Aloe_Blacc_3_resizedEgbert Nathaniel Dawkins III, better known by his stage name, Aloe Blacc, is a Panamanian-American singer, songwriter, rapper and musician.  He is best known for his singles, “I Need A Dollar” and “The Man” and for co-writing and the vocals on Avicii’s “Wake Me Up,” which charted at #1 in 22 countries.

Blacc was born in 1979 in Southern California’s Orange County to Panamanian parents.  Blacc grew up in Laguna Hills and began to play a rented trumpet in third grade.  Later, Blacc realized that it made more sense to buy the instrument, this led to, what Blacc describes as a “very specific moment” in his evolution as a musician.  “It forced me to be serious about it.  I couldn’t just do it to get out of the classroom,” he said in a 2010 interview.  He also attributes his exposure to LL Cool J in fourth grade as another significant influence as well.  “It wasn’t to far off from the trumpet moment … I had a hip-hop moment and a musician moment.”

Blacc later attended the University of Southern California and graduated in 2001.  After college, he worked breifly in the corporate sector.

In 1995, Blacc teamed with hip-hop producer Exile and formed “Emanon” which was “No Name” spelled backwards, which was inspired by the title of a Dizzy Gillespie song.  With break-beat loops and jazz samples, Emanon soon became a mainstay in the indie rap underground.  The group released their first mixtape in 1996, followed by the EP “Acid 9,” in 1999.  Over the next few years, they released three subsequent albums, “Steps Through Time” (2001), “Imaginary Friends” (2002) and “The Waiting Room” (2005).  They recorded a fourth album, “Bird’s Eye View” but never released it.  While Emanon was Blacc’s main project he worked with during this time, he also worked on the side with members of the collective “Lootpack” and with the French jazz group “Jazz Liberatorz.”

In 2003, Blacc launched his solo career.  He released two EPs and signed to Stone’s Throw Records in 2006 when label head, Chris Mank, heard Blacc and immediately offered him a contract.  In 2006, Blacc released his first full-length album, “Shine Through.”  Blacc had, by then, become more focused on songwriting which, Blacc says was inspired by his social consciousness.  “I was uncomfortable with the state of hip-hop being largely about the expression of ego.  I wondered how I could be more crafty at writing songs in the form of a rap that actually expressed more than ego, style and finesse,” said Blacc.  I figured I would educate myself to learn more about songwriting and apply that later to hip-hop.”

“Shine Through” received significant media attention in the U.S. and abroad.  Pitchfork wrote that “Shine Through” had “flashes of keen musical interpolation” and signaled “some sort of greatness.”  NPR named the track “Nascimento” as song of the day and Absolute Punk noted that “Shine Through” flows beautifully from one track to the next, infusing old-school funk and soul with a modern essence that makes it incredibly unique.”  Also in 2009, while working on his second album, Blacc toured Europe and the United States with Emanon and collaborated with the Japanese hip-hop producer “Cradle” on a project called “Bee.”

In 2010, Blac released his second album “Good Things,”  through Stone’s Throw Records.  The album was a commercial success and was certified gold in the UK, France, Germany, Australia and in various other countries.  The album was later certified double platinum in sales.  The hit single, “I Need A Dollar,” reached one million sales in 2013.  Two additional singles, “Loving You Is Killing Me” and “Green Lights” became European hits as well.  “Good Things” was praised by the media and received positive reviews in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Spin, NME and Entertainment Weekly, among others.

In 2012, Blacc joined a music project, “Roseaux,” established by Emile Omar.  The project worked with fellow musicians Alex Finkin and Clement Petit.  The band released their self-titled debut album “Roseaux,” with all eleven tracks featuring vocals by Aloe Blacc.  The album reached #92 on the French Albums Chart.  The debut single, “More Than Material,” peaked at #80 on the French Singles Chart.

In 2013, Blacc co-wrote the song “Wake Me Up” with Swedish DJ Avicii.  With Blacc on vocals, the song reached No. 1 in 103 countries and became the fastest selling single in the UK, selling 267,000 copies in its first week.  In September 2013, Blacc signed with Interscope Records and released an EP titled “Wake Me Up EP.”  The five-track EP included the songs, “Love is the Answer,” “Can You Do This” and “Ticking Bomb,” as well as an acoustic version of “Wake Me Up.”  Blacc’s single, “The Man,”  was used as background music for the Beats by Dr. Dre commercials featuring Colin Kaepernick, Kevin Garnett and Richard Sherman.  Shortly after, Blacc released an official video for the hit single.

Blacc his been a part of the music industry for almost his entire life and has see great success.  He has traveled the world and worked with various music leaders from across the globe.  With years of experience in the music industry under his belt and the success of hsi recent tracks, there is no telling what Blacc may accomplish next.  Check out some of his biggest hits below and  be sure to keep an eye on this music industry leader who continually changes the way we write and listen to music.

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