August Anthony Alsina, Jr. is an American rhythm and blues singer and recording artist. He is associated with the American record label, ‘Def Jam Recordings’. Coming from a troubled family background he faced several hardships in his childhood which however could not deter him from his passion for music. While still in his teens, he came out with covers of songs by Musiq Soulchild and Lyfe Jennings and uploaded them on YouTube. The songs soon garnered thousands of views. As the situation in family deteriorated he got involved into drug dealings. However the incident of his brother’s murder was an eye opener for him. It led him to channel his energy back to music again and he came out with a mix tape titled ‘The Product’ (2012). One of its tracks ‘Sucka’ featured American R&B singer Lloyd. The first single of ‘The Product 2’ (2013), his second mixtape, titled ‘I Luv This Shit’ climbed at # 13 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart and ranked #48 at the list of Hot 100. He furthered his fame with his 2014 debut studio album titled ‘Testimony’ that climbed at #2 on the albums charts. Other notable musical endeavours of Alsina includes the 2013 EP titled ‘Downtown: Life Under The Gun’ and 2015 album ‘This Thing Called Life’.
Childhood & Early Life
Augusta Alsina was born on September 3, 1992, in New Orleans, Louisiana, to August Alsina Sr. and Sheila Alsina.
He had a troubled family life since childhood and both his father and later his stepfather struggled with crack cocaine addiction. Following the 2005 Hurricane Katrina his mother relocated him to Houston, Texas, for a better life. Shortly after that, he lost his father to substance abuse.
Although his family was never into music nor inclined towards it, Alsina, intertwined with family problems, found solace in anything musical. Furthermore he got motivated to singing after viewing Lauren Hill’s rendition of ‘His Eyes on a Sparrow’ from American musical comedy film ‘Sister Act 2.’
In 2007 he uploaded his first video on YouTube comprising of a cover song of Lyfe Jennings titled ‘Hypothetically’ from the album ‘Lyfe 268-192’. Thereafter he uploaded many video covers of others including works of Musiq Soulchild and gradually garnered millions of views.
What started as a hobby soon took shape of a career proposition for Alsina. However, as he decided to take up singing as career, a difference of opinion cropped up with his mother who had other plans for him. As a result of this, he was “kicked out” by her.
He returned to New Orleans at just 16 years of age and started attending high school. However, his life became unsettled and as deprivation knocked his door he took to the streets and got involved into drug dealings.
For a short while he was taken care of by his elder brother Melvin La'Branch III who was also struggling in the streets for a living. However, following the unsolved murder of Melvin who was shot and killed on August 31, 2010, Alsina took the road to music again to start afresh in life.
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He got noticed by Atlanta based independent American management and production company ‘NNTME MuCo.’, also known as ‘Noontime’ and a result of this, he relocated to Atlanta in 2011 and became more devoted to his musical career.
Although an ‘Untitled’ mixtape of Alsina comprising of six acoustic covers came out in October 2011, he released his debut mixtape titled ‘The Product’ in April 2012. It consisted of twelve tracks. The two other mixtapes of Alsina that came out in 2012 were ‘August Alsina University’ and ‘Throwback’.
On February 19, 2013, ‘Def Jam Recordings’ released the R&B song of Alsina titled ‘I Luv This Shit’ as the first single from his first EP titled ‘Downtown: Life Under the Gun’ (2013). Released as a digital download the song that is about partying with drugs and alcohol featured American rapper Trinidad James.
In May 2013 a remix of ‘I Luv This Shit’ titled ‘I Luv This Shit (G-Mix)’, featuring American rapper Birdman came out. Another mixtape of Alsina came out that month titled ‘The Product 2’.
On August 20, 2013, his debut EP ‘Downtown: Life Under the Gun’ was released by ‘Radio Killa Records’ and ‘Def Jam Recordings’. The album comprising of 8 tracks including ‘I Luv This Shit’ featured artists like Rich Homie Quan, Trinidad James, Currensy and Kidd Kidd.
On October 4, 2013, another remix of ‘I Luv This Shit’ was released for digital download in the United States which featured American singer, songwriter and actor Trey Songz and American singer, songwriter, and dancer Chris Brown.
His single titled ‘Ghetto’ from ‘Downtown: Life Under the Gun’ featured in urban contemporary playlist on December 9, 2013 and remained the most added single on urban contemporary radio till the week’s end on December 12.
On April 15, 2014, he released his debut studio album ‘Testimony’ and dedicated it to Melvin. The album that included ‘I Luv This Shit’, its remix and ‘Ghetto’ among others received kudos from music critics and jumped at #2 on the Billboard 200. Till November 2015, it sold 287,000 copies in the US.
In August 2014, he featured on the cover of ‘XXL magazine’ and was named as part of its 2014 freshmen class.
His second studio album titled ‘This Thing Called Life’ released on December 11, 2015. It made its debut on the Billboard at #14 and sold 41,000 copies in the US in the first week.
‘I Luv This Shit’ not only garnered favourable critical review and immense fame and popularity for him but also received gold certification from ‘Recording Industry Association of America’ on March 6, 2014, for shipping 500,000 copies which on October 2 was updated to platinum (1,000,000).
Personal Life & Legacy
He looks after his three nieces Amayila, Kayden and Chaylen - daughters of his late elder brother Melvin La'Branch III who once took care of him. In this way he shows respect and gratitude towards Melvin’s invaluable brotherly love and contributions to his life.
In September 2014 while performing in one of the shows of his first national tour, ‘Testimony Live’, at the Irving Plaza in New York City, he collapsed and was hospitalised and kept in ICU where he went into coma for three days. He later recovered and was discharged from hospital.