“I want to be the soundtrack to people becoming the best version of themselves,” says singer-songwriter Aloe Blacc. (Submitted photo)

“I want to be the soundtrack to people becoming the best version of themselves,” says singer-songwriter Aloe Blacc. (Submitted photo)

Aloe Blacc brings positive social messages to state fair stage

The singer-songwriter, who caps the fair’s concert series Aug. 30, says he aims to bring diverse people together.

Some people call it R&B and soul, but Aloe Blacc has a different name for his music: A.I.M.

The acronym stands for “Aspire, Inspire, Motivate,” which are three themes rooted in the socially conscious, Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter’s music.

Blacc will perform Aug. 30 at the Evergreen State Fair — the final performance in this year’s concert series, following The Born to Be Wild Tour on Aug. 29.

Blacc, 40, is best known for hit singles “I Need a Dollar” and “The Man,” as well as writing and singing the lyrics on Avicii’s “Wake Me Up.” His musical influences, inspired by legendary producer Quincy Jones, include soul, R&B, hip hop, funk, jazz and rock.

Here, Blacc talks about his music, what challenges him as a singer-songwriter and what people should expect from his set.

Why do you write the songs that you do?

My goal with music is positive social transformation. I want to be the soundtrack to people becoming the best version of themselves.

Who or what is inspiring you lately?

The social challenges we face today are many. I’m inspired by the opportunity to bring people of disparate and diverse backgrounds together to celebrate in harmony. I am looking forward to sharing my joy with everyone so that they may pay it forward in the days to follow.

What’s the biggest challenge you face as a singer-songwriter today?

Finding a way to share each song I create in a way that doesn’t compromise another song. I want to give every song a fair chance to be heard and loved, and that takes time. I have so many that I’m afraid they each won’t get the attention they deserve if I rush one out right after the other.

What should fairgoers expect from your set?

I consider my show a concert, I consider it a party where everyone gets involved. I love to do call and response and to get the audience singing, clapping and dancing.

What feeling do you want people to have when they see you perform?

If I can make everyone happy enough to leave with a smile, then I’ve done my job. I want people to forget their troubles for a moment and fellowship in the spirit of life through music. As adults, entertainment is our playground where we get to be kids again. I hope people can get into that youthful vibe.

I grew up making hip hop music and sampling from every genre, so blending is part of my artistry. My hero, Quincy Jones, says that you should study the greats and build from their accomplishments. So I borrow from the best of rock, soul, jazz, and other genres.

Is it difficult wearing so many different hats, musically?

I honestly enjoy creating, so the different hats is only a function of the industry that separates music into genres. I just see it as creating art and employing the best tools available to tell a good story. I guess that is an advantage because it makes me versatile. I don’t like boundaries. My personal rule is to have no rules.

Is there anything else that I didn’t ask about that you’d like to add?

Like the great Paul Robeson said, I believe that artists are gatekeepers of the truth. My wife, Maya Jupiter, is also an artist, and together we created Artivist Entertainment with a group of activists to serve artists who use their voice for positive social transformation. Everyone has to do their part to make their communities and the world better. As artists we have tremendous reach, so we take that responsibility very seriously.

Evan Thompson: 425-339-3427, ethompson@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @ByEvanThompson.

If you go

Aloe Blacc will cap the Evergreen State Fair’s concert series at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 30 at the Monroe fairgrounds, 14405 179th Ave. SE. Tickets start at $25. Go to www.evergreenfair.org/164/Concerts for more information.

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