1883 Magazine

Going viral by mashing up and covering chart hits on his YouTube channel, Alex Aiono soon became one of the most successful YouTubers to date, counting over 4 million followers so far.

Recently the Los Angeles-based artist released his debut single “Work The Middle” which has already reached over 1,5 million streams on Spotify. He just came back from his sold out European headline show, so we sat down with Alex and had a chat about his YouTube channel, his passion for song writing and more.

Did you always enjoy singing or was there once something else you wanted to do?

No, music was always something really important. With my family we’d always go to church and sing and go home and sing and had a good time. That’s simply how we connected as a family so it was really important to me from the start.

Why did you decide to start a YouTube channel in the first place? Was there a moment when you thought “Yeah, let’s do this”?

I guess when I started my YouTube channel it was mainly because I wanted to find a way to connect with everybody from my family, the fans I was gaining along the way, my friends who lived back in Arizona; just really for anyone who wanted to get to know me as a person and artist. So I ended up doing it via YouTube.

Did you find it hard to gain followers in the beginning and did you ever worry about it?

I wasn’t really worried about that because my main thing was just sharing content with my fans and having fun and make my channel as a way to express myself. I just wanted to have fun and that’s probably why the channel grew so much, as the focus was never about getting those followers. It’s not super healthy for you to only focus on having success.

You gained enormous popularity through your mashup-videos, how did that idea come about?

I always enjoyed DJ’s combining songs and mashing them up on the radio. I’ve always been a big fan of putting two of your favourite songs together and listening to it. So I thought just adding them into what I do with music would be fun and innovative.

What’s your approach when combining two songs for a mashup? Under which criteria do you choose them?

They are mainly songs I just like and enjoy listening to, and that I think would do well. So I listen to that song and think of others that could fit with it. Sometimes it’s a classic song, sometimes it’s a Michael Jackson song. Sometimes it’s a new song. You can pretty much put any song together.

Tell us about your new single “Work The Middle” and the video! How did the collaboration with Wildabeast Adam come about?

I met Will at the Radio Disney Music Awards in 2016 and since then we always talked about working together. When “Work The Middle” first came out and we talked about what we wanted to do for the video, we talked about a few choreographers and Will came up. So we looked at his videos and were really excited about. I was excited to finally be working with him because we talked about it for so long. He’s an amazing choreographer and he’s really about his art and his craft. I appreciate that.

Is there any meaning behind the lyrics?

“Work the middle” is more like a surface kind of song. It’s about having fun, dancing and not worrying about a deeper meaning. With the new single “Question” and the songs that I’m releasing in the near future are definitely deeper about me as an artist.

When did you decide to focus on singing your own songs instead of producing mashup videos?

Funny that you say that! Actually, when I first came to LA I was writing songs for other artists and myself. That was one of the main things that made me go to LA in the first place. A lot of people know me for my mashups, but I actually did my own stuff before. I released an original EP in 2013, wrote with John Legend and other decorated songwriters and producers. When I moved to LA I worked with Babyface. Songwriting has always been very important to me so I’m excited to be getting back to singing songs that come from my heart.

You’ve just completed your European tour, how was this experience? Was there any city you loved performing in the most?

I have never done my own headlining tour before, never really any headline shows. But it was great fun. It was my first time touring in Europe so I was a bit nervous and worried nobody would come to my show just because it was something I had never done before. But it was so much fun, every single show sold out. It has been an amazing experience! Every crowd was so incredibly amazing and I can’t really decide where I enjoyed performing the most. From London to Paris to Copenhagen to Amsterdam to Berlin to Madrid, it was just an amazing tour and a great way to kick off my European touring. My European fan base is so strong and I love my army here so much.

Did you ever expect to sell out your shows?

Well, it’s the dream. I’m so used to playing with other artists so people have another reason to come to shows. So it’s a little nerve-wrecking when there is nobody else on the line-up and you kinda have to sell the tickets yourself. A few shows sold out within a couple of minutes, the whole tour was sold out very quickly. I’m still wrapping my head around it and feel so very blessed.

What else have you got in store for this year? Can we expect new music or new shows?

Absolutely! All of the above. We are releasing more music very, very soon. We’ve got the new single “Question” out right now. I have a collab with Felix Jaehn coming up which is a really fun summer record. In July, myself and Sabrina Carpenter are touring in North America. I just wanna keep giving my fans all the love and content they wanna see and hear.

Last but not least, what is your advice to those who would like to start a YouTube channel, and eventually gain fame from it?

Don’t only try and gain popularity from it otherwise you won’t do it well. But if you have a lot of fun with it and people start watching you have fun, it will be so much more enjoyable to watch. Then just keep having fun and posting consistently. Make the best videos you possibly can. If your main focus is popularity you will lose sight of everything else, so just have fun with it and enjoy yourself!

Alex’s track ’Question’ is out now via this linkFor his latest news and tour dates head to www.alexaiono.com

Interview Antonia Künzel

Photography Stephanie YT

Styling Indigo Goss

Grooming Lynda Darragh using Mac Cosmetics 

Shot at La Suite Hotel, London

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