new beats headphones wants to wake up listeners
Funk/soul and hip hop singer Aloe Blacc says he has one goal for the album he’s working on now: To make a disc that translates the energy and enthusiasm in his stage show.
Blacc may have given a hint of what the next album, likely to be released in 2018, will be like with his new single, “King is Born.” Built on the soaring horn sample from the 1970 Ides of March funk hit “Vehicle,” it’s an anthem of affirmation to which it’s easy to imagine a crowd pumping its fists.
Just released July 11, it already was used as the adrenaline pumping theme for the press conference of the big Aug. 26 mixed martial arts fight between boxing champion Floyd Mayweather and MMA champ Conor McGregor.
But Blacc is best known for being the voice of “Wake Me Up,” the soaring electronic music hit he did with Swedish producer Avicii, which topped the charts and became the song of the summer in 2013.
“Great. Thank you.”
So let’s start this out by having you tell me about your new song, “King is Born.” What’s the story behind it? How did it come together? Just tell me about the song.
“I’ve been working with a great producer named Sam Hollander. He always comes up with awesome thematic ideas, and we’ve got a beautiful song called ‘Harvard’ that I’ll be playing live at the concert. And when he came to me with ‘King is Born,’ it just felt like a great follow up to [his platinum Top 10 hit] ‘The Man.’ It just had horn I played trumpet when I was a grade school kid and I loved horns in my songs.
“It had a lot of drive and energy, and it had a sample I also grew up making hip hop music and I was heavy into sampling and I really loved that song he sampled: “Vehicle” [a 1970 jazz rock hit for The Ides of March]. And it just felt like an amazing composition, and with the lyric ‘A king is born,’ it felt so triumphant and motivational. And I love to make songs that are positive and inspiring and motivating.”
Yeah, and, you know, everything you just said are my thoughts exactly on the song. It’s all of those things: positive and uplifting and motivational. And has the interesting lyric. And I actually was going to ask you about the sampling of The Ides of March song that was his idea? He brought that to you?
” So, Sam is spending every day the same way I do spend all day coming up with ideas and kind of deciding whether we’re worth our weight in salt [laughs] with the ideas we come up with every day. And we shoot ideas over to each other, and this one, he kind of built and developed and sent it to me. and I thought, ‘Wow, this is really amazing.’
“So when I got it from him, I did some of the verse lyric, added the bridge and created an arrangement that really fit. That’s the kind of collaborative songwriting that happens at times. Sometimes I come up with a song or write it myself and then produce it myself, or work with people who I really trust.”
How did the song end up getting used for the Floyd Mayweather Conor McGregor boxing match press conference? Do you know?
“So as soon as a song is recorded, the management team, the record label, they’re looking for opportunities and quite often because of their networks with all the music supervisors,
they know what people are looking for. So a request came in for a song and they submitted ‘King is Born.” And it was chosen by, I think, either Mayweather’s camp or Showtime.”
Wow, great. It’s great that it go so much; that kind of exposure immediately. I assume the song is from an upcoming album?
“Uh, I would definitely put this song on my next album.”
OK. What can you tell me about the album so far? Do you
“Well, my goal is to make it very energetic. I’ve never put together an album that mirrors my stage performance, and my stage performance is very much like my days in hip hop, when I would be rocking the crowd and getting people to call and respond and getting people up and dancing and moving around.
“So I wanted to put together a body of work for this album songs that actually communicate on stage the way they are communicated on record.”
And can you tell me any more about the album? What it might sound like? I mean, how far into it are you?
“I mean, I’ve got 40 plus songs to choose from.””So I’d say I’m well on my way. But we never stop writing, recording until the deadline approaches. And so I’ve got songs that feel like, you know, really awesome soul. Updated soul music, updated rock and soul. A lot of the inspiration I’ve been taking is from some of the energetic Billy Joel songs that I really like. Billy Joel and Randy Newman [laughs]. But like the energy songs, not necessarily the ballads.”
Right. You also recently released a disc with [his music duo Emanon], “Dystopia,” in February.
“Yeah, Emanon is my first group. That’s me and DJ Exile. We’ve made hip hop since 1995 and we have not released an album since 2005.””So we had eight years, 10 years worth of music that we hadn’t released, and we sought to release ‘Dystopia’ and a mixed tape. But Exile thought it was worth more than a mix tape, so we packaged it as an album, and it feels pretty good.”
You’re doing a free download on your website?
“It’s free download from my website, or you can purchase it. And thankfully people have been purchasing it, so ”
[Laughs] Hey, I wanted to ask you except for the release of that, it’s been three years since “Lift Your Spirit.” And I’m wondering during that time, was it the idea that you were writing,
or you were so busy performing? What’s the three year gap about?