Sound Off: Titus Makin aka Butterfly Ali
May 4, 2020
Whether you grew up a true Gleek, watched every single Cinderella Story adaptation, dawned over hours of Pretty Little Liars, obsess weekly over The Rookie, consume every project Lin-Manuel Miranda does, or was a crazed R5 fan who just HAD to watch ‘Buffering’ (totally not calling myself out), you’ve probably had one or two encounters with Titus Makin , only now we call him Butterfly Ali.
Butterfly Ali has an amazing blend of R&B, soul, blues and funk giving every song a beautiful difference from the last. His music takes a spirited approach to modern day R&B and pays a homage to the generations of soul before him. From the extreme funk of songs like ‘Righteous‘ to the soul in ‘Listen To Me’, there was never a dull nor expected moment in any note.
The insanely talented singer-songwriter has gifted upon us new music and (virtually) sat down to talk with us about a combination of some old and new projects, musical inspirations, and his Lion King debut (it’ll all make since once you keep reading).
1. Tell us about your new singles Righteous and Rose, and the inspiration behind them!
I like to write my songs based on life experiences. For “Righteous” I decided to write a song about people who consider themselves more righteous than somebody that they don’t fully, understand, or don’t care to learn about. And “Rose” I wrote after a break up.
2. Where did the name Butterfly Ali come from?
I originally wrote a song titled Butterfly Ali then realized I liked what the name represented. Mohammed Ali has a quote “float like a butterfly sting like a bee” and I put the beauty/strength of a butterfly with the strength of Muhammad Ali together into one name, and really felt like it described my energy/ resilience as an artist.
3. You’ve always taken on musical roles in the past, what made you make the leap to pursuing your official career in music as ‘Butterfly Ali’?
Interestingly enough I’ve always been a musician. I started doing music before acting. it just so happened that acting took off first. It’s been really nice because I’ve been able to put my focus back into music recently.
4.With influences like André 3000 and Marvin Gaye, can you tell us who would be your dream collaboration
My dream collaboration would definitely be André 3000, Pharrell Williams, or CeeLo Green.
5. Do you remember the moment that you fell in love with music?
I actually do. It was when I performed “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King” from the Lion King soundtrack in my elementary talent show. I realized it was the safest place I knew at the time to put my energy and enjoyment.
6. You worked on Millennials: The Musical with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Can you tell us about that experience?
It was an absolute blast. Everyone was so kind. And it was fun being part of a project connect it to the Rock’s YouTube channel.
7. What was your first onstage performance?
My first on stage performance was that Lion King – Young Simba performance I did during elementary school talent show in Germany.
8. What is something you wished you were asked about more?Maybe if I prefer slow or fast music? Or which are my favorite top 40 artists to listen to?
9. You had a parent in the military, was born in Hawaii, and moved around a lot growing up. What are some of the places you went and was there anything you did to keep whilst busy?
It was absolutely amazing growing up in a military household. I loved traveling and seeing new places. I had the opportunity to live in Germany, Georgia, Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, Washington, New York, and now California. School definitely kept me occupied in each location.
10. Do you prefer acting or singing?
I love them both. The great thing about singing, for me, is that I get to have more creative control when it comes to how I want to sound, what I want to say, and how I want to present myself. which is nice and freeing for an artist.
11. What/who are some of your biggest musical / acting inspirations?
People like Will Smith and Donald Glover really inspire me. They are phenomenal actors that do great projects but also have/do release fantastic music.
12. What is your favorite song to perform?
My favorite song to perform is either “Good love” or “Righteous.”
13. Do you play any instruments? If you could learn one instantly, what would it be?
I grew up playing the alto saxophone, but if I could pick up any instrument and know it instantly today, I would choose the guitar.
14. What does popular mean to you?
Popular to me means someone or something that has an opportunity to influence the masses in the most positive/encouraging way that you’re able to.
15. Can you tell us about any upcoming projects that you have?
I just released a new single titled “Listen To Me” on April 1st which is currently available on all streaming platforms and anywhere you listen to/download music.
Don’t forget to stream his new single “Listen To Me” which we’ve conveniently linked right here
- Photographer Alex Stone @alexstonephoto