Raised in the rural town of Mont-Laurier, Bazini began playing guitar as a kid, thanks partly to impromptu lessons from his dad. At age 12, soon after his parents divorced, he went to live with his grandmother and quickly immersed himself in her country-heavy record collection. “I was really inspired by Johnny Cash and started discovering more and more music, like Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen and all those Stax and Motown records,” he remembers. Like most people in his hometown, Bazini grew up with French as his first language, but took it upon himself to learn English. “All my favorite artists sang in English and I wanted to follow in their footsteps, so I figured out how to speak the language by watching TV and listening to records,” he says. By age 16 he’d started writing songs of his own, crafting all of his lyrics in English, and within a year made his onstage debut with a performance at a school variety show.
At age 18, Bazini landed a slot at a summer festival in Mont-Laurier, where local radio DJ Hugo Sabourin caught his set and soon connected him with his first manager. After releasing his debut single “I Wonder” in 2009, Bazini made his full-length debut with 2010’s much-acclaimed Better in Time. Along with premiering at no. 4 on Billboard’s Canadian Albums chart, Better in Time received platinum certification from the Canadian Recording Industry Association and scored two nominations at the 2011 Juno Awards (New Artist of the Year and Pop Album of the Year). Also certified platinum, Bazini’s 2014 follow-up Where I Belong won him another two nominations at the 2015 Juno Awards, including Album of the Year.
In creating Summer Is Gone—a bravely intimate album imbued with a bittersweet mood—Bazini drew a great deal of inspiration from looking back at his early years in making music. “That day at the festival when I met Hugo is also the day I met my girlfriend who I’ve been with ever since—so in a way it’s like my whole life started at that moment,” he says. “The past nine years have gone by so fast, with all this recording and touring, so the title of Summer Is Gone is referring to that nostalgia for a time when we were younger and things were much simpler.”
But while a certain melancholy instills many of the songs on Summer Is Gone, Bazini’s warmth as a vocalist and ingenuity as a songwriter ultimately make for an undeniably hopeful album. “After we released ‘C’est la Vie,’ there were people writing me and telling me, ‘This is exactly what I needed right now,’ which I’m so happy about,” says Bazini. “Even when the songs are a little darker, they can still help you see things in a positive way. That’s what I most want to do with my music: have that positive impact and help people to feel better.”