On a forum about the HBO TV show, How To Make It In America, an anonymous commenter wrote, “The star of the show ain’t even a cast member. It’s Aloe Blacc, the theme-song singer.” Okay, so I was the commenter. But the sentiment belonged to many. Meanwhile, Good Things, the third album from this reinvented Stones Throw signee, has had time to officially unpack and, of course, OKP is on the welcoming committee.
OKP: Where did you learn to sing?
Aloe Blacc: I learned it writing songs and practicing. I had a vocal trainer for about a month, who helped me learn certain ways to sing and then from there it was finding the type of sound and style that fits my voice best.
OKP: How did you support yourself while doing music at first?
AB: Before I started doing it full time in 2003, I went to school for four years at USC. When I graduated, I was working at a business firm consulting for a couple of years. By that time, I had already developed a fan base.
OKP: At USC?
AB: I had the following since high school.
AB: Instead of doing sports or playing video games, I was making music. Mixed it, mastered, manufactured it. Then we just went to the stores and sold them. We got shows on consignment.
OKP: Remarkable. What made you quit your consulting job?
AB: I was caught up in a round of lay offs. I figured I could do music for a little bit before I didn’t have any money left. I shared a house with other musicians, went off and did music.
OKP: Where was this?
AB: This was close to Downtown LA. Close to University Park. Right near USC.
OKP: And all of a sudden there’s this show How To Make It In America and you have the hot new theme song to it. How did you land that?
AB: The songs were recorded and ready to go. They contacted Stones Throw and the label sent a bunch of different stuff. They ended up choosing my song. I was excited. I felt it was a good way to launch to an audience.
OKP: So, do you prefer singing to rapping now?
AB: I’m doing both actually. I have another [all rap] album coming out shortly. I prefer singing because of the songwriting. It’s much more musically evolved. There’s a lot more melody and harmony. It’s more attractive to a larger audience. As a musician and an entertainer, I want my music to be appreciated by as many as people as possible.
-Sidik Fofana (For more from Sidik, visit his blog at http://cornerboyjazz.blogspot.com)
For now we’ll leave you with the video for “Femme Fatale,” below.
And because this was just TOO good… Aloe Blacc “I Need A Dollar” live with The Roots on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, below.
For even more on Aloe Blacc, check out this OkayplayerTV episode where we caught up with Mr. Blacc back in December.