which can be downloaded FREE at https://thestephenjones.bandcamp.com/album/bb-aa-lofi-future-taster
Babybird, meanwhile, can be seen at the Brudenell, in Leeds on Friday, November 22.