Nairobi News

ChillaxWhat's Hot

SNAPPY 7: Aloe Blacc – If you can’t make money out of music, find a job

Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III, better known as Aloe Blacc, is a multi-instrumentalist and Grammy Award nominee, and he is Nairobi for his first live show.

But who is Aloe Blacc? Nairobi News got the chance to talk to him and he gave us a few snippets of who he is.

1. Who is Aloe Blacc and is he different from Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III – I am an artist, a singer, a song writer, a producer, a scholar, a father, an activist and Nathaniel isn’t different from Aloe.

Aloe is who I am and if you knew me when I was 15 you might have called me Nathaniel but for now it is just Aloe. I’m an individual who is just trying to use his voice to make some positive change to the world, no matter how small it is.

2. Why the switch from rapping to singing? Then from singing soul-classical music to more contemporary pop-style music? Rapping is my first love and I’m a big hip hop fan. I grew up in hip hop culture but I wasn’t really inspired by hip hop that was manipulated by the market place. So I decided to use my talent and skills as a song writer to touch people’s hearts and to approach subject matters that hip hop doesn’t approach.

It was a long process to transition to be a singer but I think to my credit it was the right decision because since I made the transition, I have been able to touch more lives in a positive way as a vocalist than I was as a hip hop artist.

3. How did you meet your wife and how has fatherhood changed you – My wife is Australian and she was born in Mexico, oddly enough, just a few hundred miles from where I was born and just a few weeks from when I was born. Her parents moved all the way to Australia when they were looking for work and a better place to live.

We met when she interviewed me for her radio and television show. We kept in touch and developed a friendship.

Fatherhood adds a new perspective in how I operate as a musician. Having children makes it more real and I have to consider almost everything I do in terms of my family first, like how much time I spend from my family away from home, what kind of music I write, who I write it with and the way I can affect the landscape of media.

4. Have you tried Kenyan food yet? Can you cook and what’s your favorite food – Not yet but I will try some. I will definitely let you know about it.

I guess I’m decently good in the kitchen, I don’t really follow any recipes, I guess that’s the artist in me. I just look at what is available and create something of what is left.

5. When you’re not singing what do you do – As a father, free time comes to just spending time with my kids. Taking my young ones to the park, dancing and singing songs. My two-year old can already recognise musicians by voice and name songs after the first few beats which I guess is to be expected from a child of a musician. So the only way I know how to spend my free time is with my family and educating my kids.

6. Advice to anyone who wants to emulate you – If you want to make music then make music. If you want to be a star that is a whole different thing. But I would suggest make music to be an artist and have fun. If you can’t make money out of it, find a job. Have fun making music because no one is going to care if you are not having fun. If you are trying to be a star, people will only care for a little bit.

7. Tell us about your involvement with Malaria no more Malaria No More is an organisation that I work with to spread awareness about the conflict that we have in today’s society and it is a disease that can be 100% eradicated within our life time.

I use my music videos as often as possible to share important social causes I believe my audience should be aware of, and also to create positive social transformations. I composed a song as well as created a video concept which I want to record with the Malaria No More

The video will potentially be filmed here in Nairobi, so I will be speaking with some filmmakers and the Malaria No More team in Nairobi, to make it happen.