Bio : Aloe Blacc
Aloe Blacc — musician, rapper, producer, songwriter and philanthropist — continues to inspire audiences around the world through his fusion of soul, folk, R&B, and pop. From crossover hit “I Need a Dollar” to the chart-topper “Wake Me Up” with the late Avicii and GRAMMY-nominated major label debut Lift Your Spirit featuring platinum-selling single “The Man,” Blacc’s multifaceted career has stamped his name and on the music world globally.
Blacc was born to Panamanian immigrants who settled in Orange County, California, and raised on salsa, merengue, and cumbia. His later musical tastes and influences included hip hop and socially conscious artists like KRS-One, soul musicians Donny Hathaway and Marvin Gaye, and folk-rock singer-songwriters Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Kris Kristofferson, and Cat Stevens. “Their songs are full of emotion that’s expressed in strong lyrics, and that had a big impact on me,” says Blacc.
Blacc released his solo debut Shine Through with indie label Stones Throw Records in 2006. His sophomore album Good Things (2010) featured the breakout hit “I Need a Dollar” which became the theme song for the HBO series How to Make it In America. Good Things was certified gold in the UK, France, Germany and Australia, and hit double platinum sales.
Blacc then signed with XIX Recordings/Interscope Records in 2013. At this time, an introduction to Avicii by Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda led to collaboration on the hit “Wake Me Up” (Island Records) with Blacc co-writing and providing vocals. “Wake Me Up” was the highest charting dance track of the decade, peaking at number one in over 20 countries.
In October 2013, Blacc made his Interscope Records debut with third solo album Lift Your Spirit, collaborating with groundbreaking producers such as Pharrell Williams and DJ Khalil. The record debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and earned a GRAMMY Award nomination for Best R&B Album. Adding a contemporary element to the music of legends like Sly Stone and Stevie Wonder, Lift Your Spirit is built on songs that pair Blacc’s incisive lyrics with huge hooks and relentless feel-good grooves. The album included hit single “The Man,” topping the charts with sales of more than three million.
Reflecting on his musical path, Blacc notes that landing the XIX Recordings/ Interscope deal prompted a major moment of reckoning with his artistic intentions. “When I signed a major label contract, I recognized the power of having a larger audience, and I promised myself that I’d use my voice for social change,” he says. Blacc focused on making music that inspired a positive shift in mindset as he crafted his forthcoming album. “When things happening in the world seem terrible, it’s easy to get stuck in the negative,” he says. “But I try to do whatever I can to help people out of that. I want my music to be the light.”
Blacc released single “Brooklyn in the Summer” in 2018, a marked shift from his songwriting up to that point. The doleful ballad channels a nostalgic tone alongside a deeply passionate vocal performance and bright melodies, telling the story of a breakup with heart wrenching fervor.
Blacc’s musical liaison with Avicii continued through the release of “SOS” in April 2019, with Avicii’s family honoring their son’s wish to feature Blacc’s vocals on the first track of his posthumous album TIM. “SOS” received an enthusiastic worldwide response from Avicii fans, topping the charts in several countries and hitting #1 on the US Dance Charts. Also in April 2019, Geffen artist/producer Gryffin enlisted Blacc to sing on “Hurt People” which they performed together at Coachella, paying tribute to Avicii on the first anniversary of his passing. This performance was hailed as one of the festival’s highlights.
In honor of Black History Month in February 2019, Blacc released “Lift Ev’ry Voice (The Undefeated Mix)”, with special guests The String Queens, for ESPN’s month-long commemoration. Blacc was commissioned to compose a modern-day rendition of the song, also known as the Black National Anthem, originally written by James Weldon Johnson in the early 1900s. The video for “Lift Ev’ry Voice” was filmed at Thomas Jefferson’s plantation home Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Along with international touring and music festival performances, 2019 also included dance releases. Blacc collaborated in varying vocal and co-writing capacities on “Never Growing Up” by French producer Matthieu Koss, “Truth Never Lies” with Belgian producer Lost Frequencies, “Never Be Alone” with David Guetta and Morten, and the long-awaited “Punching In The Dark” with new Swedish dance producer Hellberg. Blacc’s October 2019 collaboration with the Australian electronic producer duo Flight Facilities on the soulful pop song “Better Than Ever” hit the Top 10 charts in Australia debuting with a Google Nest ad.
Blacc also made guest acting appearances on TV shows such as Black-ish and guest judge appearances on The Voice. Most recently on NBC’s Songland, he discovered the episode’s next hit songwriter Kyle Williams with whom he collaborated on “Getting Started” for the blockbuster movie Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw. Blacc also recorded “Same Blood” with another Songland contestant, and both singles debuted in the Top 10 iTunes Pop Charts.
On Valentine’s Day 2020, Blacc will launch “I Do” the lead single off Blacc’s forthcoming record. Inspired by his marriage to recording artist Maya Jupiter, the ballad sees Blacc openly discuss his personal life and relationships. A first for the singer, he sings with sweet honesty “never understood why people always say love chooses you, now I do”. Blacc says, “Luck brought us together despite living halfway across the world with a vast ocean between us. “I Do” is the perfect representation of the profound love we share. I wanted to create a song for Maya that was personal and universal.”