Bilal Sayeed Oliver grew up in Philadelphia, in a musically diverse home. He matriculated at the famed New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in NYC, immersing himself in city music culture and rubbing elbows with the likes of Common, The Roots and Erykah Badu. Bilal dropped his middle and last name, and in 2001 became a critical darling as he released his debut album 1st Born Second, which featured production by Dr. Dre, and reached #31 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart (featuring the #18 Top R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart track “Soul Sista”). Praised for his uncanny vocal range (from freeform to falsetto), Bilal was compared to Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Prince. His follow-up, Love for Sale, had an entirely different feel from his first effort, with live instrumentation and some avant-garde stylings. Before it was officially released, the album was leaked on the internet, but widespread adulation and copious downloads prompted Bilal to tour across the country. His next studio album came in 2010, Airtight’s Revenge, a highly experimental compendium of jazz, hip-hop, electronic, rock, soul, & blues. With 2013’s A Love Surreal, Bilal dipped into more sensual, bitterly romantic tones with acoustic backups. A commercial hit, it went to No. 1 on iTunes’ R&B Chart and No. 17 on Billboard’s Independent Albums Chart and No. 19 on the R&B Albums Chart. His latest, 2015’s In Another Life, is a retrospective wonder as well.