• “My purpose for music is positive social change,” says Orange County, California native Aloe Blacc. “Even if the music itself does not explicitly express anything that may signify positive social change, the product of the music will.”

    • Good Things marks a shift in methodology from personal to political for Aloe, who refers to the project as his report on present conditions—joblessness, homeless, the misappropriation of wealth, pillaging of resources, and a universal lack of compassion from the capitalism at-large under which we all function, but some struggle to survive. Song titles such as “You Make Me Smile” and “Miss Fortune,” coupled with airy, ethereal production from Truth & Soul’s Leon Michels and Jeff Silverman mask a foreboding undercurrent in which Aloe crafts lyrics both thoughtful and thought-provoking. Nowhere is this more evident than on lead single, “I Need a Dollar”—commissioned by HBO as the theme music for the series How to Make It in America—because ultimately, that is how to make it in America.

    • At the heart of this musical character is a recession-age Robin Hood, whose goal is to sell and profit from his wares with hope of freeing the less fortunate from the capitalist system that serves as both their oppressor and his motivation.

    • Aloe credits a myriad of influences—transcendentalist scholars Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, French existentialism, Oprah Winfrey, Tavis Smiley, Cornel West—with leading him from the inner streams of consciousness he possessed as an MC early in his career, to a more disciplined approach to songwriting, and now, the desire to affect change and induce compassion by way of his own success.

    • The key is compromise and understanding the power of popular art. Aloe is willing to put the gloves on and engage in the marketplace. Good things lie ahead. – Ronnie Reese

    • Well, my goal, of course, is to make songs that are evergreen and that evoke a strong enough emotion to be memorable.

    • The concept I’m trying to portray is that no matter what happens in your life, if you’re starving, if you’re homeless, human compassion is the answer to these problems.

    • We were able to do something that was, I think, analogous to my heroes — Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder — where you create a wonderful pop production and put an awesome message in the middle of it.

    • Besides that, I’ve got a bossa nova project, a country music project, a neo-soul project, and all of these are pretty much full albums. Who knows if they’ll ever see the light of day — just part of my 10,000 hours, I guess.

    • I’ve learned that too many directions at once kind of leaves me nowhere.

 

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