Reintroducing Aloe Blacc
For those of you who never heard Aloe Blacc before his soaring, Sam Cooke-like voice spurred Avicii's "Wake Me Up" to the upper reaches of the pop charts, here's a half-hour introduction. The L.A.-based musician began as an indie rapper and evolved into a soul singer, though you can still hear traces of his former discipline on his 2006 debut, Shine Through, along with neo-soul, Afro-Cuban rhythms, a Spanglish rendition of John Legend's "Ordinary People" and much more. His critically acclaimed, retro-soul-themed 2010 follow-up Good Things yielded the Great Recession classic "I Need a Dollar," which was a global Top 10 hit but only a cult sensation in his native country. It took "Wake Me Up" for America to, well, finally wake up to the talents of this dynamic presence. His new EP, Wake Me Up, includes a non-EDM version of that smash and a disco-tinged number in "Love Is the Answer," but we're really waiting for his third album in 2014, when he'll unveil the latest stage of a decade-plus journey that seems like it's nowhere near finished.