By Meg Taylor
Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 8/23/17 – “In my music, I try to express to people with love we can make this world a better place. It’s love for fellow human, but, it’s also love for the Earth and all that Mother Earth has to offer us.” This was one of the many great tactics used by the extraordinary Aloe Blacc. Blacc was the first of many gifted artists to appear on the second season of ARTBOUND PRESENTS STUDIO A. STUDIO A showcases top musical talent to celebrate the environment with music inspired by nature. This upcoming season brings many diverse styles of music: Latin, jazz, pop, R&B, folk, soul and even classical piano and harp music. The series reflects the diversity of the region through the cultural backgrounds and musical influences of some of Southern California’s most prolific artists. All of the upcoming performers will display their talent as well as discuss their individual contribution to nature and/or the environment, whether through their actions or music.
The season premiere of ARTBOUND PRESENTS STUDIO A last night was quite exceptional. Aloe Blacc was brilliant as always. He performed several records: “California”, “Here Today”, “Dandelion Down”, “Harvard”, “Live My Life”, and “The Best Is Yet to Come”. Blacc gave us a taste of all that his forthcoming album has to offer. These songs, all covering different topics and storylines, relate to one another because they all encompass the same universal themes, a common approach Blacc uses in his songwriting process; “I go for the universal themes because it’s really easy for anyone in any culture and country to get a sense of really what I mean, using these themes of nature are helpful in the sharing of ideas and concepts that everybody can relate to.” This method is essential to have a global outreach to connect with others through music.
Not only did the audience get to enjoy exceptional performances by Blacc, they got to learn more about him as an artist and on a personal level. He started out as a MC doing hip-hop music but then started listening to a lot of singer/songwriters, as well as many folk and soul singers, who he began to model himself after. Even though many would consider Aloe Blacc to be a pop singer, due to tracks like “Wake Me Up”, he feels the sentiment in his vocal is folk/soul. Blacc considers himself to be an “artivist”; an activist and artist who stands up for what is right and uses their platform to be vocal about causes they are passionate about. He is actively promoting environmental justice through his music. Blacc also uses music videos as part of spreading a message regarding environmental issues that he is passionate about. With “Live my Life”, Blacc had the opportunity to share a music video with Malaria No More UK to bring awareness to a serious issue. They displayed the life of a young boy from rural Ghana who was effected by malaria at a young age and how it encouraged him to become an activist as he grew up. It’s important for artists to use their platforms to discuss issues about the ecology to promote change. Because he is extremely passionate about making a change, Blacc wants to find the strongest ways to do so; “I don’t want to dilute my message by having too many causes but there are so many causes that are important; if I could find a song for each one of them, maybe that’s the best way to do it.”
The intimate performances and sit-down sessions with Blacc made for a perfect introduction to season two of ARTBOUND PRESENTS STUDIO A. In the following weeks, we will see performances by Low Leaf, Buyepongo and MILCK. ARTBOUND PRESENTS STUDIO A airs on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. PT on KCET in Southern California. Stay tuned!