A rising star of the R&B world, Alsina’s smooth jams and showmanship (he’s been known to kiss fans’ hands and remove his shirt while performing) have netted him front rows of frenzied females and stages littered with bras and panties.
But his repertoire features a lot more than love songs. Alsina, who started posting videos on YouTube as a teen, also sings about growing up poor in New Orleans, selling drugs and the death of his brother – hard-knocks narratives that both female and male audiences have embraced.
His debut album, Testimony, dropped in April, peaking at No. 1 on the R&B charts and No. 2 on the U.S. charts. A nomination to 2014 freshman class of hip-hop magazine XXL, which rarely recognizes singers, was another boon, as were recent wins at the BET Awards for best new artist and viewer’s choice for the single “I Luv This Shit.”
“Even though the album came out months ago, I feel like everything is really starting to build,” William Morris Endeavor’s Cindy Agi told Pollstar.
Positioning Alsina in an opening slot on tour with 2 Chainz earlier this year helped acclimate the singer to performing multiple nights per week in clubs and theaters, while also introducing him to hip-hop audiences, Agi said.
Festivals and radio shows in front of larger crowds also helped ready him for the next step as a headliner.
“He has so many opportunities these days,” she said. “It’s just putting everything together – when should he be in the U.S., when should he be overseas, when should he go to another country?”
Alsina just released a new remix with Nicki Minaj and is gearing up to hit clubs and theatres across the States beginning in August. International dates are also in the works, as are plans to release more music, Agi said.