A.Chal Has His Sights Set on World Domination
Peruvian-born artist A.CHAL is probably one of the most interesting artists you'll meet. The singer, who released the buzzworthy single “Round Whippin’” earlier this year, has already received major co-signs from some of the biggest names in the hip-hop industry like A$AP Rocky. As he continues to carve out a lane of his own with his refreshing sound and vibe-inducing music, the young, talented Latino is aiming for global stardom.
For A.CHAL, being in the music industry was always a dream he envisioned. The singer's entry point into the business arrived once he learned the production side of the game, which is the reason he left the East Coast behind and headed all the way to Los Angeles. In 2013, A.CHAL released the lauded EP, Ballroom Riots, serving as an introduction to his artistic side while showcasing his growth in production and songwriting. Despite the project being widely accepted, he took a hiatus from music. However, A.CHAL didn't stay gone for long and decided to get back into the studio. The result of his hard work can be heard on his most popular project to date, Welcome to Gazi, released in June.
A.CHAL has his sights set on taking his unique sound to worldwide heights. As his movement continues to grow, XXL caught up with the young talent to discuss his come up, distinctive sound and future goals. Get to know A.CHAL below.
XXL: How long did you live in Peru?
A.CHAL: I lived there for about four years.
After that where did you end up moving to?
I moved to Queens but I always lived in a Peruvian household so I feel like I lived in Peru for a long time.
Growing up, what were some of your musical influences?
Naturally, Peruvian music. My mom is from Northern Peru, a very third world area and they listened to very regional indie music. My dad was more around the city so he would listen to more of like rock and roll, salsa, merengue and of course Peruvian music, but when I came to New York I learned more about other music.
How did you first get into hip-hop then?
Hip-hop wasn’t the first genre I liked actually. I started liking rock first. My first proper introduction to hip-hop was Bad Boy, DMX. It was really cool. Around that time I moved away from New York and went to live in Massachusetts.
You now live in L.A. So how did you end up on the other side of the U.S.?
I was going back and forth for a bit between the West Coast and East Coast, but I would say I really moved to L.A. about four years ago.
What was it about L.A. that made you want to move there?
I wanted to make money off music. So the music industry is out there. My entry point was production and songwriting so all of the publishing companies were out there.
What’s your creative process like when you’re getting ready to record?
My creative process changes. Before it was creating the production first and it would revolve around that. Now it’s literally writing and writing about what’s going on and figuring out the topic to the melody, to the production so it’s revered now because my platform has changed.
Is it more of a challenge now?
It’s definitely more challenging because my voice and my story has to get your attention regardless of what the beat is. Right now, music it's very beat-driven so I’d like to challenge myself and do the opposite of what others are doing.
If someone were to ask you what genre your music falls in, what would you say?
It’s like a blend of a lot of genres but to me, it’s coming from the soul so I think about soul. I know people like to limit that word with music and think about the ‘60s and ’70s when they mention soul but maybe those were some of the most honest times on the radio. I don’t know, but I would say soul.
Your music is very drum-heavy and features splashes of hip-hop. What kind of hip-hop inspired your music and what rap albums inspired you?
My favorite hip-hop artist of all time and 'til this day is DMX. I like hip-hop that talks to girls a lot.
What was it about DMX that you loved a lot?
He just had soul. A lot of soul. He could talk about anything and I knew he was being honest and I knew his only intention was to give you the truth and I respect that because I think that’s one of the hardest things to do as an artist. For me, being someone who wasn’t from Yonkers or wasn’t doing what he did, he still spoke to me and my soul and that was really cool powerful. He made me fearless.
How did you link up with Apple to release Welcome to Gazi?
They reached out after I put out “Round Whippin.’” Zane Lowe was actually a big fan of “Round Whippin’” and has been very supportive online [and] in person. Ebro [Darden] has also been very supportive and I met a couple of people from Apple as well. It’s pretty exciting stuff.
A$AP Rocky also mentioned you.
Yeah, Rocky did mention me. I used to live in Harlem and we know a couple of the same people. I also know his manager Chase and he’s a really dope individual.
How does it feel to have people in the industry co-sign you at an early point in your career?
I really appreciate it a lot. I apprecite anyone who has a big platform and is willing to share my music no matter who that is. I would do the same. It’s good to know that there’s people out there and they aren’t full of themselves.
The record “Round Whippin’” got you quite the buzz online. Did you expect the track to be as big as it was online?
I actually expected it to be bigger and maybe it could be bigger. But that’s how I feel about everything I do. I try not to put too much emphasis in validation because that can start steering you ways.
What's been the standout moment of your career thus far?
I would say my show that I did in L.A. [in August]. Even though it wasn't highly publicized, I was able to perform those songs with no doubt in me. My goal is to do everything in life without a drop of fear and when you're gonna to go onstage, it's very important to feel 100 percent connected and to not let the fear take over. I'm still a new artist, technically, but I'm learning a lot every day to perfect my craft.
Five years from now, where do you see yourself?
I want to be recognized as a worldwide artist. I grew up on different genres of music, so I want to affect the world in the way major pop stars like Michael Jackson did. That's my goal.
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