Back in the day, so to speak, Alvin L. Giles was putting out tons of music on YouTube and working closely with R&B and soul artist Cody ChesnuTT – touring the world as his music director and working as the principal arranger for his critically acclaimed album Landing on 100.
He even worked as pianist and lead musician on the song “What Does Freedom Mean” for the soundtrack to the Oscar-winning film “Twelve Years a Slave.”
Then he became a father and his focus shifted to being a good provider and dad.
Now, 10 years since his last release hit the shelves, the artist known as Giles is reintroducing himself to the world with his stirring new single “Alive” and a chorus that borrows from the colloquial expression it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.
“When I wrote the song it was really a message to myself because I needed the encouragement,” he says. “When you’ve stepped away from your dreams and passions for 10 years, even if you’re doing it for a noble cause like taking care of your family, it’s a mighty blow. I’m trying to step back into the ring and reconnect with my old fans. I needed something in my head to click and that’s what this song was for me.”
As he debated what song to release for his coming back party, war broke out in Ukraine and Giles knew the single had to be “Alive.”
“You are here, you persist, you’re alive,” he sings in the chorus. “Despite fear, you resist, and you thrive.”
“We’re all coming out of a pandemic, we’re all survivors in a sense and there’s war, there’s suffering,” he says.
It’s an impressive debut, with Giles “really spitting” and showcasing his lyricism, songwriting and musical chops. Every bass note plucked, every hi-hat and drum beat – everything is 100 percent him. He composed the song; wrote the hooks, the chorus, the harmonies and engineered the recording, only bringing in a fresh set of ears for mixing and mastering.
“You really get an overdose of what Giles has to say and has to bring musically, sonically,” he says. “This is not my only style but this song encapsulates something that I think is quite unique. A lot of times you have people who excel in one particular area. They might be a fantastic producer but they need a ghostwriter or they’re a fantastic lyricist but they can’t write a song. I have my fingers on the pulse of the music. I’m not just thinking about what bars I’m going to rap, I’m thinking about what keyboard licks I’m going to play and what bass riffs. You get a pure view of my vision.”
He calls it purposeful intention, because Giles wants listeners to hear his raw vision and know that every note was placed intentionally. There are no opportunities for his music or message to get lost in translation.
Placing Giles’ music in a specific genre is a difficult task because he excels in multiple styles. It’s hip hop, it’s indie rock – it’s even been compared to Seal. He studied jazz piano in college at Florida A&M and the fact he was chosen to play piano on a major motion picture soundtrack, curated by John Legend, speaks to his talent.
“Alive” is his first shot, he says, but the gun is fully loaded and Giles is putting fans of indie hip hop and people who resonate with his message on notice that he’s not going anywhere this time.
“My kids are older, I’ve done what I need to do financially to make sure my family is in a good place with or without my recording career,” he says. “Now I’m in a position to take no prisoners and that’s exactly what I intend on doing.”
Giles will release more singles throughout 2022, all sharing the same meticulous planning, and there’s one thing he hopes rings true: as an independent army of one, stack him up against your favorite major artist and their team of writers, producers, and musicians to see who comes out on top and it’s not going to be an easy win for them.
For more, follow Giles on Twitter (Official_Giles), Facebook (OfficialGilesMusic), Instagram (officialgilesmusic) and TikTok (@officialgilesmusic). He can be contacted directly at https://gilesmusic.com