Brooklyn's Andy Suzuki and Kozza Olatunji-Babumba (of Andy Suzuki & The Method) have been making music together for nearly a decade, but now with their third full-length album, The Glass Hour, a creative friendship has flowered into a formidable musical force. The pair first garnered wider attention with their buoyant, organic folk-pop album, Born out of Mischief, and soon found themselves opening for names as large as Ringo Starr, Eric Hutchinson, Joshua Radin, Marc Broussard, Delta Rae, and Tyrone Wells. Fans fell hard for their combination of a "velvet voice" (NPR) and their “deadly way with melody" (TimeOut New York). Their sinuous songwriting, which curves into eddies and unexpected shapes at every measure, is steadied by Andy's impossibly dulcet vocals, that carry us gently through as the songs toss and heave. The Glass Hour keeps all these curves and fleecy vocals, but no longer wants the limits of the folk-pop label. Instead, Andy and Kozza are aiming for nearly every place on your radio dial. There's tinseled RnB ballades like Shelter and Overtime, burning-rubber country rock like Digging My Way Out, adamant life-anthems like Fight and Fire, and the verifiably ready-to-drop pop of I Need You More. To pull off this kind of range, Andy and Kozza enlisted the production talents of LA-based Juny Mag, and also brought in big guns Dominic Fallacaro, Will Hensley, Chris Gehringer— all Grammy winners— for recording, mixing and mastering a project of its stylistic breadth.
Half-Jewish, half-Japanese, Andy hails from an eclectic background. He fell in love with music early, singing in both English and Japanese and soaking up influences from every possible direction. It wasn’t until high school, however, when he was stuck with a solo that no one else wanted to sing, that Andy leapt into developing his talent— a talent that, to this day, he hopes to never stop developing. "With us, there's always a ton of trial and error, experimentation and breakthroughs– and we want this struggle to really come through in the music. We love it when nobody, including us, knows what to expect from the next album, or even the next song." Kozza descends from musical legacy. His grandfather was Babatunde Olatunji, a Grammy-winning percussionist admired by John Coltrane, Stevie Wonder, Max Roach— and naturally Kozza himself. He became a hand-percussionist at a young age, but pursued other interests at Brown University until his musical passions were rekindled in his senior year through the overtures of a clear-eyed and particularly dogged freshman by the name of Andy. After fumbling through a few of Andy's early tunes in their first session, the two suddenly, inexplicably, magically, came into sync, "Our first time playing together didn't go very well, until Kozza played these two drum hits: immediately we both knew this had potential," recalls Suzuki.
The Glass Hour opens half-reminiscent of their previous folk-pop, but quickly shifts to stranger things, into a near-future pop that sounds like it's beaming in from the year 2019. The rhythmic intricacies still reflect the hand-percussionist half of their writing team, only with Juny Mag scaling everything up to stadium-sized dimensions. Its sensibilities hover somewhere between Jack Garratt and Michael Jackson, and nowhere is this clearer than on I Can't Live, Overtime, and— unmistakably— on I Need You More, which could easily double as a movie soundtrack to an impromptu streetdancing scene. Then, with another flick of the radio dial, we coast through stretches of soul and blues that would be the envy of Amos Lee, and hear great cloudbursts of gospel choir breaking through on Shelter and Fire. With another flick, we run from unapologetically earnest love songs like Searching and Mama Told Me to power-numbers like Fight, Digging My Way Out and Come Forward, then back again to the stripped-down, unplugged rawness of Hold You and the soul-searching bittersweetness of Forgiven. Throughout, Andy and Kozza are more than performers or songwriters; they're our tourguides through a fresh musical landscape, with unknown terrain that they themselves are clearly still giddy to discover. What we do know is that they've only begun, with 2017 already booked full with a headlining tour, a prominent spot on the Rockboat line-up, and a new name-making album in hand. The near-future has never sounded better.