DFW Music News

Musician Alton Blake Seeks Redemption, Not Fame

Alton Blake seeks redemption on his new single, "Lately."
Alton Blake seeks redemption on his new single, "Lately." Tommy Escobar
The pandemic and political climate have forced us to evolve over the past year. Musician Alton Blake welcomes that chance for change. On his debut single, the cozy, piano-driven “Lately,” the singer-songwriter seeks redemption for his old ways.

Blake, 24, began writing the song “about a year ago, when the world was just in flames.” Having been in bands with his friends since he was 10 years old, he wanted his solo debut to be simple, yet reflective of his lyrical and vocal talents.

“Instead of making this crazy song with all these chords, and trying to make it all impressive, I wanted to do the exact opposite and just write a good time with two chords,” Blake says. “And I wanted to see how impressive I can make something so simple.”

On “Lately,” which is co-produced by longtime friend Charley Wiles, Blake is “coming down, but looking up,” aware of his past wrongs and “moving on from [his] old ways.” He describes the song as “apologetic,” and looks forward to evoking positive change for others, and within himself.

“I felt like I had to say something about what was going on in regards to the political atmosphere and race relations and all of the hectic things going on at the time,” Blake says. “So I wanted to write a song about just being apologetic and changing my ways. I just wanted to write about the love that I thought we all needed.”

Blake was born in San Antonio and lived in New Braunfels for the first five years of his life. He has since settled in North Texas, where he first met Wiles, who'd later become his musical partner in crime. The two first formed a band with other friends, called The Neckties, when they were 10 years old, and later formed another band called Starmother during their late high school and early college years.

Eventually, Starmother would have to go their separate ways, as Blake’s construction engineering studies at University of North Texas became more demanding. Still, he maintained a penchant for writing music, but writing songs on his own proved to be a new challenge.

“I had to start writing alone,” Blake says. “So I started doing that. The songs were just crap, first. And then after a couple years of honing that in, I've got 10 good ones ready to go for this new record.”

"I wanted to write a song about just being apologetic and changing my ways. I just wanted to write about the love that I thought we all needed.” – Alton Blake

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Blake’s debut album, Desert Earth, is planned for release later this year. He describes the upcoming 10-track project as “a good mixture of a singer-songwriter, a little touch of soul and maybe even a little touch of psychedelic here and there.”

The next single from Desert Earth is a ballad called “Grace in Galveston,” on which Blake explores the duality of the human condition.

“It’s a love story between a character of good and a character of evil,” Blake says. “It's sort of a story about the two dancing around each other.”

When he’s not making music of his own, Blake can be heard playing keyboard for Dallas band Atlantis Aquarius. He also spends his days putting his college degree to use as a designer at a local construction design firm.

He plans to have a party to celebrate Desert Earth’s release, but currently doesn't have any shows or tour dates on his agenda. For the time being, he hopes people can simply relate to his music.

“I'm not looking for fame,” Blake says. “I'm not looking for stardom or anything. I'm just hoping to make good music that people enjoy.”
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Alex Gonzalez has been a contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2018. He is a Dallas native whose work has appeared in Local Profile, MTV News and the Austin American-Statesman. He has eclectic taste in music and enjoys writing about art, food and culture.
Contact: Alex Gonzalez