Aloe Blacc taken the music industry by storm with his catchy, yet soulful music.
His biggest hit to date is probably “Wake Me Up,” with Avicii, which was number one in seveal countries. Blacc headlined JetBlue’s Live From T5 Concert Series at JFK airport where he performed hits from his latest album “Lift Your Spirit.”
Q: So what was it like working with Avicii in the song “Wake Me Up”?
Aloe Blacc: Well, I was really interested in expanding what my audience knew about me. I had already worked in dance music, creating my own versions of down tempo house, up tempo house, broken beat on my first solo album. But working with Avicii was just another experiment with a new artist. He reached out to me because he wanted a soul vocal on his album and I was happy to do it. I came with some lyrics and we called it a day.
Q: And that song made it to #1 on so many different charts, what was that experience like?
Aloe Blacc: It was fantastic. I really love writing songs and the fact that the world was appreciative of the words that I made and the melody that I made, and it was conformation that I am doing the right thing.
Q: And you started off in the rap and hip hop field of music, how has the transition been like going into a more soulful field of music?
Aloe Blacc: It’s a great transition. For me, it is a learning experience and I hope I can bring it back to hip hop, really use what I learned becoming a song writer to influence and develop the hip hop genre.
Q: Another one of your hits was “The Man”, so what was it like creating that piece of music?
Aloe Blacc: It was like the old days, for me, making a hip hop track. Working with DJ Khalil, who is a fantastic producer, and creating something that felt like soul but also felt like hip hop, but also felt like pop. And getting to mix all those together was brilliant.
Q: So what’s your creative process like when creating music?
Aloe Blacc: I start in many different ways. Sometimes it’s just a melody, sometimes it’s just a lyric. But it always starts with an idea, a feeling. It has to come with a true emotion because that’s what gets communicated to everyone else. And once I know it’s pure, then I can build around it.
Q: And who are your musical inspirations?
Aloe Blacc: My music is inspired by the greats. I listen to folks like Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Jimi Hendrix. So it goes all across the board.
Q: Any advice for aspiring singers and songwriters?
Aloe Blacc: Most important advice I can give is to follow your passion but don’t worry about making a career out of it. Have fun. If you’re having fun, then other people will have fun with you and then somebody is going to pay you to do it.
Q: Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
Aloe Blacc: I have a lot of really close friends who are musicians and I’m happy collaborating with them. I think my most important collaboration is with my wife, she is an artist as well, so we make music together. Her name is Maya Jupiter, she is an emcee from Australia and I love making music with her because we always do something unexpected and brand new.
Q: How is it working with your wife then?
Aloe Blacc: It is fantastic because I understand what it is that she wants to communicate. She is an activist, she likes to create message music and together we get a chance to try to make the world a better place with our lyrics.
Q: And you had a cameo on the new film “Get on Up.” How was it like working on that production?
Aloe Blacc: It was fantastic to get to work on the “Get on Up” production. James Brown is a huge influence and inspiration, and without him my life in hip hop wouldn’t have been the same because without him hip hop wouldn’t be the same.
Q: Do you plan on doing any acting in the future?
Aloe Blacc: I plan on doing some more acting. I would really love to write the stories myself. I love writing songs but I think it would be a fantastic challenge to be able to write an entire feature film.
Q: What’s coming up for you that you would like fans to know about?
Aloe Blacc: For me, coming up are more singles to be released from the “Lift Your Spirit” album. Definitely a new album, but maybe a different direction. I’m thinking of changing the style up a little bit everytime. A jazz musician would never play the same thing exactly the same twice, so I’m not a jazz musician but I appreciate that ethic and that diversity.