Words: Pankhuri Bhutani
Photography: Dylan March
Picking up the ukulele, drums, and piano when he was merely seven years old, Alex Aiono has now successfully transformed into a global sensation. From producing his own unique covers of hit songs, he has now, through the power of his immense talent, garnered nearly a Billion views on his YouTube channel, over 500 million streams on his music, 6 Million followers across socials, has achieved Top 10 hits of his very own, sold out tours around the world, and starred in several movies (Most recently seen in Finding 'Ohana).
At just the age of 25, Alex has successfully established a loyal fanbase from all around the world and have collaborated with artists like John Legend and Jon Bellion. Recently releasing his brand new single “Played Out” featuring the talented Jake Miller, Alex unveiled a personal yet powerful side of his life. In the intimate and intoxicating new single, glassy vocals packed with emotion usher in gorgeous, anthemic production as Alex muses on all the hardships he’s had to overcome in order to get to where he is now.
Alex Aiono has been making waves over the past few years with his incredibly empowering sound and it is without a doubt proven that he has all the makings of global pop’s new leading artist. We recently had the opportunity to talk to the wonderful Alex Aiono regarding the creative process behind the song, his plans on future projects and a message he wishes to convey to his fans.
Hi there Alex. Thank you for joining us on ReVamp! How is 2021 treating you so far?
Hey! Thank you for having me : ) 2021 has definitely been packed with a strong mix of adventure, work, play, rest, risk and reward! It’s also been a year of appreciation as I’m getting to live pieces of full unrestricted life after this pandemic era of lockdown.
You recently released your incredible new single “Played Out” featuring the talented Jake Miller. Congratulations on that! How has the response been like on the track so far?
Thank you again! I think my favorite thing about this new era of art that I’m creating is that it’s so me. It’s me every day. With Played Out, I’m talking about my actual relationship in real-time with my friend Jake who is also talking about his actual relationship in real-time. And this feeling of creating and sharing my art that is about what’s happening to me in real time is so fulfilling. And then on top of that, seeing this song and this era of art resonate so much with the fans is a special reminder to just be me and create freely from within.
Kindly walk us through the creative process of the track. Did you face any kind of challenge during the production stage of the track?
First I want to shout out Devin Kennedy who produced the track for “Played out”. He’s a major reason there wasn’t any challenge creating this one. Jake and I spoke from our hearts with the lyrics, and Dev brought it home with the incredible production! We even challenged him by asking him to create this fun outro for the song that was comprised of real voice notes and special moments from our lives. And even then, he crushed it!
How was it like working with Jake? Did your initial visualization of the track match up with the final outcome?
You know, when we first wrote the song, Jake and I had no intention of both of us being on it. We just wanted to write a fun and great song. But after we had the first session, the idea of us doing the song together came up and felt like a no brainer! As another amazing artist who has been grinding for years and years (we played a show together 7 years ago!) it’s been amazing to connect with him again and work on something special!
This chapter of your life certainly showcases a very personal side of you and your music. What was it exactly that made you decide that this was the perfect moment to express your inner feelings and experiences through your creations?
This year I celebrated 10 years of being in LA, chasing my dreams. And throughout those 10 years, I’ve been human and allowed different things to guide my creativity. Money, likes, views, big executives, etc. And as I look back, every moment I’ve had a personal breakthrough or created my best work, it’s been from creating from within without caring or worrying what anyone else thinks how “well” it will perform. And more so, I’ve noticed that PEOPLE actually feel and respond in a more genuine and real way when I am more personal and true to myself. So moving forward, I decide every day not to care about likes or views and to truly focus on being me and creating what feels right within.
You have established such a vast amount of fanbase over the past few years. Do you think having such an enormous amount of support online builds up pressure for your projects or is it something that you perceive as a source of motivation?
This question, I feel, is so important for ANYONE, regardless of how many followers or fans you have. There is this delicate balance that I think an artist in the modern world must find between appreciating and respecting the viewer/fan/critic, while also making sure the art you create is absolutely self-fulfilling from the start. Most of my darker mental health moments with work stemmed from creating art that wasn’t self fulfilling from the jump, causing me to rely on the performance of that art to dictate my perception of how “good” it was. I actively fight to stay motivated to create as much self fulfilling art that I can, and then respect and appreciate anyone who follows or is a fan of me by sharing as much of it as possible!
Who are the top 3 artists on your music playlist right now? Who would you love to collaborate with in the future?
Recently I’ve been going back to my modern day staples! Leon Bridges, Jon Bellion, and Blxst are currently filling my listening time. Obviously I’d love to create with them, but also have been really enjoying other artists like Fiji Blue and Majid Jordan! I’d love to work with them too!
What’s next for you, Alex? Any upcoming music or project that you would like to hint your fans about?
Like I mentioned before, 2021 has been full of adventure and excitement! My first feature film dropped (Finding Ohana), and as I type this I’m watching a sketch I’m in. (The new season of I Think You Should Leave). I’ve gotten to release a song I absolutely love with a good friend, and I’ve spent a solid portion of this year in Hawaii working on another project. I’m just excited to keep pushing and working and releasing more art that really makes my heart feel full and proud of who I’m continuously becoming.
Lastly, is there anything that you wish to convey to your fans reading this interview right now?
Hmm… Here’s a fun quote my dad hit me with a little bit ago. Take it as you need to.
“If you’re in your head, you’re dead. If you’re in your heart, you’re smart.”
You can listen to Alex Aiono's single to "Played Out" below.