The Recording Academy Chicago Chapter played host for GRAMMYs On The Road at Lollapalooza on Aug. 3–5 in Grant Park in Chicago. The Chapter conducted exclusive backstage interviews with artists performing at the festival, including soul artist Aloe Blacc and post-punk/soul collective JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound.
Aloe Blacc discussed his early influences, the state of musicianship in today's music industry and the inspiration behind his lyrics, among other topics.
"My album Good Things is really inspired by classic soul of the late '60s, early '70s," says Aloe Blacc, "like Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, Donny Hathaway, Bill Withers, [and] Marvin Gaye."
After entering the business as a hip-hop artist, in 2006 Aloe Blacc issued his debut soul album, Shine Through. In addition to writing or co-writing a majority of the album's 16 tracks, Aloe Blacc also co-produced, engineered and mixed the album. He issued his sophomore album, Good Things, in 2010. The album reached No. 41 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart. The single "I Need A Dollar" reached No. 2 on the UK singles chart and a video for the song has garnered more than 21 million views on YouTube.
JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound's frontman JC Brooks and guitarist Billy Bungeroth discussed their eclectic influences, their love for vinyl and analog gear, among other topics.
"[Our influences include] the Clash, Gang Of Four [and] great Stax artists [such as] Otis Redding," said Brooks. "Individually, I'm into Steely Dan, Anita Baker, Patti LaBelle [and] Janelle Monáe. I listen to a lot of wildly different music."
Chicago-based JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound formed in 2007, their name inspired by the Uptown Chicago neighborhood. Consisting of Brooks, Bungeroth, Kevin Marks (drums), Andy Rosenstein (keyboards), and Ben Taylor (bass), the group's sound is a mixture of elements of classic Motown, dance punk, soul, and garage rock. They have recorded two album, 2009's Beat Of Our Own Drum and 2011's Want More. In addition to several original songs, the latter album contains a cover of Wilco's "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart."
(GRAMMYs On The Road at Lollapalooza: Interviews and news contributions by Ramon Alvarez-Smikle, Christina Castillo, Max O'Kane, and Emily Ornberg.)
Come back tomorrow for more GRAMMYs On The Road at Lollapalooza coverage.