ALDAE has written for everyone under the sun, and he shows no plans of slowing down anytime soon. The singer, songwriter, and producer’s humility is immediately apparent, describing himself as just “a fun loving guy.” This year alone, he has added some impressive collabs to his long, all-star list of credits including, “Summer of Love” by Shawn Mendes Ft. Tainy, “Don’t Go” by Skrillex, Justin Bieber & Don Toliver, “Fleabag” by Yungblud, and many more.
With the ability to transcend genres, from pop to R&B to even country, ALDAE has an undeniable ear and knack for hit records. Not only do we appreciate his crazy pen game, but ALDAE is ready to step into the limelight as his own recording artist. From bussing tables and sleeping on couches to working with all the elites in the music industry to now releasing his own original music, ALDAE proves no dream is too big — and to always work hard and go after what you love.
Now, fans wait patiently for the release of his forthcoming debut, ALDAE Vol. 1. Flaunt caught up with ALDAE via Zoom who was posted in Brooklyn, New York. Read below as we discuss his roots in Texas, past jobs, moving to LA, the turning point in music, his first big placement, relationship with Yungblud, writing for Justin Bieber, studio essentials, not having one specific genre, releasing his own original music, goals, and more!
What was a young ALDAE like growing up in Dallas, Texas?
It was pretty simple, a lot of emphasis on sports and religion but I had a great upbringing. It was a simple life. Went to school like a regular kid, had a sister and played outside till the sun went down. Collected bugs, and a lot of odd jobs growing up. Working in warehouses for my uncle.
What jobs did you work?
My first job ever was literally picking up trash in my uncle’s warehouse. Starting at 12 until I was 15, I was cleaning out the warehouse. I started working at a screen printing shop cleaning screens, then I was a pizza delivery boy when I got my driver’s license. At 16, I became a forklift operator in that same warehouse and began to pull orders. Did that for various years. Between screen printing, forklifts, and pizza delivery driver, those were 3 jobs I kept in rotation until I moved to LA.
What brought you to LA?
Just a big old voice in my head and in my heart that said “yo, you gotta go.” I just followed that calling.
At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
In 4th grade, I wrote my first song. My sister had a guitar. She liked music more than me but she’d always put me onto music and play it. I’d take her guitar when she wasn’t looking and copy her. In high school, I began to record myself. I really fell in love with the process of recording before I knew what real songwriting was or what being an artist was all about. The idea of capturing my voice, that was the moment. The art of printing the audio forever, like a picture.
Do you remember your first big placement?
The first time that I went to MXM, which is Max Martin’s house. Max was in the kitchen and I ran into him, he introduced himself. That was a moment where “okay, I’m brushing shoulders with the best in the world.”
How’d that happen?
Through Rami Yacoub is a frequent collaborator of Max for years, he heard my songs and started working with me. He sat me down outside by his fire telling me that his first major placement was “Baby One More Time.” That was a moment I thought “these dudes I’m working with have written culture-defining songs, and they’re calling on me!” Those are humbling moments like wow, this is crazy.
What did you learn from those sessions?
Really those sessions, I was with Rami for a year. I learned to really work through songs. If it’s not right the first time or the second time, keep fiddling and stay with it. Because it’s rarely ever right the first time. it’s okay to work through songs and chip away at it until it’s to your satisfaction. There’s no timestamp on a song because once it’s out, it lives forever.
How did you end up writing for Yungblud’s “Fleabag”?
That session happened through Nick Groff who looks over Yungblud in Interscope, telling Dom about me. I had written with Dom a year before, then he went on tour. He had me back in the room with Amy Allen. Andrew Wells was the producer on that, Dom wanted a Nirvana-esque feeling thing so we jammed on a guitar loop. Really, it is about something he was dealing with personally that made him feel really down…Like a fleabag. He kept saying fleabag in his gibberish. I said “yo this is a super shot, but what if you just say ‘I’m just a fleabag’?” He lost his mind and said “alright, it’s too late to go back.” That’s how that song came to be. It happened very, very quickly.
You were in the studio with him right?
Yeah, we did it in Santa Monica, California. I went to the beach after. He’s an all-around sweetheart. He’s so loving and grateful for his help. His energy’s infectious and sometimes people come into the room very hot and eventually calm down. He comes in up here [raises hand] and stays up here the whole time. There’s no act, no putting on a show for anybody. He’s unapologetic like “this is me, wassup?” Hands down.
What about Skrillex, Don Tolliver, and Justin Bieber’s “Don’t Go”?
At that time, I had been going over to Sonny, Skrillex’s house. He was cultivating a bit of a culture between me, HARV, this guy Carlton. He had people in different rooms. It started with me Carlton and HARV. Literally, Carlton was playing this guitar loop. I started humming this bassline: “doo doo doo do do doo do.” Harv made that come to life. I looked up and the whole musical bed was done. Sonny comes in, I don’t even know how he did this but he made drums in literally 5 minutes.
I hadn’t even done any topline that night, just had the musical bed. It was super weird because we did it on my computer. I don’t make beats, but we did it on my computer. I had to send the session, they’re like “yo, send that session from last night.” Someone from our team played it for Justin and Justin had all day to do a verse. I’ve never been hounded so many times to do a verse that literally before a session one day in LA, I recorded it in my apartment upstairs. The walls were thin that everybody could hear me, but I said “fuck it.” I did it and that’s the exact verse that they kept.
You work with some big names, is there ever a point you say “I could use this for my own solo work?”
Nah, I don’t mind offering a service. Plus with a vessel like Bieber, it’s going to hear more ears. I look at it as it’s still my art, there’s just a different vessel. It doesn’t really change for me. Bieber’s a sweetheart, that dude has a sick vibe. He’s grateful, so I never mind. I always say “what else do you want? Let’s go, let’s keep making music.”
How does it feel having these songs chart?
That’s always good. I have teams, my team members have to eat. I have to eat. When a song charts it’s always lucrative. End of the day, it’s the music business. It’s validating and can give you a little breather. It’s always good, but also feels good to have people like what I like. All-around positive.
How did Shawn Mendes’ “Summer of Love” come about?
That started in the basement here, in Brooklyn. I have a collaborator, his name’s Ido. We started in a session, it was a ballad. I freestyled a new verse and pre, which was the exact pre and verse.
We did it the first time, the first pass, that’s always amazing. I created the melody in the chorus. I did some minor tweaks that I thought would create more space. At that point once the melodic structure was there, we completely passed it off to Shawn. He did 90% of his own lyrics. He wrote his own lyrics but the melodic strip, that’s what I did. All the melodies and the rhythm. It was a huge team effort. I texted Tainy and said “yo, Shawn likes this. Would you produce this?” Everything I envisioned for that happened, it was super sick.
How do you put yourselves in the artists’ shoes?
You have to have an awareness about you, understand where the lines and boundaries are. What has worked before, but also what your personal taste is. A lot of it does rely on taking shots until some of these sticks. A lot of it is intuition-based.
Your versatility spans from R&B to pop to country. Do you have a favorite genre?
I definitely don’t have a favorite genre. Sometimes, I don’t even realize it’s a different genre. It all comes down to chords. Whatever I think melodically, I do on those chords. Sometimes I think “oh, this is a different genre.” I listen to a lot of different genres so that helps. I like things that I have the ability to cross over globally, where it almost doesn’t even matter what language it’s in because it feels so good. I’m trying to work on that actually, the vibe of the record. For so long, I was trying to get cuts. Now, I want to step it up and gear towards more hits. I know hits are organic, but I do think there are steps you can take to get yourself in the ring to create hits more frequently. That’s why I still have a long way to go as a songwriter.
3 things you need in the studio?
I need the least amount of people as possible. I need a water, a La Croix. I need no ego. Someone walks in thinking they’re the man, it’s going to infect the room. No ego is super important so we can get to the song. Whatever you do after that, it’s cool. You can go be an asshole but during that very vulnerable process, I need everybody to put the song first period.
Talk about releasing your own solo project, ALDAE Vol. 1?.
All my songs I do for other artists, I sing them first. Technically I do consider those my songs, but I don’t have as much of a DNA that nobody can replicate. I keep them open where somebody can take it and make it their own. My personal music, I’d never pitch it because it’s l so much DNA of mine. It’s not pop-structured, it’s really more oddball stuff.
It doesn’t really follow any of the pop structure I learned and applied into my placement songs. The lyrical content is very less mundane than the things I talk about. For example, the first song is the idea of dying and dark. Go and face God, it’s judgement day. He’s like “nah you can’t come to heaven,” and drops you back to earth. That’s the stuff I’m talking about: thinking about what that’d be like. I wouldn’t pitch that to anybody because it’s a little much, just shit going on in my brain.
What can we expect from ALDAE Vol. 1?
An experience, you can expect an experience. No features.
Goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
I definitely want to get a few Billboard #’s with my writing. It’d be really sick to give Justin a #1. Have very commercial, very global commercially successful records because those reach many lives. People can play those at their barbecues, at their kids’ birthday parties. They can dance to it. Those global records, reaching as many people as possible. Offer them 3 minute breaks from whatever they’re dealing with. Make smashes really, that’s it.