Timothy Bloom is as smooth and honest as his music. In fact, as he tells us in the photo studio of NeueHouse Madison Square ahead of his performance, “honesty…is the most important thing in all aspects of life–friendship, music, and this conversation right now.” With a silky voice and lyrics that encompass matters of life and love, it’s no surprise why the North Carolina native has made a fruitful career as a producer, singer, and writer, the latter of which earned him two Grammys for songs he helmed for Ne-Yo and Chris Brown. The multi-talent sat down with us for an intimate chat, where he talked about the power of childbirth, walking around naked, and an inherited spirituality.
NeueJournal: What is the biggest difference between writing material for other artists and writing material for yourself?
Timothy Bloom: The big difference is I don’t mind giving songs away to other artists that I’m not going to use for myself, but songs for myself I can’t give away. This record that I’m working on right now, I can’t imagine giving it away and the songs not being for myself. The majority of the time I write music for myself, but I’m always creating and always working, writing, or producing so it’s a natural thing.
NJ: How does your religious upbringing inform who you are as an artist?
TB: My religious upbringing as an artist today has been very convoluted, as I don’t call myself a religious person. I’m much more of a spiritual person. I think my mom and dad influenced some of my spirituality since they raised us to pray and be respectful. I do believe there is a God and I do believe Jesus was the Son of God, but I don’t really get into that too much when it comes to them raising me on a religious side, because they were just great parents.
NJ: What musicians made the biggest impact on you as a child?
TB: Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Prince (RIP)…Goodness gracious, there’s a long list of amazing artists and musicians that influence my music, from gospel, to classical music, to country, to rock n roll…the list goes on.
NJ: It’s Saturday morning. What are you doing?
TB: I’m walking around the house naked. No, I’m lying (laughs), I have my kids on Saturday. But when I don’t have my kids on Saturdays I am walking around the house naked.
My kids wake me up super early and it’s interesting because they are in this very educational phase so they’re like, “Daddy, I want to do multiplication.” They are on this path of education and it’s really cool. Their mom is a teacher and I’ve been very active in their education so I’m like, “Hey let’s do some math.” They take it to a whole new level. My oldest is ten and my youngest is three. They’re very smart kids.
NJ: How old were you when you first fell in love?
TB: I first understood love when I saw my mom and my dad as who they are. When I first fell in love I was 14 years old. She broke my heart, which happens. Heartbreak teaches you to watch the mistakes we all make.
NJ: What would constitute a perfect day for you?
TB: Going to the beach. Just being in the sun and relaxing with no care in the world and taking in life. In the summer, winter, spring or fall.
NJ: What do you value most in a friendship?
TB: Honesty. For me, it’s the most important thing in all aspects of life–friendship, music, and this conversation right now.
NJ: When is the last time you laughed until you cried?
TB: I can’t remember. The last time I cried was when Prince died. I felt like one of my heroes passed. It was a mournful cry.
NJ: What, to you, is the meaning of life?
TB: Living (laughs).
NJ: What is your most treasured memory?
TB: That’s easy…it’s almost cliché. When my kids were born. To see life come out of a woman is amazing. It’s very powerful.
Featured Portrait: Ira Chernova for NeueJournal
GIF: Mr. Gif x Ira Chernova for NeueJournal