Photo By Corey Hammons

Get To Know Alexander Mack, Virginia’s Upcoming Jazz Rapper

I recently found myself heading to my SoundCloud feed and checking my inbox to scope out some cool new sounds to get acquainted with. That’s when I came across Virginia’s very own, Alexander Mack.

Within my first listen I was intrigued by his sound, captured by his jazz-like vocals like nothing I had been listening to at the time. Needless to say, I was into the vibe and curious of his catalog and what the upcoming rapper is all about.

Alexander grew up with a father who was a successful musician himself (playing in Atlantic Starr with a young Barbara Weathers) so being a successful artist and making it in the industry was never a ‘wild idea’ or something that wasn’t attainable – and you can hear that confidence in his voice. He was asked at an early age if he caught certain musical gestures, melodies, and notes in music that gave him the tools to see and hear music in a special way. All of his production, and lyrics are handled by himself in his happy place (studio) that resides in the basement of his home, used to keep him centered, as a reminder to keep pushing. “That’s where I can feel like myself,” he said. “It also makes me feel hungry like I need to work.”

Having previously linked up with “Playinwitme” rapper Kyle, and in close contact with Trey Songz’s producer, Troy Taylor, Alexander Mack’s on the brink of stepping on the forefront and becoming a household name that many more will be acquainted with.


“Small Talk” has been out for some time now. How have reactions been so far? How do you feel now that it’s finally out?

I’ve been holding on to this song for about a year and a half now, so I’m hype to finally put it out. It’s a very personal but relatable song, and the reactions from my supporters have been nothing short of amazing. I was self-conscious about talking about certain things [I’ve gone] through prior to this release, but I know that these are things that so many other people go through, although it’s not cool to talk about.

Reading the messages that my supporters send about the song inspiring them to get through their specific struggle makes me fulfilled as an artist.

What kinds of things were you self-conscious about?

You don’t hear many artists in hip-hop (or music in general) openly talking about debt, much less student debt. Breaking that norm and giving people insight into my own life was kind of an intimidating thought at first. In my project, I go much deeper into that issue and other ones that typically affect many people at the stage of life that I’m in.

 

You stated how you have Synesthesia. How has this positively impacted your music ability? Has it had any negative impacts?

Synesthesia has always been how I learn and create. I associate letters,
numbers, and sounds with colour.

The colours I see while creating help me determine if a song is vibrant enough, the colors the song triggers in my mind fits the mood I’m trying to convey in the instruments, and even the individual sounds I use to make instrumental.

When it comes to music, Synesthesia does nothing but help me.

A lot of your music is self-produced, is this something you want to maintain, are you very selective about who you collaborate with?

I definitely want to always produce my own tracks, simply because I have a very unique sound that I want to preserve. With that being said, I definitely want to collaborate with my favorite producers from the past and present that inspires my sound and could also add something different to what I’m already doing.

You recently linked up with KYLE, how did that come to be and how was the experience?

I met KYLE’s longtime friend Brick on Instagram. We talked pretty
frequently and sent midi chords and music ideas back every so often as
well. A lot of people don’t realize that Brick is a talented producer himself (producing “To The Moon” and co-writing “PlayinWitMe”). When I heard KYLE was performing at my alma mater Radford University, I showed up too and hit Brick up. After the show, Brick noticed me in the crowd, brought me up on stage, and we all went backstage after the show was done. Me, Brick, Kyle their friend Jesus, and my friend Unikue just sat in the green room and chopped it up about music and a bunch of other random things too. They’re dope, humble guys and it was cool to finally kick it in person.

You previously stated that in college you “had professors and others try to sway me from chasing [music].” Who is one person you can think of that always had your back and told you to keep going?

Unikue, my roommate in college was an emcee and musician as well. We made music together in the dorm and performed together. We went through a lot of things while we were just trying to get a chance to come up. Actually, the faculty member that said that “nobody was going to care” said that to both of us. We always encouraged each other to keep moving. Other than Unikue, I’ve always had a dope support system in my family and my lady as well. There were times when I wanted to give up and they encouraged me to keep my head up, accept myself for who I am, and see how far I’ve come and where I’m going.

Being as you self-produce, write and handle your music by yourself, who is someone you trust to give you an honest opinion? 

I always send my team songs as I finish them so I can get an outside
opinion. Other than that I let my Dad hear what I’m working on as well.

Who are you listening to right now?

Right now I’ve most recently gotten into Christian Rich. Their production is mind-blowing and has inspired me to experiment more with my sound on the production side.

I listen to a lot of Tribe, Pharrell, Childish Gambino, Goldlink, Stan Getz, and Astrud Gilberto amongst many others.

What do you have lined up for the rest of the year?

The rest of the year I’ll be releasing music from my debut project, doing more shows, writing music for television and commercials, producing for/collaborating with other artists, and a lot of other things that I’m
crazy excited about! I’m hype to show everyone what we’ve been working on and who we’ve been working with behind the scenes.

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