Rob Halford has commenced work on his debut blues solo album. The JUDAS PRIEST singer is collaborating with the same team that assisted him during the making of his 2019 Christmas LP "Celestial", including his brother Nigel and his nephew Alex (son of PRIEST bassist Ian Hill).
Halford confirmed that he has started putting the blues effort together during a brand new interview with Darren Paltrowitz, host of the "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" podcast.
Asked if a blues album is still something he is interested in pursuing, Halford said (hear audio below): "It is, and I'll give you an exclusive: it's already begun. I've been working on this blues album with my brother and my nephew and friends that I worked with together on the 'Celestial' album. We had such a great time, and they're so talented. And that blues thing has never left me; it's just part of rock and roll.
"So, it's begun," he repeated. "We're slowly putting bits and pieces together. There's no timeline on it. We're kicking the tires, and I've already got some bits of ideas here and there, and they sound great."
When Paltrowitz pointed out to Halford that he is likely the only person to ever make a blues album as well as work with S/A/W, the English songwriting and record producing trio consisting of Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman (as heard on JUDAS PRIEST's cover version of the song "You Are Everything" by THE STYLISTICS, recorded in 1987), Rob said: "Keeping an open mind in music is really important. As we've said many times in PRIEST, we're well aware of what goes on around us, in metal and outside of metal. There are so many opportunities for inspiration that it's foolish to put the blinkers on and stay focused in one dimension — at least it is for PRIEST. That's why as a band, we've always been so diverse with our music. One minute we can do 'Painkiller', and the next minute, we can do 'Turbo Lover', so that moment that we had with Stock, Aitken and Waterman came out of that open-mindedness that we have."
A few years ago, Rob stated about his interest in making a blues record: "When I first became a musician in my late teens, I started to hear the extraordinary roots of the blues — Bessie Smith, Little Walter, Howling Wolf, Muddy Waters. They gave me the buzz… It's something I want to do because I want to explore what my voice can do in that wonderful world. That's how I learned to do a lot of that soaring, sweeping, and screeching. And also I discovered that I've got a voice that can go in different octaves, directions, and different kinds of projections. It's a combination of a sense of adventure and just being inspired by those guys, those wonderful singers. It's a mixture of everything but mainly a discovery of what the voice can do."
Back in 2015, Halford told Newsday.com that he was interested in recording a blues album and pursuing other non-heavy metal projects because he wanted to find out what his voice can do. He said: "I've always felt that [the blues is] very much a part of my background and musical roots. I don't know what kind of blues album I could do because there are so many different facets [to explore]. Maybe I'll just mix it up. As far as stuff out of the metal world, I'm a fan of people like Michael Bublé and Michael Feinstein. I've always been a fan of [Frank] Sinatra and Tony Bennett and Elvis [Presley]. I'd love to hear what my voice would sound like in that kind of musical mix, with wind instruments, trumpets and sax, piano, just that big-band sound."
Halford credited his vocal versatility and ability to take his voice in "different directions" as the main reason he was "so interested in trying these other opportunities." He said: I think if I had a voice that was different to what it is and was a little more in one focus, maybe I wouldn't be as adventurous about my ideas. But because my voice is able to do those different things, it's instinctive and natural to see what else I can do."
Halford will release his autobiography, "Confess", on September 29 via Hachette Books. Pre-orders are now available at Amazon.