Recently signed to Universal, Mr Alex Aiono is young, fresh and uber talented; with over 50 million views on his remix of Drake’s “One Dance” we think he’s got a unique sound, a cool vibe and a tropical feel making us all want to get away and dance! Verge was lucky enough to get to chat with Alex and quiz him about what its like going from YouTube star to Universal Records’ latest one to watch.
Alex you’re following in the footsteps of superstars like Justin Bieber who were also discovered on YouTube – was this something you were conscious of when you first started out on YouTube?
When I first started out on YouTube I wasn’t really conscious of anything. I didn’t really have any preconceived ideas or set thoughts of what the future would hold, I just wanted to find a way to share my music, share my personality, and share videos of myself having fun and enjoying life with my family that could be on the other side of the world or fans that were joining along on my journey. I had no idea or plan to be discovered and gain a big following on YouTube, I just wanted to have fun and express myself.
What is the plan for you? Now being signed with a massive label like Polydor can you tell us what is in store?
Right now my plan is to just continue giving the fans more music and continue to make and deliver new content for the fans because they have been so amazing this far. I want to continue to express myself; being signed to a label like Interscope and working with a big label like Polydor out here in the UK has been a great platform from which I can do that and I feel very lucky to be working with such incredible companies who believe in my dream and the goals that I have in my mind.
Are you living the dream? Tell us how you’re finding daily life now? Dynamics of your “old” life must of changed quite a lot?
Yes I am totally living the dream but at the same time, I wouldn’t say I have an “old” life versus a “new” life. My life is kind of the same – I always live it the same and I still look at everything the same way. It’s just that the surroundings around me have changed and instead of singing in my room, I’m singing for crowds. Instead of meeting with my management, I’m meeting with labels and agencies/companies that want to work with me. I feel very lucky that I continue to get to work with such amazing companies, brands, and people and have as much fun as I get to have. It’s really unfair honestly.
Your version of Drakes “One Dance” went viral and shows you not only singing but being versatile with instruments to, I loved the version and came across it quite early on so I am not surprised at its success – tell us about this video and the experience of having it viewed by so many??
People always ask about this and I’m not sure if they expect to hear me say, “I knew the video was going to be big” and there’s this big grand story. Honestly, I was making a weekly Friday video and “One Dance” was just another one of those videos. My goal is to make every video as well as I can possibly make it. I pushed myself to make the best possible video that I could and I thought it would be cool to put a Spanish song mashed up with the new Drake single, but I had no idea that it would blow up as big as it did. I always dreamed that one of my videos would eventually become viral and have tens of millions of views so having it actually happen in real life was very surreal and very hard to grasp at first. That’s a large number that we are talking about – 50 million – that’s more than the population of many countries. It’s wild to think that more than a country’s worth of people has seen one of my videos.
Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself, family life, what was life-like growing up in the Aiono house?? Are you from a musical family etc?
Growing up in the Aiono house was definitely a very musical thing. Between my father playing the piano and loving music and my mom inspiring us with her musical taste from listening to Run D.M.C. to The Beatles and Michael Jackson. Having such great musical taste inspired my sisters and me to not only listen to what was popular now but to also appreciate music that were all-time classics, “the Oldies,” and the timeless songs. Growing up in that with my father who is very musical as well, as well as learning to play instruments, all of my siblings would always gather around and we would harmonize and go to church and sing together and we would perform for each other. When one of us would learn a new song we would teach it to everybody else to learn, so it was a way that my family got closer and bonded. To this day, it’s still something that we do together.
Who would your dream collaboration be with?
When it comes to music and production, I would love to work with Pharrell Williams. I think he has always had a finger on what is forward-thinking music: music that pushes the envelope and changes the game, so I would love working with him. When it comes to working with an artist, Justin Timberlake to me is the epitome of what I see myself becoming as an artist. He has his hands in all forms of entertainment. From singing to acting to clothing lines – so I would love to see myself have the opportunity to learn from Justin. Especially if I had the opportunity to learn from him in a personal sense and get to meet him – that would be incredible.
Finally what can we expect from you in the near future?
I am so excited to be releasing new music and continue to express myself through original music, new YouTube videos and covers, and all forms of media that I get to make for the fans. A lot of touring – I love playing and getting to meet the fans in person and I’m so excited to be back out on the road this summer in North America with Sabrina Carpenter on The De-Tour. Hopefully we can find some more ways to get out.
You can find Alex on Instagram and Twitter @alexaiono