Aidin Vaziri | Aloe Blacc captures the moment with his breakthrough hit, “I Need a Dollar.” The funky recession anthem not only serves as the theme song for HBO’s “How to Make It in America” but also has made its singer – born Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III – an international star. The track comes from the 32-year-old Los Angeles native’s latest album, “Good Things,” which was released last year after Blacc spent more than a decade in the music business (he was in the rap group Emanon). Before that, Blacc was a health-insurance consultant at Ernst & Young.
Q: Did you have any idea “I Need a Dollar” would strike a chord with so many people – and not just homeless ones?
A: I didn’t realize it would be such a big song. As an indie artist, you get used to making music for your little niche of fans, but nothing on the level of being in the Top 10 in the U.K. or getting a gold record in France. Especially after 15 years of doing this.
Q: What’s the most you’ve done for a dollar?
A: Back in the day, I used to make sandwiches for people. I haven’t really gotten down and dirty for a dollar. I’ve been pretty lucky. I can’t say I ever hated a job.
Q: Do you ever miss doing paperwork?
A: I’m pretty much doing it as an artist. I came up doing everything on my own and nothing changed until recently when things started getting bigger.