Bringin’ it Backwards: Interview with Bhi Bhiman

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We had the pleasure of interviewing Bhi Bhiman over Zoom audio! 

Singer-songwriter and guitarist Bhi Bhiman doesn’t need much to ignite a fury of fascinating expressions; only the simplest of recording set-ups of guitar and vocal mics plugged into his laptop. Yet, even with such simplicity, he projects a towering voice that so urgently grabs your attention, you hang onto every word he sings. Bhiman’s latest recording, Substitute Preacher 2, features a new set of mesmerizing acoustic covers in a series that follows his wildly popular 2013 EP (volume 1) of the same name. Fans will be treated to Bhiman’s truly original takes on classic hits such as “My Best Friend’s Girl” (The Cars), “Back In Black” (AC/DC), “Magic Carpet Ride” (Steppenwolf), “Paranoid” (Black Sabbath), and “My Way” (Frank Sinatra).

Bhiman’s foray into recording covers (Substitute Preacher 1) was such a hit that his rendition of “Walk of Life” by Dire Straits garnered several sync placements, including for an Apple Watch commercial starring Alice Cooper. The track further landed in a series of Xfinitycommercials. The same year Substitute Preacher 1 was released (2013), Bhiman took the stage at Carnegie Hall for a tribute show hosted by The Roots to commemorate Prince; other special guests included Elvis Costello, Talib Kweli, and Chris Rock.

Substitute Preacher 2 revisits his passion for devouring songs written by artists he loves. For Bhiman, it’s not simply playing the piece just as the original artists’ would. He approaches covers as if it’s a standalone new song that he personally wrote himself.

Over the course of his career, Bhiman has developed a dedicated following after the release of four acclaimed studio albums. His 2019 album, Peace of Mind, launched as a podcast, with each episode revealing a new song, political theme, and a conversation with a lauded special guest, such as author Dave Eggers. Since its release, Bhiman has worked behind the scenes on diverse projects from acoustic versions of “Faith” by Galantis x Dolly Parton and “Unwell” by Steve Aoki x Kiiara featuring Rob Thomas. He has also worked with actor Keegan-Michael Key, rapper/director Boots Riley, and late iconic musician Chris Cornell.

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Bringin’ it Backwards: Interview with Hamish