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(Photo: courtesy of Piper Ferguson)

Beyond Bushwalla

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By Bobbie DeBoer

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

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(Photo: courtesy of Piper Ferguson)

Those are the words that inspired the artist known as Bushwalla to re-claim his given name of Billy Galewood and establish a new direction for his music, his performances and his life.

“Something that affected me profoundly was a ten day silent meditation retreat. I’d been feeling like something needed to change and I wasn’t working to my potential. It dawned on me that you don’t have to have a mid-life crisis and you can re-invent yourself every moment of every day. When I re-designed my life goal to be happiness versus a pre-conceived idea of what I was supposed to do, everything opened up. And one of the things was that I’d achieved amazing things with Bushwalla and I wanted to find out how to re-ignite that creative flame inside of me again. So I decided to retire my body of work. I never wanted to stop performing, I just wanted to blossom more. It’s like if you have an orange tree and you really want it to bloom, you have to trim it back. I can’t stop being me, but I could stop a way of being and get uncomfortable again and get excited again about life. What’s more uncomfortable than retiring the way you make money?”

With the help of his long-time manager, Roxanne, Billy started inventing. His first show had no music. It was improv and sketches and was eventually developed into a show called “Zero to Billy.” Every seven days he writes a new show. The show is about creating a show and at the end of each performance, Billy welcomes the audience to critique what they liked or didn’t like.

“Right now is the best time of my life. I’m not afraid to take risks and even though it can be scary, I’m happy. My fans have been incredibly supportive and I’m feeling fired up again.”

To say good-bye to his 15 year run as Bushwalla, “Ordinary Tales of Madness,” an album featuring over 40 artists including Spooner Oldham and Jason Mraz, was released earlier this month. To celebrate the album, Billy is hosting a release party on Saturday, July 2 at the Belly Up Tavern, where he will be opening for Tribal Theory. General admission tickets for the album release party are priced at $13 and $15 the day of the show.

Billy will also be presenting performance workshops throughout San Diego in the coming months. For more information, visit billygalewood.net. “Ordinary Madness” is available for purchase digitally on Bandcamp and all digital retailers.

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