FORMERLY based out of Chicago…
it seems things are getting better and better for the L.A. artist, Aleem. I have been speaking with him about the current single, Stranger Things. He talks about his progression and supporting Fifth Harmony; whether he will come to the U.K. and play over here this year; the artists he was raised on – and, whether there is a healthy music market in Chicago.
I was curious to discover what advice he would give to new artists; the three albums that mean the most to him; some new artists worth checking out; what his ambitions are for the rest of the year – he finishes the interview with one of his favourite songs.
Hi, Aleem. How are you? How has your week been?
I’ve been great, thanks!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m a singer/songwriter from Chicago - and I have just recently toured with Little Mix and Fifth Harmony (these past couple of years).
Stranger Things is your new single. What can you reveal about its story and creation?
Stranger Things is a love song about accepting one’s past.
The story behind the song came from a relationship I was in where I could tell my significant other was hurt and jaded from her past relationships. This was causing her to shut off and build up a wall because she was scared that her past might come up and ruin the present. The song is, basically, me shouting out saying that I accept wherever she is coming from - and that it wouldn't take away from what we have.
Your previous single, So Damn Good, was well-received and accrued many millions of Spotify streams. Did that give you the confidence to keep pushing?
It’s incredibly humbling to see your hard work to get recognized in that honor. My job is to write stories that people can relate to. I’m extremely ecstatic and honored that so many around the world were able to connect with my songs.
Will there be more material to come? What are you working on at the moment?
Most definitely! I’m currently in the studio writing and recording new stuff!
You have a mix of sun-kissed tones and R&B sounds. Which artists did you grow up listening to? Were you raised in a musical household?
I’m actually the only one in my entire family that has any sort of musical talent. To this day, my family is confused on where my talent came from. I have three main artists that I am truly inspired by and model my craft around: I’m a huge fan of Bruno Mars, The Script and John Mayer.
Chicago is where you are based. What is the music scene like there? Is Illinois quite a varied and busy musical state?
Unfortunately, Chicago doesn't have much of a Pop scene: the city is well known for its Jazz and Gospel roots. I was fortunate to get my start in Chicago learning about the industry and working on my craft – but, it wasn’t until I moved to Los Angeles that really helped kick-start my career.
Previously; you have opened for Fifth Harmony. Was it quite a daunting moment – or did you learn quite a lot from that experience?!
It was an epic experience. Even though it was my first-ever arena run, I’d say the results were incredible! I enjoyed every moment. You learn so much about yourself as an artist when you get an opportunity to play on such huge stages. The game is completely changed and the stakes are much higher.
I loved the challenge of being an unknown act and introducing myself to thousands of new fans! Both the Fifth Harmony and Little Mix tours were absolutely insane!
IN THIS PHOTO: Marshmellow
If you had to choose the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
They would come from my three favorite artists: 24K Magic - Bruno Mars; Continuum - John Mayer and The Script’s self-titled (first) album. These albums were extremely cutting-edge when they were released in their respective times. Each song on each album has a purpose. It’s not just collections of songs: each album tells a story and takes you on a journey.
Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?
I’m pretty excited to be putting some U.K. dates of my own together very soon!
Do you like performing in the U.K.?
I love performing here. It’s one of the most passionate fan bases I’ve witnessed – I love every single time I’m back.
What do you hope to achieve, personally, in 2018?
I hope to continue to be able to share my music around the world. I love being able to get in the studio and work on my craft - and then be able to travel and play my music live and put on a show.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
I think, overall, that feeling of when you know you have something good while working in the studio. There’s a certain energy in the room that overcomes you when you know you are recording something that will make a mark out there. I love that feeling.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Stay rehearsed! You never know when or where your opportunity will come from. Stay hungry and ready to pounce when that door opens up.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Drops of Jupiter - Train. One of my all-time favorite songs!