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Talent is realized; not learned, and although life is a timeless roller coaster of ups & downs, dreams along with the strides of hard work can earn you the opportunity to be both the driver and passenger of your destiny. Which has never been truer for Louisiana bred, August Alsina, entering and smashing the music industry at just 21 years old who is enjoying the ride all the way to success.

WRITTEN BY Adam Lesher
INTERVIEW BY Christine Davis
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Def Jam Recordings

With the adoration and love for his hometown of New Orleans flowing through him, August is anxious to make his mark in music following behind the greats from his hometown before him that put N.O on the map. August's who has inked a deal with Def Jam Recordings looks to be an incredible addition to the legendary label, however music wasn't generally in his future. Growing up at a young age, August learned the hard way of the true nature attached to life in the fast lane where money and drugs are concerned. With both his father and stepfather fighting cocaine addictions, August's mother moved their family to Houston, Texas looking for a new beginning. However Houston offered no euphoric close for his family; for a long time, a young August bared a life tormented by drugs and violence. Just only 14 years of age, August received news from New Orleans that is father, August Sr., lost his fight with drugs.

With the turning point that forced him to deal with the harsh reality of life, August took to YouTube, uploading musical covers from artists like Lyfe Jennings and Musiq Soulchild, which eventually went viral.


...I never expected them [the police] to find his killer....People die every day in the streets of New Orleans. Unfortunately, death has become a way of life...

Generating a huge number of views in simply over a month, it appeared that he was at last taking his first steps to a very bright future in music. Yet simply a year later, the harsh reality of life hit home again when his best friend was shot and killed in the streets of Houston. As fast as August showed up in his new coveted spotlight on YouTube he soon vanished once again back to reality. With pressures mounting, 16-year-old August was soon after kicked out of his mother's home. Alone, he went back to New Orleans. He bounced around between family and friends for temporary shelter, and had many nights where the corner store gave him shelter on the cold streets of New Orleans. Inevitably, he took to the streets, selling drugs just to stay afloat and to survive.

With his older brother also in the streets hustling, it wouldn't be much longer that August discovered that a strong fixation on cash could be as dangerous as the dependence on drugs. Days before August's eighteenth birthday, his older brother was gunned down in New Orleans East, another unsolved homicide in one of the country's most dangerous cities.

Determined more than ever, his brother's passing turned into his inspiration to not only change his path in life, but to pursue after his musical yearnings on a different and new level.

Under the direction of his management NNTME Muco, AKA Noontime, August migrated to Atlanta in 2011 to start shaping his career. His encounters in life are what formed him to the person he is today, regardless of how mercilessly true, positive or negative those experiences were, they serve as the point of convergence of his artistry in music.

In April of 2012 August made his introduction when he collaborated with Hoodrich/MMG's DJ Scream for the release of his debut mixtape, "The Product", which earned him a certain amount of web and radio fame. August soon generated the Sound Mob-produced single "Sucka," featuring another New Orleans local, R&B vocalist Lloyd, the track offers the notion that "Love is for Suckas". In May 2013, Alsina returned followed up his mixtape, this time collaborating with DJ Drama and his Gangsta Grillz brand. The gold single, "I Luv This Sh*t," featuring August label mate Trinidad Jame$. The top 10 hit record, produced by Knucklehead, speaks to the resistant and, sometimes, careless lifestyle that finds August singing words that many can identify with, "I'm way too drunk to be talking like this, I'm way too high to be trippin' like this", it's that same honesty and rebelliousness sound that caught the ear of Cash Money CEO/Rich Gang manager, Birdman, who jumped on the remix to mark the his fellow New Orleans native.

On January 14, 2014, August Alsina released his next single "Make It Home" featuring Jeezy, currently heating up the airwaves as the lead single from his debut studio album. In addition to the single release, August revealed that the album will be titled "Testimony" set to release April 15th. While only 21 years of age, and as of now a lifetime of encounters behind him, August is an existing confirmation that your past doesn't need to make your future, and that life's hardships could be the inspiration needed for triumph.

...I don't feel like I'm that well known yet. There's a lot more growing to do, but I'm the same nigga out the hood, just with a little more money...

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It's my pleasure to be talking with the one and only August Alsina!! How are you doing?
I'm good. Workin' hard and gettin' no sleep, but I can't complain.

That's great; tell me how it feels to be living your dream?
I'm not sure if I'm living the dream just yet, but we're working towards it and we're growing everyday.

Now you know the fans are going crazy waiting for your debut album "August Alsina Testimony" coming out on April 15th. Talk me through the process of creating this album.
It was a long process. Me and my squad just stayed focus on what we wanted to talk about. We didn't get distracted by what was on the radio, who was hot, or what other people were talking about. It's my story and it doesn't sound like anyone else's music. We didn't chase producers or features, things just fell into place the way they're suppose to.

When you were recording "I Luv This Sh*t" did you have a feeling it would end up being #1 because it was such a hit?
I won't say that I knew it was a number one, but I knew that it was the first song that I wanted people to hear from me. It's just honest and true to the lifestyle that me and a lot of other people lead.

I love that song, out of all the songs on the album what's your favorite song and why?
It really depends, but if I had to choose one, it would be Right There. It's about comin up, hunstlin and not forgetting where you come from.

So is it fair to say that the throughout the album there's a theme of it being inspired by your life experiences?
Definitely. Testimony is basically my life in the form of an album. It's the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

I know that for you family is a big thing, what impact does your family have on you and your career?
They have a lot to do with it. We're not doing this to have a good time. When you come from where I come from and have been thorough what I've been through you have to look at this as a means of survival for me and my family. My brother left 3 little girls behind and I do my part to make sure they're straight.

That's amazing I think that in this industry it's so important to have a solid support system and it's great to hear that yours is behind you 100%. You are currently touring, what is that experience like?
We just wrapped the 2 Good to be T.R.U. Tour with 2 Chainz and Pusha T. It was a great experience and a great opportunity to get in front of 2000 people each night and try to earn some new supporters. You can't ask for much more than that leading into an album.

It has to be a fulfilling feeling knowing that all those fans know the lyrics to your songs. I have noticed that on your social networks you're very interactive with your fans, what do your fans really mean to you?
Who are we without our fans? They mean everything. I have real fans who relate to me through my story, not just for a hit record. I've been all over the world in the past 3 months and it's a trip to see people in Germany singing Downtown word for word.

And I mean you've made numerous "thank you" Instagram videos for them and I think that's so humbling and amazing because a lot of artists don't take the time to do that. Let's chat a little about your fashion sense because it's super hot…would you say that you're an integral part in deciding what to wear or is it your stylist decision?
Everything I do is my decision. I have people around me who understand me, so when it comes to ideas, style, etc., they know what vibe I'm on. But if it's wack, I'm not doin it. No matter who brings it to me or what it is.

What I love about your style is it's what I would like to call "classy hip-hop sheik" it's very nice!! So I know a lot of your female fan base is dying to know what's going on in August's love life do you have anyone special right now?
Na. I don't have time to think about that. I'm on a mission right now.

Wow okay!!! Now I know you know your fans love you especially the ladies, so put them up on game a little bit…what type of girl is August Alsina's dream girl?
I don't know if I have a dream girl, but I like a chick who's book and street smart, confident and ambitious

Alright ladies I hope you're taking notes. So a little while back you Instagramed a fan's nails, she had gotten her entire manicure dedicated to your upcoming album. I thought that was pretty dope and loyal of her to do, so I want to know what's the craziest thing a fan has done to you or for you thus far?
They do it all. Custom nails, make signs, even get tattoos. That's probably the craziest. That's a real commitment

Oh my gosh you have some dedicated fans! Do you feel different now that you're well known and becoming famous?
Na , not really. I guess I don't feel like I'm that well known yet. There's a lot more growing to do., but I'm the same nigga out the hood, just with a little more money.

Nicely put. How big are your dreams in this industry like what's the biggest thing you want to do in terms of music or outside of?
I don't know. I'm so focused on what I'm doing right now that it's hard to think that far ahead. I know that I've seen a lot of artists get to where I'm at then disappear. So stayign in the game is my only priority moving forward.

I just feel like no dream is too big or goal too high to achieve. What would you say was the biggest turning point in your life when did you decided that music was the career path you wanted to take?
It's bitter sweet, because my brother getting murdered is what got me focused and set me down this music path. I don't think I'd be here if it weren't for that, so I try to do everything in my power to keep him alive.

And you know throughout life it doesn't matter what happened in the past because it's all just proper preparation for the future. So if you could talk to your past self what advice would you give?
Probably none. We live to make mistakes and grow. That's life. I'd be cheating myself out of those learning experiences. I made it this far, so I don't see a reason to change anything.

That's really good advice, the one thing I feel like fans can always count on from you is your genuine realness and dedication to your craft. Who are some of your inspirations in the music industry?
Hot Boyz, Lyfe Jennings, 2 Pac, and Lauren Hill to name a few.

Those are definitely some heavy hitters in the industry. Now you're a southern man and you've been traveling all over the world, what's one thing New Orleans has that you can't get anywhere else?
The food.

I've never been to New Orleans before but I heard the one thing you must try is a beignet! Because you're so young and successful I feel like you set a good example for other young people, what advice would you give someone trying to break into the industry?
Stay focused and don't change for anyone. Don't let anyone tell you that it can't be done. It's not suppose to be easy.

That's really amazing advice. At the end of the day if you could sum up how you want to be remembered in three words, what words would you choose?
Real, inspirational, loved

Very dope and real answer!! August thank you so much for chatting with me it was truly a pleasure!
Thank you. #HearMyTestimony April 15th!


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