Interview: Corbin Dooley

Corbin Dooley is a fantastic artist based in LA, creating awesome folk songs with more than a hint of reggae thrown in. His track, Sweet Bird Of Freedom, really caught my attention, and I wanted to find out more. If you missed the track, a full stream can also be found at the bottom of this interview.

By Jane Howkins

You recently released a single titled Sweet Bird Of Freedom. What can you tell us about the track?

Sweet Bird Of Freedom is a reggae influenced love song featuring joyful vocals from pop artist Dawn. The song uses a metaphorical bird to describe the journey to finding your soulmate, referenced in “two hearts that beat in tune.”

How has the reception to Sweet Bird Of Freedom been so far, and where can the song be purchased?

The reception has been enthusiastic and welcoming, and the song is available on all platforms online.

Do you plan to release any more singles in the near future?

Yes. There were multiple singles from the same album, titled Rocksteady, and I have scheduled several single releases in 2024.

You released a new album in July, titled Rocksteady. What can you tell us about the album, and how has it been received by your fans?

The album has received a warm response, and I’m overjoyed that the songs have been connecting with listeners. Rocksteady is a vibrant and captivating alternative cannabis-tinged reggae album. Opening track Catalyst Moment sets the tone for the record with its encouraging message: “Don’t forget to lean into your fears, don’t forget there’s no more time for tears.” 

The album explores themes of self-love, healing and growth, with tracks Breathe Deep and Underground River providing moments of introspection and solace, dispersed alongside the fun and joy of Won’t Let You Down and the catchy Sweet Bird Of Freedom. Co-writer/producer Nick Poortman expertly guided the record through its development, and we were fortunate enough to include vocalists and collaborators such as Dawn, James Sáez,  Brian Lopez, Antonio Sol, Mike Bazini and Sue Hitzmann, as well as a brilliant backing band of Sam Platt, Eddie Moore and DeAndre Manning. 

Have you started writing for your next EP/album yet? What is the writing and recording process like for you?

My writing and subsequent releases have focused on the different stages of dealing with trauma. I am influenced by, and I create in various genres. My first album, Affection, is a collection of dark electronic songs in the style of Matthew Dear and Trent Reznor. My second album, Western Trauma, was produced by Vance Powell, and resonates as an alternative-country album.  My third album, Rocksteady, brings uplifting positivity to the forefront. I’m currently finishing my fourth album, which leans into hard rock, in the style of Architects & Deftones

Sweet Bird Of Freedom has a reggae/ska sound. What/who influences you most as an artist? What have you been listening to recently?

Thank you for noticing! My influences for the Rocksteady album included Jack Johnson, Michael Franti, as well as classic reggae pioneers. I listen to and find inspiration in everything from Waylon Jennings to Mastodon, and from Miley Cyrus to Modeselektor

You’re from Los Angeles. What is the local music scene like at the moment?

I admire local artists Barbara Schucko and Dylan Dunlap, who continue to carve their own independent artistic paths here. The culture of underground electronic music resonates with me; I recently performed with my electronic group Ramleak at a warehouse rave in downtown Los Angeles.

Do you have anything else exciting coming up this year?

I’m fortunate to continue my role as creative director of boutique label Bikiniwax Records. I’m excited about the artists we collaborate with, including Amparo and We Are PIGS. We’re also in the final stages of the creation of the Ramleak album!

Do you have any tour dates lined up for the UK?

Hopefully soon.

Any last words for the fans?

As I sing on Underground River from the Rocksteady album, “sadness can coexist with happiness.” In our intense world, I am hopeful that this album can bring solace and peacefulness to your life.