Interviews

Published on January 23rd, 2020 | by Percy Crawford

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Butterfly Ali (Titus Makin Jr.) Discusses Recently Released Single and Video for, “Rose!”

Butterfly Ali recently dropped a video to his new hit single, “Rose,” and it doesn’t disappoint.

Just how talented is, Titus Makin Jr.? Star of ABC’s, “The Rookie,” and having appeared on shows like, “Glee,” and “Pretty Little Liars,” Makin Jr. recently hit the studio to show off his vocals as well. Operating under the alias, “Butterfly Ali,” when in the studio, the multi-talented Georgia native recently released a video to his hit single, “Rose,” which detailed the day of a heartbroken man. Influenced by greats such as, Marvin Gaye, Leon Bridges and Pharrell Williams, the “Rose” video showcases those influences through, Ali’s style and sound.

We discuss the, “Rose” video, the balance between acting and music that he has perfected while performing double duty in both fields and future projects.

How are you doing?

Butterfly Ali: I am doing very well. Thank you for doing this on a Saturday for me.

No problem at all. You are a busy man. You’re doing some acting and shows as well as really putting a lot of effort into your music these days. Do you feel you have found a good balance?

Butterfly Ali: Yeah, it’s been crazy, but its been awesome. They really kind of play hand and hand. It works out because we have these long set days and I always have weekends off. So, I always have time to go to the studio and record. And the great thing about music, it can be released and kind of absorbed into the world. It’s on its own schedule really. So, unless I am doing shows or touring or anything like that, it really doesn’t conflict time wise. It kind of plays into a nice little world.

I love to see multi-talented people put all those talents to use and not be pigeonholed into just acting or just singing. Was it important for you to put all your talents to use to avoid the one-dimensional label so to speak?

Butterfly Ali: You know, I’ve always kind of despised that question that people would ask, “If you had to chose one which one would you chose?” It’s not limited. The art isn’t limited. I do appreciate people who are like, “Hey, I’m focusing on acting or whatever just to get me through the door so that I can express myself in a bunch of different ways.” I totally get that. But for me, it’s art, man. We get to express ourselves whichever way we want. If you want to be an actor, a photographer and a silk performer in a circus, you can do all that. As long as you’re giving it your all and letting your artistic expression shine.

I definitely won’t make you choose, but do you feel you have enough time for both, or do you wish your days would open up a little more for one or the other?

Butterfly Ali: It does go back and forth. Obviously, with scheduling in general and being contractually obligated to things. You do kind of switch back and forth as far as time consumption goes. As far as my filming scheduling, I at least know that we are filming from August to about March. And then we had Christmas off and everything, so I could kind of schedule when I can dive heavy into getting a bunch of music done. And then I can roll that out while we’re filming. If you’re… I guess successfully working in both, you definitely kind of have to flip flop and designate certain times of the year for each thing.

I think it was pretty creative for you to separate the actor from the musician in terms of the usage of your name. Titus Makin Jr. is the actor and Butterfly Ali is the musician. What prompted that?

Butterfly Ali: Thank you very much! I honestly just felt like, the name Titus… these are just two names. It’s not like an alter-ego. It’s really just once again, an artistic expression. I felt like, Titus was kind of taken. I had done, “Glee,” and “Pretty Little Liars,” and this cop show and some other shows. I just kind of felt like that’s who I presented to the world as the actor. A lot of people have a hard time detaching the actor Titus from his character. So, after releasing the music that I made that is nothing like these characters, it was even hard for me to separate the two. Seeing this cop on TV and then it’s like, multi-soulful guy in the music. So, I was like, if I could just birth this new music, sort of like a mom does with a child so to speak, what name would I give it? Just like you would do a child. I want to name this art that I can just dive into and fully express myself artistically and tell my own story and not the story written by somebody else like the acting world.

Your singing name was influenced by, Muhammad Ali. What influence did he have on you to make you go with the name, “Butterfly Ali?”

Butterfly Ali: His strength. Obviously, everybody has different colors of themselves. I wouldn’t support every choice he’s made, but that is the case with everybody. As far as his strength goes, that once quote has set a tone for my entire life, “Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.” That’s literally the quote that inspired the name and even the mental picture. The beauty of a butterfly and how it can be so beautiful and defend itself against all of these huge animals just by being beautiful. You don’t have to be an arrogant dude or a mean person to be defensive and strong. You can be a beautiful person. That one quote and his strong career, to even recognize the beauty of something small like a butterfly, kind of just played a huge factor in my life for whatever reason.

Love the “Rose” joint. I feel like at times we lack true R&B music these days. “Rose” is exactly what’s been missing. Not knocking what anyone is putting out because it’s relevant, but do you feel at times we get away from the essence of soul music?

Butterfly Ali: I really do appreciate all the different forms of it. But for me, I was just raised with it. It’s kind of all I know. It’s what I have hung on to throughput my life. It’s what my parents played in the house. That Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers and Teddy Pendergrass is just what I grew up on. I felt like I wouldn’t be being genuine to myself to honor that. I put a modern twist on it to keep it relevant. You can call it, “baby making music,” or love music, you can call it what you want to, but it’s soul. It’s rooted in who you are as a person and where you’re from. We’re from Georgia; it’s just southern, shrewd, love and family.

You come from a military household, did you have to move around a lot, therefore you grabbed influences from many different places, or is your identity Georgia and the south no matter where you’ve been?

Butterfly Ali: I’m extremely rooted in the south. All of my family is there. It’s only my immediate family that moved around for military purposes. I personally did have to go to a new city every 2 to 4 years, but we were always back in Georgia. Georgia is our home base and that’s where everybody else is. For me, that’s where I have always identified as home and that’s kind of always been the through-line of my music as well.

So, your main influences are, Marvin Gaye, Pharrell Williams and Leon Bridges. The cool thing about that is, in the “Rose” video, your sound and style reflects those influences.

Butterfly Ali: Those are huge influences. For me personally and I guess everybody will start hearing this more as my more up-tempo songs come out next month, I’m very much… if Andre 3000 and Marvin Gaye come somehow have a child, that would be me. I’m never ashamed of that influence or comparison. I personally won’t say it because that’s some big shoes to fill. But I like Marvin Gaye, I’m heavily inspired, I love his style and honestly his soul. His soul is very transparent.

You have the “Rose” single and video, when can we expect the full project?

Butterfly Ali: We’re going to release another single called, “Righteous” on February 5th. That’s coming out, then we’re just going to do a few more singles leading up to the EP. We’re probably going to release the EP probably around the mid to the end of the year. I got a music video for, “Righteous” as well coming out at the end of February.

It definitely seems like your music has a message. Is that the case and if so, why is that important to you?

Butterfly Ali: Thank you very much. I really try my best to make something that’s actually saying something. Give me a microphone and let me say a message. I have a deep visual thought process. It’s a gift, but it’s a downfall as well. I’m really specific with my ideas. I’ll typically almost write a song, already knowing the music video. I will already know how I want it to play out visually and it kind of helps me write the song. From the beginning I already knew what vibe I wanted, what tone I wanted to downplay and make it a one-shot deal of going through a day of a broken-hearted man.

You definitely did your thing with that one. Good luck with all of your endeavors and I hope to speak to you again soon. Is there anything else you want to add?

Butterfly Ali: Thank you very much.



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