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An Interview With Folk Rock Singer-Songwriter Kaz Bielinski

Singer-songwriter Kaz Bielinski is an interesting person. He grew up lip-synching to the Beatles. Then his parents got him a guitar and he started writing his own songs. In middle school, his band, The Illusions, became local celebrities. Later he graduated from UCLA, followed by a stint as a songwriting cab driver. After learning computer programming he entered the world of hi-tech. Then he got a master’s degree in clinical psychology.

He’s still writing songs, mostly about love: new love, lost love, forever love, and one-sided love. And he’s attained a much wider audience, going from local celebrity to a Top 20 recording artist.

How would you describe yourself?

Spontaneous, intense, sensitive, loyal, caring, ambitious, humorous, sometimes sarcastic and arrogant.

What do you do for fun?

We have a couple of MGs.  Production of the sports cars ended in 1980. We’re members of the Vintage MG Club of So Cal. We go on tours, rallies, etc.  They drive like go karts. Modern cars are like an appliance. You are more connected to the road in these. But my wife doesn’t like my driving. I told her, “That’s because I consider it just another form of artistic expression.” Risk averse, that’s what she is.

What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?

Photo Credit: Denise Adamo

A reoccurring problem is I don’t think of alternate interpretations or the consequences before I speak, in other words, “No filter.”  I played a club and I saw a cute girl walk in. I said, “Look at the girl in the tight jeans”.  I hurt her feelings because she thought she had to lose weight and I was pointing that out.  The bass player knew her so I bought her a drink and explained I was thinking entirely the opposite.  This has been going on a long time.  I got my mouth washed with soap in preschool.

What’s your favorite song to belt out in the car or the shower?

“Besame Mucho.” But I need to learn all the lyrics in Spanish. It is such a beautiful song.

What kind of guitar do you play?

I have a Gibson Songwriter acoustic that I write on and use for quiet gigs.  I also have a Gibson ES335 and a Fender Telecaster.

What musicians influenced you the most?

I am inspired by great songs:  “I’ll Never Find Another You” done by The Seekers,  written and produced by Tom Springfield (1964).  “Refugee” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (1980), written by Tom Petty and Mike Campbell. More recently I love a lot of songs by Adele (“Someone Like You,” “When We Were Young,” “Hello”) and Sam Smith (“Stay With Me,” “Too Good At Goodbye,” “I’m Not the Only One”).

How, if at all, do your musical influences shape and impact your music?

My influences are reflected in the sensitive and heartfelt lyrics nd memorable melodies.

How would you describe your style of music? 

I’m a singer-songwriter of folk rock with a modern twist and some ’60s throwback.

Where do you find inspiration for your songs?

I find inspiration from the relationships and events in my life. When I was younger and single, I would write about unrequited love, troubled relationships, and it was therapy for me.  Doing this would help me figure things out.  Now things are better and my songs are more positive.

What is your songwriting process?  Do the lyrics come first, or the music?

I write the tune first.  I get the verse and chorus and then write the lyrics.  I may have an idea about the topic of the lyrics but that can change. I really like good memorable melodies. I’ll have several melodies floating around in my head at the same time.

I really like your single “Tell Me True.”  How did it come about?

It’s a composite of a couple of women I knew.  One I dated for quite a while but we never seemed to get to an emotional intimacy.  Another said she loved me but had some anger management issues.  Things seemed to be going great and then she would really loose it over some small issue. Both of those relationships were hard to leave.  I think the song reflects that.

Are you working on any new songs? 

Yes. New songs are always playing in my head; all these permutations and combinations. I am thinking now about a Christmas song.

Will you be touring soon?

Nothing definite planned at the moment. I’d like to start touring.

Follow Kaz Bielinski on his website, Facebook, and Twitter.

About Randall Radic

Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.

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