21-year-old August Alsina is undoubtedly breaking ground as one of 2013’s breakout music stars.
Bringing his refreshing, street savvy brand of hip hop/R&B to the masses, the New Orleans native – in just a few short months – has already seen his Chris Brown and Trey Songz -assisted debut single ‘I Luv This Sh*t’ skyrocket to the top of R&B charts. This record-setting feat, the young crooner tells That Grape Juice, is just the beginning of what he has to offer.
Chatting exclusively to TGJ the ‘Ghetto’ hitmaker shares news about his successes so far, first full length LP, talks about that much-talked about ‘Wendy’ show appearance, and so much more. Get into it all below:
TGJ: In a time where so many are manufactured, you seem to be very in control of your image. How important is that for you?
August: I honestly don’t give a f*ck. I don’t do what I do or dress the way I dress for people’s approval. This is me and all I can give you is me. If you rock with me, I rock with you. If you don’t, f*ck you.
As far as my image goes, this the way my mama made me. It’s just me.
TGJ: As a New Orleans native, tell us the city’s culture has influenced you.
August: In every way! I’m New Orleans up and down. It’s what made me. It’s where I came from. Watching Cash Money and Hot Boyz and just seeing them being from New Orleans coming up mad it cool for me. They were my motivation.
TGJ: Cool! Who else do you cite as influences?
August: Honestly, I’m influenced by a lot. Anybody who has made it in this industry has something for me to learn from them. Musically, it’s not just one person in particular that did it for me.
TGJ: Your single “I Luv This Sh*t”, as of time reporting, is sitting pretty at #1 on the charts. It’s the first R&B debut single to top the Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop chart in four years! How does it feel to have such a warm reception so early?
August: Man, it’s a blessing honestly. Once you get a number one, all eyes are on you. People want to see if you can do it again.
I’m not stuck on it because I’ve seen people with a #1 then after that you don’t know where they at. So, I’m not caught up into it, but it’s a milestone and I thank God for it. But, now I’m focused on getting another number 1.
TGJ: We’re sure you’re hoping ‘Ghetto’ will do the trick. Why did you feel it was the best single to follow-up?
August: When I recorded ‘Ghetto’ I was in love in it from the beginning when I started writing it to everything else. I’m all about vibing. If my heart, spirit, and body says “yes”, I can’t deny it.
It’s something more women can feel. I’m dropping music so people can really feel my story.
TGJ: It’s on repeat here at TGJ HQ. Now, let’s switch gears a bit and talk about your live television debut on ‘Wendy Williams Show’. The performance got mixed reviews from viewers. What are your thoughts on its reception?
August: TV is weird. That was my very first live TV performance and it was a new experience for me. You’ve really got to create your own zone for those type of shows, from what I’ve learned. There is no energy there for you to feed off…it’s just you. I’m learning as I go.
It’s not like I just got on there and bombed. If anything, it was a learning experience.
TGJ: Definitely! Now, tell us more about your EP ‘Downtown: Life Under the Gun’. What should we expect from it?
August: Expect to go on a journey and honestly get to know me. You can get to know me on a level that not a lot of people like to open up about. It really opens your eyes to who I am and where I come from. If you haven’t heard it, check it out.
TGJ: Any hints on the next single?
August: No, not yet (laughs). I’m focused on making sure what’s out can get heard. But, I’m dropping that at the top of the next year.
TGJ: When should we expect a full length LP?
August: My album has been done for a long time, but it’s a matter of timing. Look for it at the top of next year.
TGJ: Awesome. Well, as we look forward to that and bring this interview to a close, tell us: what does August Alsina bring to the game that wasn’t there before him?
August: August Alsina is bringing August Alsina. I’m just bringing my story and my point of view. I’m not them and they’re not me.
*Bonus – TGJ: Advice for other up-and-comers?
August: Always be persistent. If you want to do something, you’ve got to put your mind, body, and soul into it and know it’s something you want to do. First, you’ve got to love it. Then, you’ve got to see sh*t when it’s blurry. Even now for me at point of success in my career, I still just don’t know some things.
Go with the flow, but have a plan. Do your best to execute. Never conform for anyone.
Interview by: Quinno Rashad (That Grape Juice US)