Never heard of Aloe Blacc? Think again — you’ll definitely recognize his voice from last summer’s infectious Avicii hit “Wake Me Up” and 2011’s “I Need a Dollar.” The American soul singer has now made a triumphant return to the charts with his new single “The Man,” which debuted at number one in the U.K.
At 35 years old, Blacc has been paying his dues, so to speak, in the music industry for more than a decade. Now, with his first solo number-one single and an album that’s steadily climbing the record charts on its own, it seems that Aloe Blacc has finally broken through to stardom.
He’s changed his tune quite a bit over the duration of his career, evolving and adjusting his musical stylings to suit him perfectly. When he first stepped onto the scene with Good Things, the album behind “I Need a Dollar,” in 2010, his lyrics were heavily political. “I Need a Dollar” was written after Blacc lost a job, and the timing of its release perfectly coincided with and echoed the mid-recession blues. His latest album, Lift Your Spirit, does just what it says, and Blacc said in an interview that this new wave of positivity was encouraged by his father:
“He heard the last album and said: ‘Yo, you have to make happier songs. Sing some love songs. Girls want love songs.’ And I thought: ‘Yeah, you’re right.’ Why preach to the choir? I’ve learned that there’s no reason in screaming revolution and pointing the finger. The most important thing to do is preach the positive.”
“The Man” pays homage to Sir Elton John’s “Your Song” by sampling the classic tune’s melody throughout the chorus. It’s proven to be the type of song that worms its way into your head and keeps you humming all day long (trust me, it’s happening to me right now!).
His style has proven to be as smooth as his music, as he is often seen sporting distinct retro pieces with a modern, urban twist. He has been quoted saying, “I’m more into the jackets, trousers, shoes and hats… I wanted to present myself onstage in a way that matched the music to build a presence, to build an event.”
Get to know “The Man” himself:
– “Aloe Blacc” is a stage name: his real name is Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III.
– He’s married to an Australian rapper, Maya Jupiter, and the couple recently had their first child together, a daughter named Mandela.
– He teams up with Pharrell on the song “Love is the Answer” off his latest album.
– Hailing from his hometown of Orange County, California, Blacc’s parents are Panamanian.
– Blacc does a lot of charity and philanthropic work for organizations including Malaria No More.
– He’s lending his voice to The Voice television show as a mentor for coach Adam Levine’s team.
– A self-professed nerd, Blacc won a scholarship to the University of Southern California and studied communications and linguistic psychology.