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Bazzi exploded onto the scene with viral single after viral single, including 2017’s “Mine” followed by “Beautiful” months later, but it’s not until this year where he’s finally come into his own: discovering what self-love and happiness mean to him both personally and professionally. Boasting billions and billions of streams, the multi-Platinum singer-songwriter carves his own lane in the music industry, creating heartfelt pop anthems for audiences all around the world.

Hailing from Canton, Michigan but now calling sunny Los Angeles home, Bazzi has made it a point to gift his fans incredible bodies of work, from his Platinum-selling debut album Cosmic to his critically-acclaimed mixtape, SOUL SEARCHING, released back in 2019. With features with 6LACK, 21 Savage, and even a “Beautiful” remix with Camila Cabello, Bazzi showcases his ability to transcend genres… but the work never stops.

While his accomplishments have yet to run dry, with endless chart-topping hits and multiple plaques to celebrate, Bazzi is currently in album mode, ready to come back and replenish music-lovers with those timeless records we’ve been missing amidst his absence. First up is his most recent single “I Like That,” an uptempo, feel-good track that will not only have you moving on the dance floor and appreciating the small things in life. The new release also marks the start of a new era for the young superstar. 

Following our previous digital cover with Bazzi, Flaunt caught up with Bazzi at his favorite store in Los Angeles to discuss the making of “I Like That,” shooting the visual with his friends, returning back to his pop roots, what he learned about himself throughout the pandemic, his love for the outdoors, fashion inspo and close friendship with A$AP Nast, his only goal, and more.

How have you been?

I’m good! I’m excited. I’m excited to get more music out. Drop more music, see some people.

I was bumping “I Like That” in the car on the way over. What does it mean to have the single out? 

It means a lot. It makes me even more eager, because once again I’m so excited to share everything. Everything is a part of this big story. It feels really good to get something new out to people, especially a song that’s so positive. It has a lot of light to it. 

What was the vibe when you made the song?

We made “I Like That” in Malibu, maybe 5 or 6 months ago. We were on a writing trip. It had such a special groove to it.

How does this single mark the return of a new era for you?

It does to a scale. We were looking at a lot of the music we had and what we wanted to come back with first. We thought “I Like That” was important because it’s like a bridge. It’s got some similarities to my older music, but it’s also opening up to let you know that I am trying different things and rhythms. But even saying that, I still can’t even explain what’s to come.

Are you expanding into genres that we haven’t heard before? 

Honestly, I think I’m less expanding. I’m coming back to pop, but in a very classic way. Not the pop you’ve heard in the last 20 years, but my own idea of what the future of pop is.

“Mine” is just such a timeless record for you and everyone that loves music. How is it going to differ

Melodically, it’s got a lot of the similar qualities of the way I write and the way the lyrics always put you in a place. The melodies are always very nostalgic but it differs definitely sonically, the way the drums hit, the way the bass hits, the musicality of the production. 

How have you evolved both personally and musically?

We’re all forced to evolve in our own ways during the last year and a half. The pandemic was a rough time for everybody. Anytime things are bad, you’re given a real serious chance to grow and to learn. I did a lot of that in that time. Just learning more, even outside of music and my career. What’s really important to me is being a human being. 

What did you learn about yourself?

Man, so much. I learned that happiness isn’t rooted in what you do or what you put out to people, but the type of man you are to your friends and your family. What you fill your day with, the way your body feels physically, all that stuff. It’s much more important to be at peace than to chase success and happiness, just be calm and still. 

I see you out in nature a lot. Do you like the outdoors?

Yeah, I love the outdoors. It’s been a struggle living in LA. LA’s very green, but it’s also very built. Like we’re right here in the middle of the mountains, but there’s a road. There’s all these things like cords and everything’s locked in. I realized I would like to live somewhere that has a little more untapped nature. A little more Earth, no wires. Just a big forest.

Do you know where? 

I don’t know man. Honestly, I’ve been spending some time in Topanga Canyon or the mountains of Malibu. It’s pretty cool over there, but I also miss the East Coast: the storms, thunder, snow, and seasons. 

Do you miss Michigan? 

Yeah, I do miss Michigan. Growing up there with all the perspective and seasons that it offers, it’s a really beautiful place that I really didn’t appreciate. I don’t think you can really appreciate anywhere you’re from until you go out and see the world, get some perspective.

What are your go-to spots in LA? 

This spot where we’re at right now, I don’t want to expose it. We can’t expose this spot. Dude honestly, I do the same shit here. I guess my house is home base. A lot of different spots in Malibu I like to try to go out and see.

What was your creative vision with the “I Like That” video? I know you said it’s your favorite one you’ve done so far. 

I was working on the idea 5 months ago and was building with a different director. I had a vision from the tower: I wanted to show visually how I wanted the song to affect people, change their mood and make them dance. It didn’t necessarily go the right way with the first director. I brought the idea to Christian and he totally had the right spin and play on it, flipped the idea around a little. He’s really talented, Christian’s absolutely crushing it right now.

Where did you guys shoot it? 

We shot it in Arcadia. It was 120 degrees outside the day we shot it. I was afraid we weren’t going to be able to do it but we pulled it off. I got to shoot it with all my friends, which was really cool. Literally, everyone in the cast were close personal friends to me so getting to shoot with them was really really cool. Building that whole vision with them was cool. 

How does it feel for them to pull up for you? In Arcadia, which is a little ways out.

Yeah, it’s deep. It means a lot. Honestly that day, I had a whole separate gratitude besides the music and shooting the video. To have so many people that care to help me, help me reach my dreams and my goals, it’s a special feeling. 

I love the shot where you’re performing on the rooftop, there’s butterflies and lights. How did that feel?

It was cool. At that time when we did that shot, it was obviously all green screen. It was cool to do it and imagine what it was going to be, play out that process building the whole world inside the video. It was cool.

What was your reaction when you watched it back? 

It took a lot of work honestly, so it wasn’t immediately right. So my first reaction was stress,   worrying about time, etc. 

Do you have a hand in the editing process?

For sure, yeah. I’m very involved to make sure it’s following my vision. Honestly, after this music video, I learned I really am into shooting things practically. I want to try and avoid visual effects in the next video. When you shoot it practically, you know what it’s going to look like. Set it up, not have to pay the special effects person. But it was a special video, it turned out good.

Have you been able to hit the road or perform?

I did my first show back for Z100 weeks ago, real intimate. It was a small radio show, a couple hundred people. It was really cool to see everybody again, it’s been so long. My last show before that was almost 2 years ago. 

Did you get to perform “I Like That”?

I did. I had to perform it acoustically, so I didn’t get to include a lot of that song. The importance is in the musicality of the drums and everything. But it was really cool. 

I love seeing all your fits on the gram. Where do you get your fashion inspo from?

Man, so many different places. Honestly recently, I’ve been spending a lot of time with A$AP Nast. He’s the forefather for so much fashion you see publicly. So many people are inspired by A$AP Nast, across the board from every genre. A lot of the way fashion is totally credited to him. I’ve been spending time with him man, he’s a very encouraging guy. He encourages you to walk your own path artistically on the fashion scale, so he helped me a lot with my fashion. 

How did you guys meet?

Just in the city, I honestly don’t even know. We met through just hanging out.

What outfit do you have on today? Are those Rick Owens on your feet?

Yeah, the Rick Owen boots. This is some vintage shirt. These are my buddy Sam Dameshek’s sweats called Wish Me Luck.

I just interviewed him! Small world, he launched his coffee book. Have you shot with him? 

Yup, I was there for it. I was inside, very drunk somewhere. [laughs] He shot my earlier covers. When I put out “Why” after “Mine,” he shot the cover for that. He shot the cover for a couple of stuff, I’ve been buddies with him for super long. 

How long have you been in LA? 

7 years now. 

And you’re itching to move? 

Not necessarily. A lot of my work is done around here, but I definitely wouldn’t mind some perspective. Find a new place, meeting some new people who maybe aren’t in entertainment. Go on drives, do normal stuff. 

What is your ideal day off?

Man, that’s a good question honestly because I had a lot of them during quarantine. I’m sick of the days off. My days off are doing something productive for my mental health – getting a massage or going for a long walk, or doing something I put off. When you do this job, you’re very busy. A lot of things for you get put on the backburner. A good day is something out of my personal checklist for myself. 

You have dogs too, right? 

No, I don’t. We foster dogs a lot, but I don’t have [my own]. Honestly, I really want one and I tried for a while, but all the dogs I’ve fostered are dogs I wouldn’t be able to take care of. The last dog I fostered was this Huskey. They’re big and they need a lot of attention. It’s not the right dog for me, I need something smaller. 

Who are you listening to? Who are your top artists in rotation?

Honestly, a lot of older stuff. A lot of older music recently, but there’s been so much hype around Olivia Rodrigo. She’s so big right now and I’ve never really listened to her music. I listened to her stuff, she’s so good. She had 5 #1’s in the last year. She’s cool, she’s got so many good songs. She’s obviously a really talented songwriter. 

What can we look forward to with your unreleased music? Are you working on an album? 

Yeah, I’m working on an album. A lot of it’s finished, music around the corner. There’s a name but I can’t disclose it. There might be a few [features], keeping it all on lock over here.

Goals for yourself at this point of your career?

I used to have a lot of goals, but I only have one goal now. My only goal is to love everything I’m making. I don’t really care about anything else because it hasn’t been that way for me. Even with the success, I haven’t loved everything I’ve made: video-wise, performance-wise. You’re stuck with that, I’m not feeling in love. My only goal now is to only do things I love, don’t compromise. 

I interview a lot of artists where they’re so sick of their biggest hits. Is that the case with you? 

Honestly, I’m not necessarily sick of the music. Maybe some of the creatives surrounded around them. Sometimes, I wish I told a totally different story. That’s always been one thing: I’ve always loved the music I’ve made. That’s one thing I’ve checked off. Now the next steps for me is creating my world around it, the way that I want it to. Love everything that exists.

Anything else you want to let the people know? 

I’m grateful for the support. If you’re a fan of me, you’re gonna be really happy when this other music comes. Stay tuned, a lot of cool stuff coming. 

One thing you want people to get from “I Like That”? 

I hope all my music takes you out of the madness of your own personal lives, all the shit that we all have going on. I just want to allow you to go somewhere else for a second, and to feel what I intended you for you to feel. Just enjoy yourself.