If you’re familiar with the music Bobby Oroza makes, then you probably know about his love-song balladry. Or maybe you’re into the boom-bap musicianship backing him, or even still, just the general positive vibe the soulful texture of his songs leave you with after a listen.
And while this is accurate, it can only be the surface. A few layers deeper, and you’ll glimpse a Bobby that tilts heavily toward poet and seeker—maybe better understood as an artist propelled by an inexplicable desire for meaning and pushed by a worldview that seeks the common thread in all things.
Call it an evolution, call it an outpouring—but Bobby has put this desire for the profound on wax. It’s called Get On The Otherside, and it’s his latest full-length album on Big Crown Records.
Musically, Get On The Otherside has updated the formula we were introduced to on the first record. But lyrically, songs are bravely rooted in the more complicated, ubiquitous inner tangles of life: self-examination, coming to terms with oneself and the world, and how much power you can wield in your own life.
It can be hard to describe Bobby’s drive for these universal aspects of the human condition that are both widely shared and intimate. These elements have influenced, shaped, and formed Bobby Oroza forward from the start. Raised in the immigrant-populated Eastern Center section of Helsinki, Finland, Bobby was born to a Bolivian mother and Finnish father. His family, his neighborhood, and the music that coursed through it all was his cosmos.
The family record collection was a major backdrop, ranging from South American folk to Motown hits to Doo-wop crooners. His mother—a Bolivian poet and tango singer—studied and taught music in Finland and was responsible for one-half of that eclectic record collection. As a Finnish jazz guitarist and musician, his father’s albums had labels like Blue Note and Prestige on them. Bobby even remembers his father coming home from a trip through Africa, and suddenly Ethiopian and West African records had representation on the shelves. His father organized jam sessions and gatherings of local jazz musicians that unquestionably added to Bobby’s musical chops. After the first session, Bobby “really got into guitar,” learning Django Reinhardt and jazz. That, of course, pushed him next into electric guitar. Then, he dove into playing acoustic for refinement, discovering Flamenco and Brazilian styles. And all of it made Bobby a maverick of a guitar player.