Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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Feature

Aloe Blacc: The Ideas Man

Aloe Blacc @bluesandsoul.com
Aloe Blacc @bluesandsoul.com Aloe Blacc @bluesandsoul.com Aloe Blacc @bluesandsoul.com Aloe Blacc @bluesandsoul.com

With new single "The Man" already topping the UK charts and latest album "Lift Your Spirits" not far behind, Aloe Blacc is back! Add credentials which include multi-platinum sales for both previous releases and you surely have a lot to cover this time roundâ€Â¦We join B&S Editor Lee Tyler as he talks to Aloe Blacc about the creative process behind the new album and single, his recent global dance smash "Wake Me Up", his unfurling role as a political educator and the idea that he is two songs (the jury's out on the third song at the moment) nearer to greatness!

Singer/actor/rapper/songwriter and musician Aloe Blacc, real name Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III, was born January 7, 1979 in California to Panamanian parents. His early musical career started in 1995 and consisted of emceeing in a group called Emanon ('no name' spelt backwards) along with DJ Exile, their notably decent first mix-tape release came soon after in 1996. Emanon would draw influences from the world of jazz, combining jazz samples with break-beat loops and in turn creating their own soundâ€Â¦With hip hop still in his heart, Blacc would re-visit his role within the group in 2009, appearing on their tour of the US and Europe.

2003 Blacc began his solo career, releasing two moderately received EP's in preceding yearsâ€Â¦by 2006 the artist would see his gradual progression as a solo performer start to come to fleurishion with the release of his first full studio album, "Shine Through". This tidy album showed the first signs of Blacc's recording magic as it was well received by public and critics alike, who were to cite the defined flow of the material contained on the album. Aloe himself recalls the first album's aimâ€Â¦"The first album was a combination of of different genres but each song has a specific genre, there was a hip hop song, there was a neo-soul song, there was a folk song, a salsa song, a dancehall songâ€Â¦and that was "Shine Through"".

As decisive songwriting is the backbone to Blacc's talents, he opens on the subject of creating lyricsâ€Â¦"Everything is organic really, there's no way to figure it outâ€Â¦I'm not really divining how I'm gonna make the song, I just write the lyrics or hum the melody or come up with a beat and I let whatever influence I feel should come next, happen. It's a very organic process." And speedy? "Pretty quick. I like to get in the studio and finish the song in four hours. If it's not done in four hours than something is wrong. He continuesâ€Â¦"If the element that makes you say 'a-hha, this this is a great song, I feel good about what I have accomplished', doesn't happen in four hours, then it's almost not worth doing - but I sort of know that within the first twenty minutes."

Once the track is finished..."I'm the worst! My quality control in terms of production is terrible, that's why it's really good to have a producer who will fix everything. I'm the ideas man, I'm the guy who says this is a great idea, and I get my joy in creating the idea - then I'm onto the next idea quickly."

Blacc's next big idea/sophomore album "Good Things", on Stones Throw Records, was released in 2010 and spawned the huge global smash "I Need A Dollar". This track hit the top ten in a multitude of countries, achieving gold status in the UK, France, Germany and Australia. The single soon hit one million sales, all the while achieving almost cult status in the USA, as recession bit hard the subject matter of this song struck a chord with the American record buying public. It was also used as the theme song for a popular American TV show "How To Make it In America". Blacc explains the style of "Good Times" and how it differs from his previous album, pitching it as a "straight ahead throw-back soul album, a hybrid of soul, classic rock and hip hop." It certainly was good times for the artist as this album was to go on to reach the double platinum sales milestone soon after.

Album "Lift Your Spirits" and single "I'm The Man" are out now on Polydor.

Time to get Tweeting: If you are 'Favourited' by us, we'll add your comments to our print issue @AloeBlacc / @BluesandSoul

To read more from our interview with soulsational Aloe Blacc + a whole lot more, click below to get order copy of the new Blues & Soul magazine now - or check out your local magazine retailer, including; WH Smith, Menzies + selected Euro Foods, Cost Cutters and many independents nationwide.
Words LEE TYLER

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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