WSN: You're known for your covers and that's what put you on the map. How did that start and what was your process for picking what songs you covered and put together in a mashup?
AA: For me, it's always been about songs that I like, songs that I enjoy and songs that I think are dope. It's really where I start. I remember the first time I heard Alessia Cara, I was like man, I really like this girl, I really like this song, it's tight, I'm just going to cover it. And that's where it comes from. It comes from a place of being a fan of something so much that I want to do my version of it. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, so I love to give my version of a certain song.
WSN: What got you into music originally?
AA: I've been making music since I was a little kid. My family, we grew up singing together and having fun. I remember writing my first song with my dad when I was three years old and I remember first learning how to play the piano and the guitar. It's something that's kind of just grown with me along the years. It's been a long long passion that's just continued to grow and harvest.
WSN: So aside from the music, what do you do when you're not working on music? How else do you spend your time?
AA: I spend so much time with my family, honestly. I hang out with them. I love being active, I love playing basketball, working out, running. Honestly, eating a lot of food. I'm such a foodie. If it involves food, I'm there. What else do I do? I tried getting into the whole Fortnight thing, and I'm just garbage at it. I'm not a good video game player, so that's that. But I really just spend a lot of my free time making music. I just love it.
WSN: Is there anything else you could see yourself doing?
AA: I think everything I do for the rest of my life will involve music, whether it's being a producer, being a writer, being an artist. I want to be all of those things. I want to be a music executive. I think I am a music executive right now because I'm running the company of "Alex Aiono." I think I am all of the things that I want to be. And I want to just continue to grow them. Whether I become more of a producer for one year, or more of a songwriter for one year, or more of an actor, or a comedian, whatever it is, as long as it involves me spreading my talents and my crafts that I've worked so hard in building then it doesn't matter.
WSN: And is there anything else you'd like to say?
AA: I'm just happy to be here. I'm happy to be alive and have a voice. And if I were to tell anything, register to vote. Please, for the sake of the future of our country, if you're reading this, please register to vote. And really get educated and figure out what's going on because there's a lot going on and modern media is trying to sweep it under carpet so that it doesn't look like the country is in the state that it's in. But we've gotta educate ourselves and be active and understand what's going on so that we can help make decisions for this country because the people that are making the decisions right now are not competent.
With the promise of more catchy singles to come, WSN caught up with Aiono before the show to talk his music’s past, present and future.
WSN: So, how's it feel to be in New York?
Alex Aiono: Oh man, I love New York. I actually lived out here for like a year and a half, when I was about 18-19. So I've always had a special place in my heart for New York City.
WSN: What have you been working on recently?
AA: We're just finishing up some music. We just released "Big Mistake," right before that we released a song that I wrote and produced called "Young Love" and we've been releasing music videos for it. We've got another song that's coming out soon that I can't talk about. That's as much as I can say, that another song is going to come out soon. Just a lot of music. I want to kind of, at least get the bones of my album together so that I can drop it sooner than later, but probably sometime next year.
WSN: So that's your big focus right now?
AA: Yeah, that's my big focus. We get to do some amazing things in the meantime, like playing this show tonight and getting to shoot a lot of dope music videos for these songs and then planning the next big tour that we're going to do together. So, I'm excited for all of that as well.
WSN: Who would you say, then, are some of your biggest influences, any artists that you listened to during your childhood?
AA: During my childhood, I used to listen to the oldies. I used to listen to Stevie Wonder and one of my favorite songs as a kid, for some reason, was Born Jamericans "Send You My Love." Send you my love, with a dozen roses. I always loved that song. I love that old school vibe music. And as I grew up, I got into other things. I started falling in love with rock music, and getting into pop rock, like the 1975 or underground, more R&B, John Legend, and Mario and Trey Songz, and getting into rap and Kendrick Lamar and understanding lyricism. I've kind of just grown along the years into liking different things to kind of build what I like now, which is a little bit of everything.
WSN: Is there anyone in particular who plays a big influence on your own music?
AA: I think as an artist who writes and produces themselves and is always wanting to grow that, I look at the other artists that write and produce, your Pharrells, your Jon Bellions, your Timbalands. All of those incredible producers who are also dropping fire songs for themselves. I've always drawn inspiration from the artists who create really from scratch, from nothing, to create this beautiful song. That's why I think my song "Young Love" that I just released is a record that I fully wrote and produced myself, is so special to me.
WSN: Is there anyone that you would want to collaborate with, then?
AA: I think any of the people I just named, honestly. From Stevie Wonder, all the way to Jon Bellion. You know, there are all of these artists that have inspired me. Even if it's not about collaborating, but just sitting down with them and being like, thank you so much, I really appreciate you. I got to take a picture with Stevie Wonder when I was like 14 years old. It was one of the greatest moments because I really got to meet somebody that really helped shape this passion that I have.