One of the many endearing things about Bruno Major is that he doesn’t seem to have any idea – really, not a single clue – what a powerful and emotionally searing singer he is. Ask Bruno about his guitar-playing and, sheepish grin out of the way, he’ll wax lyrical about an instrument he first picked up at the age of seven, and which has seen him through good times and bad, triumphs and false starts, ever since. It comes as no surprise whatsoever to learn that Bruno studied and mastered jazz guitar (studies that saw him earning a living as a session guitarist from the young age of 16). The “extra chord” that is such a hallmark of the jazz greats – and eludes so many guitarists unversed in the musical language of the genre – is a constant in Bruno’s writing, and a quality that sets him far apart from that endless stable of like-minded peers.
You can hear it in the opening bars of ‘Easily’, one of a series of tracks Bruno has released over the past six months. Just as the melody of the verse seems set to resolve itself, a detour occurs as he is ensnared by the beauty of another unorthodox chord.
It has been a prolific six months, recording, mixing and releasing music from his North West London flat that Bruno occupies with his Brother, Dot, one third of the acclaimed minimalist-pop three-piece London Grammar. To release songs in such quick succession, is not a tactic as such, rather a cathartic release that Bruno craves.
He finds it hard now, he says, to imagine a time when he didn’t write. It was suddenly so obvious; a real on-off switch moment, when he wrote his first song. “I felt like a much more complete person, more at peace, about everything.”