Just two and half years ago, Stephen Bruner — the artist otherwise known as Thundercat — said he never thought his voice would ever overshadow his virtuoso six-string bass guitar playing. Then came Drunk, the standout album he released this year, which put his vocals and songwriting at the center of the frame.
Bruner spotlights a range of vocal cameos on the album, by artists like Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, Pharrell and Kendrick Lamar. A few of those songs landed him an endorsement from Dave Chappelle, and multiple appearances on late-night network talk shows.
On this Checkout podcast, Thundercat talks about the disorienting blare of attention, the many meanings behind the album’s name, and how as a teenager he often found himself in the “Friend Zone” with female schoolmates.