Bilal: 5 Things to Know About the Singer Who Crushed BET's Prince Tribute

Bilal's performance of Prince's "The Beautiful Ones" will leave you wanting more from this Philly native.

ICYMI, Bilal, along with Erykah Badu, just paid tribute to Prince in the most incredible way at the 2016 BET Awards (he sang “The Beautiful Ones” while channeling his inner Prince falsetto while rolling around on stage).

But do you know everything there is to know about the singer? Here are five fast facts about him.

1. He is a trained jazz singer
Hailing from Philadelphia, Bilal grew up visiting local jazz clubs before attending New York’s New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music for both vocals and big band

2. He has worked with some of the biggest names in music
You might recognize Bilal from Solange’s Cosmic Journey, but did you know that the singer has also worked with Beyonce, Jay Z and Dr. Dre? Impressive! 

3. He once ignored Prince (not on purpose!)
Bilal’s tribute to Prince was not his first foray with the legend. In 2001, Erykah Badu asked Bilal to sing “Soul Sister” at her birthday party. He performed a passionate rendition of the song with his eyes closed, but it wasn’t until he opened them at the end that he realized Prince was listening at the end of the stage waiting to be pulled up. Whoops! 

4. He had a nine-year hiatus from music
Unfortunately, Bilal fell off the music scene in the early oughts after splitting from his label when his album leaked online. In 2010, he opted to sign with an independent label and has been thriving ever since.

5. He wants his albums to sound like art
While most singers look toward other vocalists as their inspiration, Bilal looks to paintings. Salvador Dali inspires him, and he wants his songs to evoke the feelings of a surrealist painting. Mission accomplished. 

Watch his tribute to Prince below! 

 

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