A supernatural musical connection was realised the day busker, Eric Burton sang ‘some gibberish’ down the phone to guitarist and producer, Adrian Quesada. Together, they are the Grammy Award-nominated Black Pumas. Headliner hotfoots it to Rough Trade Records to meet the formidable musical force destined to fill out much bigger venues.
The day the 2020 Grammy Award nominations are announced, I hear what surely must be a timeless soul song blazing over the airwaves. A track that makes you stop what you’re doing and listen, Colors turned out not to be a quintessential ‘70s Blues track that had seemingly escaped my ears’ attention my whole life, but the second single to come from Austin-based psychedelic soul band, Black Pumas.
Fronted by singer Eric Burton and guitarist and producer, Adrian Quesada, the duo formed in 2017 after Quesada found the singer he had been searching for in Burton, who at the time was busking in Austin, Texas. A friend of Quesada’s happened to pass Burton’s busking spot, and wasted no time in recommending him. A call was set up, and Burton sang down the phone – although it took him a while to get round to it.
Meeting the duo at London’s Rough Trade Records directly after a mini set and packed vinyl signing session, Quesada and Burton remember how they started out:
“I sent Eric a few instrumentals to get the collaboration going,” Quesada recalls. “I checked out his songs, and I had already recorded some of my own. I'm like, ‘hey, here's the vibe’. It took a couple of weeks for him to get back to me at first, and I was like, ‘Man, this guy's not into it!’ But eventually, he called me and he sang Fire. He was playing in the background and singing, and I was driving to a gig. I couldn't hear it that well, but the whole energy behind it and the vibe…I was like, ‘man, this guy's incredible!’ I loved the whole interaction.”
A studio session was eventually set up, where they recorded Fire and Black Moon Rising – both which are featured on their self titled debut album, released in 2019.