Bobby Long is the real deal. At the ripe old age of 22, this London-based singer/songwriter has already contributed to the soundtrack of a blockbuster film, released a chart-climbing single and amassed an adoring international fan-base. Until recently, his career revolved around bedroom-recording sessions and open mic nights, but all that changed after a chance encounter with Twilight’s vamp-hunk, Robert Pattinson.
“I was playing open mic nights in London and he was playing at one. There was a mutual appreciation for our music…he really loved my music.” And Pattinson really did love his music. Not only did the two quickly become close, but Pattinson presented “Let Me Sign,” a song Long co-wrote with friend Marcus Foster, to the crew at Twilight. An instant hit, the song skyrocketed Long into the heart of Twilight-mania.
But Long’s talents span far beyond those of a tween idol. Somewhere behind the Brit’s dashing good looks and sheepish English charm is a perceptive wordsmith. He channels his deepest fears and hopes into soulful folk tunes that both uplift and move to tears.
Influenced by the likes of Bob Dylan, The Band and especially Elliot Smith, the talent’s first single, “Left to Lie,” blends uncanny wisdom and youthful uncertainty in a poignant reflection on death:
“I didn’t mean to write a depressing song about death it just kind of came out that way. And only afterwards, analyzing it, it was like that. But I think it’s just life really you know. Death is kind of like a vehicle; sort of a way of explaining other things.”
Last week, Long presented his acoustic melodies to his first New York audience. After playing two sold-out shows, one at Lakeside Lounge and the other at the iconic Arlene’s Grocery (think the Strokes, REM and Jeff Buckley), Long admits he was happily overwhelmed by the American enthusiasm.
“The English are quite reserved, but over here people just come up to you and they’ll say ‘Hey! Can we have a photo?’ and I’ll go ‘Yeah sure.’ And it’s like I’m being grabbed out of the way and people are being sick and passing out. But it’s hard to get your head around. I mean, there were people from Philadelphia at the show yesterday; they traveled all the way from Philadelphia. And in London, they’re traveling from Germany and all these kind of places and that’s just hard to get into your head, that people come down to see your show.”
And while he’s humbly grateful for his fans’ support, Long stresses that he wants to be known solely for his music.
“All I want to do at the end of the day really is just write a song and play it. I’ll do an album, I want to be a musician but it’s a whole other world to what it is in my bedroom.”
But he is ready for that other world. Come July, the musician will commence a multi-city U.S. tour and talks of an album are in the air. However, like the modest English boy that he is, Long bashfully downplayed the excitement:
“I’ve got like a ten track…just a collection of songs. It’s not like an album. It’s more like a big EP that I recorded in my bedroom. It’s very good, honest music. Yeah it’s great.”