A Year of Hoodie Allen

Diane Oh/New UniversityEvery year, ASUCI’s first big event is Shocktoberfest. It’s fun, the basketball competition is exciting and the street party isn’t to be missed. The concert, however, can be hit or miss.When the 2011 lineup was announced featuring The R3jects, New Boyz and Hoodie Allen, as a fan of all three, I was excited to see them perform live.

Then, there were smaller acts but, recently, Hoodie Allen has topped the iTunes album with his second EP, “All American.”

When “All American” debuted number 1 on iTunes, I was ecstatic. UCI students were lucky enough to see an artist before he made it big.

So, does that make us all hipsters?

Of course I can go into more detail, but Hoodie was gracious enough to take part in an interview of his recent success. What a difference a year makes.

New U: First of all, thank you very much for taking the time for this interview. How would you describe your experience here when you performed at last year’s Shocktoberfest?

Hoodie Allen: It was really awesome. To be honest, it was one of the first times I had played in front of so many people at once and I was a little nervous because I knew the heavy majority of people there had never heard of me before.

New U: Since October, you have been writing and recording your first EP, “All American,” which is your first paid offering available on iTunes. What was the creative process like behind such a record, knowing it was your iTunes debut?

HA: The main difference in the creative process was building all the songs from scratch and a focus on original production. In the past, my music has been very sample based and we couldn’t do that for a proper iTunes release.

New U: What thoughts were racing through your head the night of “All American”’s release? Were you nervous, excited, anxious?

HA: Very anxious and excited. I felt like I had done a good job making people aware of the EP but I was on pins and needles waiting to see if everyone would like it as much as I did haha.

New U: How did it feel when you saw that “All American” reached number 1 on the chart for all iTunes albums in less than 24 hours of its release, especially as an independent artist?

HA: It was incredible — just a real testament to the fans and how loyal they really are. Everyone can say they have the best fans in the world, but mine prove it.

New U: From your previous mix tapes, including “Pep Rally” and “Leap Year,” fans can definitely see you have developed as an artist as time progressed. With no more samples and strictly original material, how would you describe your sound to people just hearing about you and how have you changed from your older work?

HA: It’s taken some time to really develop my sound and I think every mixtape shows a maturation to the place I am now. I think its best described as a cross between up beat hip-hop and pop.

New U: Which artists have inspired you the most, especially with “All American”?

HA: I don’t think any artists inspired “All American” but I really enjoyed Drake’s latest CD as well as Frank Ocean and I would listen to that when I needed a break.

New U: One thing that makes you stand out from other contemporary artists is that you personally respond to your fans on social media, be it Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or YouTube. You also said you would call every fan who bought the EP. What drove you to step outside of the box and show care for your fans on such a personal level?

HA: It’s just something I wanted to do. I want to treat my fans as good as treat me.

New U: You released two new music videos for the “All American” singles, “No Interruption” and “No Faith In Brooklyn.” What was that experience like filming them compared with your older videos?

HA: It was a lot more professional, big crews and sets. A really wild and cool experience to be part of.

New U: Your nationwide “All American” tour kicked off on April 19 through May 24, followed by a June U.K. tour. What has been the most exciting thus far?

HA: Every show has been amazing. This is my first sold-out tour so the energy every night feels special. I can’t wait for my first trip to the U.K.

New U: What can UCI fans expect from you at a concert?

HA: Dance party. I’ve come a long way since the UCI performance.

New U: Do you have favorite songs to perform on tour?

HA: My favorites to perform on tour have been “No Interruption” and “Eighteen Cool.”

New U: As a college graduate, what advice would you give to the students here at UCI?

HA: Find what it is that you truly love and don’t stop till you get it.

New U: Any final words to UCI students and your fans in general?

HA: Thank you guys for having me and not throwing tomatoes at me!