“Expect the truth from my album. You can honestly expect to get to know me on another level that you would never have known any of these other artists” August Alsina
The London edition of the Livebase European tour may have taken place in March but was truly taken over by August. Here we were able to see August Alsina’s love for music from the moment he stepped on stage he grabbed the audience with his first song making the statement ‘I am here!’
“When you’ve been at the bottom, you see the hunger inside of you.” These words are taken from August Alsina’s recent release Make It Home which is off his debut album, Testimony (out next month). Again, it is these same words which have been used to give a relatable account to the understanding of someone’s drive and commitment and the reasons why they do the things they do. For August, the things he used to do, in conjunction with his striking past, have helped make him and he doesn’t seem to forget. His story is truly inspirational and upon meeting him I was blessed by his observing nature, his heart and most of all his testimony.
Growing up as a kid did you know you wanted to be a singer?
Not at all. I didn’t even know I could sing. I think when I was about 14 there was a turning point for me. I always had a liking for music, I was always into it but I never really knew I could sing, until I saw Lauryn Hill singing on Sister Act 2 and she just sounded so awesome. And so I just wanted to do it, I attempted to do it and just never stopped.
You have been through a lot, how difficult has it been trying to balance music with everything else you have had to deal with?
It has been pretty hard, this is why I ended up going through all the different paths of life I went down, but it is worth it. I didn’t get killed, I’m still alive, I learned a lot along the way and so I don’t regret any of it.
Did you look at music as a type of escapism?
I had to get into music more because at first, before I really started getting into my own music I was doing covers on YouTube, I enjoyed doing it but certain situations happened where sometimes I didn’t have a computer. I remember, (I think) either my mum or my step-daddy pawning my computer because we didn’t have any bread or money so I couldn’t do YouTube videos anymore.
How else were you trying to get your music out there?
I honestly just stopped, that’s why I was on and off of YouTube because I was really into it at a point and then I disappeared and I remember seeing people saying, “where have I been?” and then I would come back again and they were like “You’re back.” So I honestly would just stop and be into some whole other things.
Why did you start a YouTube page and did you realise it would create the fan base that you have today?
You always have high hopes for things like that. But for me, it was about me being on YouTube just singing, I found it so cool. One time, I went onto YouTube to watch a fight or something like that and then I remember I saw some people singing and I was like that’s cool and I thought I wanted to do that. It wasn’t about a show or trying to put on, because I was up on there looking crazy with a crazy ass t-shirt and my brother’s big hat which was too big for my head. I was really just on there singing.
What would you say music means to you?
In my heart of all hearts, my music, at least for me, it’s healing music. It’s like soul touching music, anything that someone can relate to and as long as you can feel it. It is kind of like a saviour it just gives you hope.
Would you say the death of your brother (RIP) inspired you to continue doing music?
It’s bittersweet. More bitter than sweet because I wouldn’t be here – You can’t predict the future but I just feel I wouldn’t be here if my brother was alive. I’d still be doing what I was doing. He is the reason why I am here. And I would give all of this up, at any moment, any time, any day. If Jesus came from heaven and said: “You have a choice, you keep doing this or you give it up to get your brother back.” In a heartbeat, he could take all of this. So I’m just doing what I’m doing to keep him alive and keep him involved.
Your album Testimony is coming out on your brother’s birthday, April 15th. What is your testimony?
It’s my story, my background, my culture, my lifestyle. And to sum that up – there are a lot of people that depend on me and that’s a lot for a 21 year old and I’m trying to build a legacy and that’s a lot to do when you’re doing it on your own and you have no footsteps to follow in. So I guess with everything I have been through it is, “I’m going hard every day, cant nothing stand in my way, I’m going hard till I got nothing to say, I got to stay to show my people a different way”.
You recently released the video to Make It Home, talk to me about the thought process behind this song.
Just because you never know what is going to happen. I could walk out of this place and die. We just don’t know what’s going to happen or if we are going to make it home at all. And with my brother dying – no one could ever tell me someone would kill my brother just because he was a gangster. I just felt like he could not be touched, I’m supposed to feel this way because I am the younger brother. I just felt like no one could ever touch him, so for that to happen it was just like damn, you just never know if you’re going to make it home.
What can we expect from your album?
Honesty, the truth and you can honestly expect to get to know me on another level that you would never have known any of these other artists.
The world needs: More real people.
The person I want to be most proud of me is: Myself.
I’m willing to forgive: But I can’t forget it.
Music is: A lot of things.
I want my legacy to be: I haven’t figured it out yet but I know that, just remember me.Tagged in: August Alsina, music
Recent Posts on Arts
- Friday Book Design Blog: ABCD awards 2015
- Crowds at Lahore Lit Fest ignore bomb risks and raise hopes for Pakistan’s future
- Rolo Tomassi Interview: “It's comforting to know that we've not been treated as a novelty”
- Goblin's Claudio Simonetti on Profondo Rosso reaching the big 4-0
- Friday Book Design Blog: The Ecliptic, by Benjamin Wood
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter