Louis Baker

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With an astute eye for lyrical detail, a rich vocal tone that harks back to classic Motown-era soul and a direct and expressive guitar style, singer-songwriter Louis Baker was one of the most promising new talents to emerge in recent years. After wowing audiences as opening act of choice for The Thomas Oliver Band, and as part of new generation super-group Brockaflowersaurus-Rex & The Blueberry Biscuits, Louis moved into the spotlight as a solo artist.

Prizing the intimacy and immediacy of performing solo with his guitar, Louis sings openly and honestly about his life, exploring the big themes – love, loss and a life unfolding – all the while keeping the energy and interaction front and centre for his audience. He has opened for both legendary locals Hi-Tek, & Fat Freddy’s Drop and incredible Chicago brass band The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. Around this time he was accepted to attend the 2012 edition of The Red Bull Music Academy in New York City.`

Louis Baker has been chosen to attend the 2013 Red Bull Music Academy in New York city. He plays live in the studio.

Along with solo work, Louis was also part of ‘Vanilau, Maxwell, Baker’, a Crosby, Stills and Nash styled group with Mark Vanilau and one of Baker’s heroes, Warren Maxwell, who personally invited him to join the group. “I was truly floored when I first heard him sing. His voice is a conduit for pure emotion and the maturity of his songwriting completely contradicts his age. There is a soulful path written already for this gifted minstrel.” – Warren Maxwell.

After being selected for the 2012 edition of The Red Bull Music Academy in New York City, Baker’s 2014 EP was recorded in a North London studio with Andy Lovegrove, the producer behind Breaks Co-Op and Supergrass. One of those songs ‘Back on my Feet’ was a finalist for the 2014 Silver Scroll…

Wellington singer/songwriter Louis Baker joins Emma Smith in the studio for a taste of his debut E.P. Louis Baker, and tells of meeting producer Just Blaze, and the hook that got away…

From NZ Live in 2014, Louis joins Simon Mercep for a chat and a few songs before he embarks on short tour of Australia…

In 2015, as part of the ‘Pukeahu National war memorial’ opening ceremony Louis played his song ‘Love’ which has been a project two years in the making. No less than 500 people attended the memorial’s official opening ahead of the ANZAC centenary commemorations. You can find out more about the opening here. In 2016 Louis was chosen to participate in Auckland’s SongHubs. SongHubs brings three of the world’s best songwriters to Auckland and teams them up with some of our most promising home-grown talent for five days of intensive song-writing. Louis can be seen in photographer Amanda Ratcliffe’s photo essay here.

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[Transcript]
Who’s Next
by Martyn Pepperell

23 year old Wellington soul singer and guitarist Louis Baker has that classic Kiwi air. He’s one of those relaxed, earnest bros with a smile for
everyone. Blessed with a richly toned voice known to make grown men cry, an astute eye for lyrical detail and competent guitar chops, in 2013 Baker is really coming into his own. A member of both local nine piece soul ensemble Brockaflowersaurus Rex 8: The Blueberry Biscuits and Vanilau-Maxwell-Baker (with Mark Vanilau and Warren Maxwell), this summer he has also been busy on stages playing solo or with his small band. Capping off a year which saw him secure management, get accepted into the Red Bull Music Academy and start recording with respected New Zealand producers like Benny Tones, Paddy Fred and Julien Dyne, Baker is in a good place. “Things have changed for me in a big way over the last year,” he reflects. “I’ve seen the potential within myself and realised I could really and truly go well if I choose to.” Having been active on the Wellington circuit for a few years now, opening for acts like The Thomas Oliver Band and playing low-key sessions at The Southern Cross Garden Bar, Baker finally found the direction he needed when he connected with his manager, Cushla Ashton of Ashton Road. “Before I met Cushla I was just doing a lot of small gigs that weren’t necessarily achieving much for me,” he admits. “I’ve started to learn a lot more now, and learn a lot faster.” Deservedly catapulted into the position of opening for the likes of Fat Freddy’s Drop and The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, plus playing with Vanilau and Maxwell, Baker has been placed directly next to some ofthe key local musicians who inspired him in his late teens. In the process he’s beginning to form his own philosophies on creativity. “I think the most influential, unique people in our history have always been those sort of people who can’t put something down,” Baker muses. Through his fledgling successes, he’s also realising how much he has left to learn. “I’m becoming wise to the fact that I don’t know anything, which I think is one of the wisest things you can realise in your life”

Louis Baker returns to RNZ’s studio in Wellington, two years after his last visit to share some new music…

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In mid 2016 Louis began to drop hints that some new music was on the way, songs written and recorded with new friends and collaborators, and which reflect new experiences. First up seems to be ‘Rainbow’, written in New Zealand, recorded at Red Bull Studios in London with The Nextmen’s Brad Ellis…

Louis acknowledges the early influences of albums like Fat Freddy’s Drop’s Based on a True Story and Home Land and Sea by Trinty Roots, as he discusses with Nick Bollinger…

Profile adapted from Amplifier. ‘Who’s Next’ from Rip It Up, No. 351 Feb-Mar 2013. Used with permission.

Last edited: 25.08.16

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