Living next door to Bobby Alu

Mandy Nolan

Back from a solo international tour schedule that would have lesser men freaking out, Bobby Alu has opted out of a summer and is releasing and touring his latest suite of songs, collectively entitled Bay Sessions.

‘I’ve finished about 12 months with Xavier Rudd as his drummer,’ says Alu. ‘Its been a pretty epic past few years, and I had a couple of months’ break so I decided to embark on my own project. When it’s all happening the best thing is to roll with my own momentum!’

Alu’s album is influenced by the place he now calls home: Byron Bay. ‘I wrote the songs when I was on the road – mainly on Xavier’s tour bus as we went through Japan and Hawaii. As I live in Byron now, I met a lot of local crew, and Jordan Power had his own studio so I decided to record there.

‘We wrote and recorded and the tracks went down really smoothly and easily. Because the process was easy the tour seemed easy – we are doing Australia in one month! And while it is happening we will make the EP free!’

It’s a call that most of us have had, but what drew Bobby Alu to the Byron Shire?

‘I was born on the Gold Coast and moved to Brisbane to get more musically minded. My girlfriend works for EDO (Environmental Defender’s Office) in Lismore, and we said let’s move for lifestyle choice, and Byron became that. We have been here a year, and I am thinking that this is possibly the best choice of my life!

‘It’s great that when I am home I can be in a place like Byron. Living here is different from visiting here. It’s a really good community.

‘It’s like you move to a place and you feel you belong and that the people are similar to you and you make new friends with people who are like minded. Moving from Queensland to the northern rivers was a relief! I can understand why so many artists gravitate towards Byron.’

Alu’s time on the road playing with Rudd inspired him with his solo offering.

‘I was getting to see amazing music around the world and got to see the legacy that Xavier had built, and I was inspired to put care and concern into songwriting and the theme just happened. For me it’s about having the confidence to be myself; it’s about accepting the quirks and the weirdness in myself and others and in the people I love and owning it and doing the things I love to do.

‘A lot of my life is spent on the road, so I write on the ukulele. It’s a great touring instrument – it’s my weapon of choice and it’s how I get my ideas down!

‘I have a band that lives up and down the east coast and I have played with them for many years. I took the songs to them and we wrote a form and developed them.’

Alu does not take his career as a musician for granted. ‘I treat it as a privilege. Being able to deliver your music live anywhere is an honour and it can be tough; sometimes the most amazing music doesn’t always get out there, so when you have that opportunity you have a responsibility to do a good job, to make sure you give it everything.’

Bobby Alu’s full generous life-inspired performance will be onstage with his band at the Hotel Brunswick on Sunday for the Sunday Sessions.


For a free download of the EP go to

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