While Def Jam Recordings newest crooner, August Alsina, finds himself basking in the success of his latest single, “I Luv This Sh*t,” featuring label mate Trinidad James, his life has not always been as smooth as his silky and soulful vocals.
The 20 year-old New Orleans native, at an early age, weathered a home life inundated by drugs and violence. With both his father and stepfather battling crack addiction, August’s mother relocated their family to Houston, Texas in search of a new beginning.
At the age of 14, August learned that his father (August Sr.) had lost his battle with drugs and alcohol and just two years later he was kicked out of his mother’s home. Alone, August returned to the streets of New Orleans where he bounced around between the homes of family and friends. Out of desperation, he gravitated to the streets alongside his older brother, selling drugs as a means to survive.
Just days before August’s 18th birthday, in a tragic turn of events, his older brother was shot and killed in New Orleans East. Instead of becoming another statistic, he used his brother’s death as motivation to pursue his musical aspirations with a deeper sense of passion.
I recently caught up with an enthusiastic yet laid-back August to discuss his life, upbringing, signing to Def Jam Recordings as well as his current and future projects. He had the following to say…
For those who don’t know, who exactly is August Alsina?
I’m just a young dude trying to get it. I’m a hustler who’s hustling this music. I plan on taking over pretty soon. I have a lot of ambition and a lot of spirit.
You recently signed a deal with Def Jam. How does this make you feel?
Man, you know, that’s a blessing but at the same time it’s just half of the milestone. We worked hard to get a deal but that just puts you in the race. You know what I’m saying? So, really, it’s a blessing but it just means harder work to come is all.
What do you like and dislike most about the industry thus far?
What I like most about the industry is, it allows me the opportunity to do what I love and it’s a way that I can feed and take care of my people in my squad. I guess what I dislike about it is, as an artist, you kind of sign up to put yourself out there in front of people to be judged. I think people get it confused. They think that you trying to impress them but I’ve really never been that type of person who cares what other people think of me. So, that’s the biggest part [of what I dislike] but, you know, it comes with it.
When did you first start singing?
[I’ve been singing] for about six years and it’s crazy because a lot of people don’t believe me when I say that but it’s the truth. I was watching Sister Act 2 and I saw Lauryn Hill and I was like, “Damn, that’s dope.” I wanted to do it and I just stuck with it. It’s crazy because no one in my family has ever sung. No one is musically inclined and no one plays any instruments. It’s just a gift from God to save me from the negative things that I was doing.