With “Wake Me Up”—the 2013 mega-hit he sang and co-wrote for Swedish DJ Avicii and saw climb to #1 in 102 countries across the globe—Aloe Blacc proved himself a singer/songwriter with an irresistible power to capture the complexities of human emotion. Now with his third solo album Lift Your Spirit (Blacc’s major-label full-length debut, released by XIX Recordings/Interscope Records), the rapper-turned-singer pushes further into a folk/soul/pop fusion that’s both undeniably joyful and eye-opening in message.
A Southern California native born to Panamanian parents, Blacc is also well-schooled in salsa music, and has closely studied everything from psychedelic rock and funk to reggae and dancehall. Raised on the boundary-pushing hip-hop of acts like Public Enemy, The Pharcyde, and De La Soul, Blacc developed a fierce admiration for such soul musicians as Donny Hathaway and Marvin Gaye and folk-rock singer/songwriters like Joni Mitchell and James Taylor as a teenager.
Three years after the release of his solo debut Shine Through, Blacc began work on the record that would change his life and career: Good Things, an album certified gold in the UK, France, Germany, and Australia, among other countries. His success led to interest from Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment, a move that paved the way to the 2012 signing of his recording contract with Interscope Records.
With “Wake Me Up” having sold more than 2.8 million copies in the U.S., Blacc notes that one of his main ambitions is to use his surging popularity to affect social change while continuing to infuse his music with a mindful positivity. “The stories in my songs are about the common individual and all the struggles they’re dealing with everyday, and also all the hopes and aspirations that they have. It’s about reflecting all of that, and at the same time getting people to sing along and feel good and just celebrate being here.”