Aloe Blacc

Monday, 08 January 2007

If he had to be an instrument, Aloe Blacc would be a piano because, with its chords, bass, treble and melody, his presentation is whole just like his debut solo Shine Through.

A musical mosaic composed of a plethora of his influences, Shine Through is a fresh and beautiful display of what Aloe Blacc does. Regardless of the fact that he’s been spitting lyrics since 1995 with DJ Exile as part of rap duo Emanon, he feels he has yet to reach his potential and create a static character his audience can identify.

“Amazing things are happening every day all the time in my creative mind that indicate there’re a lot of directions I’m going in,” says Aloe. “I’ve become really good at the ‘Shine Through Method,’” a phrase he coined, in which he improvises a complete song in one take, by simply expressing what the music dictates to him.

A sharp and cool talent, who is knowledgeable of the fact that the business aspect of the music industry has no weight on his creativity, this Stones Throw artist is just beginning. For instance, unlike the rest of his discography, Aloe sings soulfully throughout Shine Through, but he not only sings in English, he also sings in Spanish and in operatic style. By listening, it’s hard to tell that he didn’t spend just as much time singing as he did kicking verses, but as he said he was the singer in his family who would get clowned. So he often sang privately and recorded them to test his sound.

“When I started collecting records and listening to other kinds of music, becoming really interested in folk music and classical rock, I started to write my own little folk tunes on the piano and record and sing them,” he says. “So that was kind of the beginning of my singing. That was like five or six years ago.”

Which lead to this home-cooked, made-from-scratch, self-produced album seasoned with various genres, but surprisingly Aloe is still working on Shine Through. Unfolding what is already unfurled so people can catch his versatility in the net of their ears, remixing his instrumental recipes until he is satisfied with a second version, an acoustic album, because he would like more people to hear the melodies he created to give away. However, Aloe does admit that he uses his musical recreation to satisfy himself first because it feels good to hear his creations come alive.

“I make music because I have to. I don’t have a choice. All of these songs that come to me [and] all of these ideas spill out and I have to,” says Aloe. “I feel stingy if I don’t give them to people. There are a lot of songs I haven’t shared, but the ones that are perfect for sharing, I have to share them.”

Aloe Blacc is doing one of the most beautiful things he can do with his life: following his passion. Currently it’s flying him back to Europe, on tour, where he first hooked up with a couple of Stones Throw cats on the Lootpack tour via the Hip-Hop Congress, an international hip-hop network that began at Aloe’s Alma Mater, USC. If this tour is anything like the first, then the multi-instrumental rapper and singer will be pleased.

“I’m spoiled,” he says. “The first tour I ever went on was perfect. Since then, I’ve always compared every tour to that tour. When things fall short, it just doesn’t feel right.”

Comments are closed.