30 Seconds: Sweet Baboo

Do you have a passion for eccentric, singer songwriters? Then meet Sweet Baboo, a man who pens tunes as weird as they are wonderful.

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 26 Sep 2012
  • min read
Daniel Johnson, Euro Childs and Slow Club - if one thing connects them, apart from the fact they write idiosyncratic, predominantly acoustic pop songs, it’s Sweet Baboo. This Welsh troubadour has either toured or worked with all three artists over the last few years while also finding time to pen three solo albums.

Baboo aka Stephen Black’s latest record I'm A Dancer / Songs About Sleepin' was shortlisted in the inaugural Welsh Music Prize in 2011 while his music has seen him perform at events such as Glastonbury, Latitude, Green Man and SXSW. He’s also recorded numerous sessions for BBC 6 Music's Marc Riley, Huw Stephens and Stuart Maconie

Ships, his new full length album, is due out in 2013.

How long have you been making music?

I’ve been making music since I was about sixteen or seventeen. I always wanted to call my school band Sweet Baboo but none of my friends did. When we split up I thought it was a good as name as any. That was about 14 years ago. 

What inspired your new album?

Lyrically, I wanted it to be less weary than previous albums. Musically, I wanted it to reflect my love for Dexy's, Motown, Neutral Milk Hotel, or anything loud, brash and brass heavy. I just wanted to make a fun pop record.

What process do you go through to create your music?

I normally get a single line or lyric that I like, which repeats in my head, then about two weeks later I lock myself away and flesh it out. At the moment they all tend to be in A major.

How would you describe your sound?


What would your dream collaboration be?

Maybe something obvious like Paul McCartney during his early seventies era. We'd attempt to make a dance record.

Where can we catch you performing next?

I'm on tour with my friend Cate Le Bon at the moment over in the states but I'll be back in Britain sometime during early October. The first gig back is on the 12 October at the London Palladium. All other gigs are listed on my website.