The road to music stardom is paved with wedding cover bands, restaurant gigs, and teaching guitar lessons. Nobody knows this better than Bruno Major, who has done all three. Major told Interview Magazine that shortly after leaving college, he did whatever he could to earn money for two years, including playing three nights a week in Italian restaurants for 50 pounds and a bowl of pasta. But starting in 2016, he released one song a month online, starting with the track “Wouldn’t Mean a Thing.” For the next eleven months, the hype grew for Major to the point where he was able to release the songs as a compilation, his debut album A Song for Every Moon, in August 2017. The icing on the cake? He landed an opening gig for Sam Smith’s European arena tour this past March/April. Now that his opening stint has ended, Major promptly made his way stateside for a few summer gigs, including at U Street Music Hall.
If Major’s performance at U Hall (and at a sold-out Songbyrd earlier this year) was any indication, it’s that he’s on a rapidly upward trajectory. He has a voice meant to dominate the charts and guitar licks to soothe the soul. His performance of “Giant Steps” by John Coltrane and “Like Someone in Love” were impressive highlights - he can back up his pop appeal with something that jazz aficionados can also appreciate. It’s not far-fetched to consider Major equal parts John Mayer, Sam Smith, and Randy Newman. Randy Newman, you ask? Look no further than his performance of “Places We Won’t Walk” to understand why. He prefaced the song with an explanation that it took on a different meaning than he originally intended after his uncle passed away shortly before Major was set to perform with him in attendance. As he played the song solo on the piano, shades of Newman’s somber piano pieces and storytelling devices revealed themselves and had lots of couples holding each other tightly.
It’s easy to feel completely transported and delighted by Major and company - his songs could be relaxing and transportive at one moment, contemplative and emotional at another, and then jazzy and exciting. Major has the whole package - he can write captivating stories and impress on guitar and piano, and has some of the smoothest vocals of the up-and-coming musical class. Whether or not his future output comes in the form of a steady drip of singles or a traditional album, people should be sure to take note of whatever comes next for Bruno Major.
Bruno Major’s debut album A Song for Every Moon is out now on July Records.
Opening for Bruno Major was Eloise, who was hand-picked to be Major’s opener and piano player after she uploaded a video of herself covering one of his songs on Instagram. Although her set was a very compact 20 minutes, her solo acoustic guitar performance fit perfectly into the musical vibes and had the crowd enamored by the end.