The Bird And The Bee
Singer/songwriter Inara George and multi-instrumentalist Greg Kurstin, better known as “The Bird and The Bee,” have been entertaining many listeners and television fans with their catchy tunes that have appeared on several hit shows for nearly four years. After being introduced to each other in 2004, the two instantly collaborated as they were having a free session of playing non-stop jazz music with one another. Before they even knew it, the two were already writing hits that would end up being on their first EP.
In late 2006, the band released their debut EP, “Again and Again and Again and Again.” The success of their EP was mostly contributed by the release of their hit single, F*cking Boyfriend, which topped the U.S. Hot Dance Club Party charts in 2006. It was the first time ever that a song containing an explicit word in the title ever topped that same chart.
In 2007, the band released their self-titled debut studio album, which was met with generally positive reviews from music critics. Just like their previous EP, the album also included the hit song, F*cking Boyfriend, which was featured in the 2008 film Forgetting Sarah Marshall. That summer, the band opened up for English singer Lily Allen. Later that year, George and Kurstin released their second EP, “Clap Your Hands.” The album, which featured five tracks, included a rendition of the Bees Gees classic, How Deep Is Your Love?
The following year, the duo released their third EP, titled “One Too Many Hearts,” which included a rendition of the 1926 hit, Tonight You Belong With Me.
2009 marked the release of their second album, “Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future.” Following the release, the band made appearances on high profiled television shows such as NBC’s The Tonight Show and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! The album debuted atop the Billboard’s Top Heatseekers chart, and peaked at number seventy-eight on the Billboard’s Hot 200 charts. The albums most notable single, Diamond Dave, tells about a schoolgirl crush on David Lee Roth, lead singer of legendary rock band Van Halen.
Earlier this year, the band released a third studio album titled, “Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute To Daryl Hall and John Oates.” The tribute album to Hall & Oates contained eight covers of the band’s classic hits, and peaked at number fourteen on the US. Alternative Album charts.
In our exclusive interview with the indie-pop duo, “The Bee,” aka Inara George, discusses several topics such as the group’s start, origin of the name, touring with Lily Allen and much more!
Well, Greg [Kurstin] and I met through our mutual friend Mike Andrews – he produces my solo stuff. We were making my first solo record together, and he brought Greg on, and one day when we were recording everyone kind of left the room, and Greg and I just kind of played jazz songs, and just kind of had fun, and I didn’t even realize it, but we had started writing. We wrote a bunch of songs, and I didn’t even realize it, but we had a record.
Yeah, I like jazz. I’m like an amateur jazz appreciator. Greg’s kind of the real thing.
We had a different name, but it turned out someone else had that name -- The Falling Leaves, which is a line from this song "Autumn Leaves," a jazz song. We found out someone else had that name, so we had a song called "Birds and The Bees," and I thought, “Why not The Bird and The Bee?” It just sort of happened. There wasn’t very much thought put into it.
Yeah. I knew before we released anything that people were really responding to the music. Mostly my friends, but I’ve been playing music for a really long time, and all my friends like my music, but they probably wouldn’t buy it if it wasn’t me. But I got a sense that people were really enjoying this. And you’re always surprised, but of anything I’ve done, this seems to be the most universally liked.
I think that there’s something about the music that makes people happy. I don’t know why necessarily. But I think that -- I don’t know why exactly it works so well in an entertainment element -- but I know that people enjoy the music, and I think that when things are enjoyable it translates well to other mediums.
No, because I think people are fond of profanity. It wasn’t played on the radio; the most success it had was in dance clubs -- there was a remix of it. I wasn’t surprised that people liked that song because there’s a shock element to it.
I always loved David Lee Roth, and I always loved Van Halen, but I wasn’t like a huge fan, and my husband and I got tickets to see them play again in L.A. at the Staples Center. I was so blown away by David Lee Roth. Just his showmanship. I thought that if Greg and I wrote a couple days later, it would be fun to do an homage to the great David Lee Roth.
We’ve always wanted to do a cover record. We hadn’t decided on Hall and Oates, but with Hall and Oates it seemed like a good time to kind of pay them a tribute. We think that they’re such great pop-song craftsmen. So we thought it would be a fun idea, and we went with it.
Well, that was about three years ago or something. It was great. She’s a really talented girl, and Greg had worked with her. He produced all of her last record, and the record that we were on tour with her for, was her first record, and he produced a couple songs on that one. But she’s a lovely girl, very spirited, super smart and sassy.
We’ve been lucky enough to play some really cool places. We got to play Carnegie Hall, which is kind of a big intimate venue, but I think with our music, what’s fun is to have an environment with a lot of people, because it’s not an intimate show. It’s much more like a party, we like to think of it as a party. We’ve never played huge venues, like stadiums, I don’t know how I’d feel about that, but we’ve played larger venues. I think it works a little better, with a little more people.
A new record, and it’s sort of slow going. Greg and his wife had a baby a few years ago, and I just had a baby 6 months ago, so we’re taking it slow, and the new direction on the record, I think, is going to be pretty cool. I can’t really elaborate on what it sounds like yet, because we’re still in the beginning stages of it, but we’re excited.
I don’t know. We don’t have a label. So we’re just going to make it, and then see who wants to put it out, but I would think it’d be next summer.
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