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Aloe Blacc, real name Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III, is an American singer and rapper from Laguna Hills, California. Born in 1979 Aloe Blacc’s interest in music stemmed from being bought a trumpet a young age.
Growing up playing the trumpet yet listening to hip-hop, Aloe Blacc acquired a diverse range of musical influences and inspirations. In the mid-90s, Aloe Blacc fused his love of both genres by forming Emanon, an indie rap collaboration with rap producer Exile. The pair released a set of mix tapes which combined jazz samples with hip hop beats. Emanon became a staple on the underground rap circuit, and the pair released three albums together between 2001 and 2005.
Determined to find success as a solo artist, Aloe Blacc released two EPs in 2003 and 2014. Both releases caught the attention of industry executives and Aloe Blacc was signed to Stone’s Throw Records in 2006. Aloe Blacc released “Shine Through” in 2006 and the album attracted significant attention and multiple positive reviews from critics across the US. Aloe Blacc’s song writing abilities were noted continually and critics expressed their excitement for his future work. Despite the critical success of this first album, “Shine Through” failed to chart.
In spite of this, commercial success was soon to come with Aloe Blacc’s second album “Good Things” which was released in 2010. The album went to number 41 on the US R&B chart and peaked at number 8 on the UK album chart. The standout track from this album was “I Need a Dollar”. The track won the singer attention from all corners of the globe and found top ten success in multiple countries, including hitting the number 2 spot in the UK. The single was so successful that it was eventually certified double platinum and won the singer performance opportunities at festivals such as Glastonbury and Lollapalooza.
Hot on the heels of this success, Aloe Blacc teamed up with Swedish DJ Avicii to co-write the song “Wake Me Up”. The track became a megahit worldwide and went to number one in over 100 countries, as well as earning the achievement of being the fastest selling single in the UK that year after over 250,000 copies were sold in the first week of its release. The success of this single propelled Aloe Blacc’s next studio album up the charts where it hit the number four spot in the US (the first time Aloe Blacc had charted on the US Billboard Hot 200) and reached number five in the UK.