Following up on his stripped down cover of JMSN‘s “Cruel Intentions,” I talked with Bay Area-based songwriter Berel about his musical influences and his upcoming debut EP.
Who are your musical influences? You’ve said that you draw on music from the past—do you have any present-day influences?
I’ve been super into Anderson .Paak since Malibu dropped, Bruno Major and Sonder. All fire.
What was it like growing up in rural Northern California? How do you feel your environment influenced your perspective on life?
Northern California is a little cut off from the rest of the world like it’s a bubble, but I love it there ’cause I get to just be myself. Growing up there helped me develop a free spirit.
How has the music scene in the Bay Area shaped your vocal and writing style?
The Bay Area has mad energy, and really good people, I feel inspired by the R&B scene in the bay right now.
What made you choose to cover “Cruel Intentions” instead of another track?
The emotion in the song stood out to me as soon as I heard it, and I wanted to cover it. The vibe is so soulful and he really crushed the original performance, so I wanted to do the song justice and I like how my version is similar but different.
Can we expect some original songs from you on your debut EP?
Yeah I have a bunch of solo original material soon to be released, collabs with some dope producers and writing more music all the time. I’m loving the stripped-down soul sound so maybe will try and add one or two on the EP as well as some R&B bangers.
What do you enjoy writing about (song wise)?