I just got off the phone with the oh-so-charming singer Bushwalla, who's performing at the Belly Up on Feb. 9. The singer brought insight, humor and a passion for life to the interview. Here are a few highlights:
Isabel Wang: You're originally from Cleveland -- why did you decide to move to San Diego?
Bushwalla: I once heard a song that went “Move to New York, but leave before you get too hard, move to California, but leave before you get too soft.” I lived in New York before, so -- you tried one, now let’s try the other. Also, the weather in Cleveland wasn’t too appealing. On the trip over, I got into a car accident, and it ruined all the savings I had -- instead of settling in, I had to pick up a job instantly.
IW: What was your first show here in San Diego?
B: The Java Joe’s Coffee Shop, Thursday nights for five weeks. It took me about six months to get on my feet. I lived in my car and then in the coffee shop. Customers would wake me up in the morning from the couch and ask me to make them coffee. But I felt like that was where I was supposed to be. Live life in chapters … this is the chapter to live in a car and have an open mike … fine-tune it over the years.
IW: What was your favorite and most memorable show in San Diego?
B: It’s hard to say. I did a show in 2009 at the civic center -- there were about 20,000 people there. I love the Belly Up, so many shows -- my most memorable shows are the ones where community comes together. There was a Feeding the Soul Foundation show where we raised $10-20K one night, all 30 community members worked on this CD, 11 artists, and Jason [Mraz] and I co-hosted it. It was about 400 people, and they were all there to raise money. Also, shows at Java Joe’. I love to perform, and I think it’s an honor and it’s always an experience. It’s a privilege and responsibility. Say something and have a blast … actually, this interview is actually the favorite thing I’ve ever done [laughs].
IW: What is your favorite thing about San Diego?
B: My favorite thing is that the people are really great in San Diego. They are extremely caring, and in San Diego, people have a tendency to look through community eyes. That’s inspiring to me. I love the weather and I love the waves. I like to watch the surfers because I’m not a skilled surfer. I met some of my best friends in the world in San Diego, and some of my best experiences and opportunities, and I’m grateful for everyone, all the folks. The biggest compliment in the world is to touch somebody, and San Diegans allow me a space of expression. I cherish that.
IW: Any last words?
B: Come to the show, and thank you, San Diego, for the opportunity of creative expression and thank you for a home and friendship!
Get your tickets for the Wednesday night show here.