The Santa Monica Pier will celebrate the changing of seasons this year with some of the best acts in reggae, funk and soul.
Slated for Sept. 21-22, the Beach Ball Soul Revue & Reggae Fest will bring together the likes of Allen Stone, Lee Fields & the Expressions, Aloe Blacc and others to continue what's already been an incredible year of live music at the Pier.
"Being from California, I'm thrilled to be a part of [Beach Ball]," said Blacc, speaking with Variance. "For one thing, my family can actually come since it's close, but I love soul music. I'm a fan of these guys I'm playing with and I'm excited about seeing them perform as well."
While Blacc may be looking forward to playing for the hometown crowd, the performance comes at a very exciting time for the singer-songwriter, who's the voice behind Avicii's mammoth, worldwide hit "Wake Me Up," which has reached No. 1 in more than 25 countries. But the track is somewhat new territory for the vocalist.
"Coming from a hip-hop and R&B background, was a different for me to do this song? Sure," said Blacc, acknowledging fans' surprise at his involvement with a folksy-EDM track. "My job is to write songs though. That's what I love, and as you can tell from my history, I don't like to find myself limited by this genre or that genre. I just can't do that. And I'm a firm believer that as long as I do my job and what I came to do, that's what matters."
Another small but noticeable fact pointed out by fans and critics upon the song's release was the lack of an official vocal credit for Blacc. Some media outlets such as Variance and many radio stations credited him anyway, but he is listed only as a songwriter on the track, which appears on Avicii's newly released debut album, TRUE.
The fact is, however, that Blacc and other TRUE collaborators (Imagine Dragons' Dan Reynolds, Adam Lambert and others) "knew what we signed up for," he explained. "From day one, we were told that was the route they wanted to go and we needed to be OK with that, which I am. Ultimately, how many thousands—or millions—of people are suddenly discovering Aloe Blacc because of that song? It ends up being a win for everyone involved."
Song logistics aside, Blacc is clearly on the rise, and that will certainly be made evident as he takes over Beach Ball. While this weekend marks the beginning of fall, it also kicks off a new season for Blacc, whose new album, Lift Your Spirit, is likely to release early next year.
Beach Ball starts Saturday (Sept. 21), with $40 single-day general admission or $60 for both days. For more information, go to the festival's website.