2017-08-17 / Front Page

‘Aull’ that

Saco native, rapper opens for national acts
By Grant McPherson
Staff Writer


Saco native Brandon Aull, or “B. Aull” to his music fans, wants to put Maine on the map for hip-hop. He plans to drop a new song every few weeks leading up to an album release sometime next year. His latest single “Oh Me Oh My” is available on Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud and other streaming services. (Grant McPherson photo) Saco native Brandon Aull, or “B. Aull” to his music fans, wants to put Maine on the map for hip-hop. He plans to drop a new song every few weeks leading up to an album release sometime next year. His latest single “Oh Me Oh My” is available on Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud and other streaming services. (Grant McPherson photo) SACO – Thornton Academy alumnus and Saco native Brandon Aull, better known by his stage name “B. Aull,” is preparing for a music career after six years of pursuing his goals in the rap industry.

Aull graduated high school in 2012 and has since opened for artists such as Snoop Dogg and Sean Paul. The hip-hop newcomer’s latest single, “Oh Me Oh My,” is available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music and SoundCloud among others. Aull’s next performance is at Z Dance Club on Forest Avenue in Portland at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25.


Brandon Aull opened for Sammy Adams and Hoodie Allen at a show Tuesday, May 2 at the University of Maine Orono. Aull plans to release a music video for “Oh Me Oh My” shortly. He has about 2000 followers on Twitter and Instagram each, and hopes to triple those numbers within a year. Aull can be found online @AullThat. (Courtesy photo) Brandon Aull opened for Sammy Adams and Hoodie Allen at a show Tuesday, May 2 at the University of Maine Orono. Aull plans to release a music video for “Oh Me Oh My” shortly. He has about 2000 followers on Twitter and Instagram each, and hopes to triple those numbers within a year. Aull can be found online @AullThat. (Courtesy photo) Aull began rapping in high school using a laptop and GarageBand to record his first songs. Positive feedback on his initial work led Aull to turn what began as a hobby into a full-fledged mixtape, a collection of songs typically shorter than an album, by the end of summer 2012. One of the first music videos Aull dropped received 3,000 views on YouTube in less than 24 hours.

“The numbers are what started it for me and made me think I’m good at this,” Aull said. “Other people seemed to think so. Why not see how far we can take it.”

Aull, 22, enjoyed opening for Snoop Dogg and Sean Paul, both artists he looked up to and respected growing up. However, Aull said his most recent show at the University of Maine Orono was one of the best reactions he’s received from a crowd so far. The adrenaline rush from being on stage is what keeps Aull excited.

“I want more of that and only that,” he said.

Aull puts much of his energy and focus into live performances. He feels confident on stage in his ability to control both the crowd and the microphone. He takes his role as an emcee seriously.

“My advice to all young rappers or musicians is work on your live performance,” he said. “That is artistry in its truest form.”

Aull cited a number of artists who have influenced him along his musical journey that include Nas, Biggie, Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar. Seeing Logic live in Boston was a motivational experience for Aull, but it was a sold-out performance by J. Cole at Port City Music Hall in Portland in 2011 that inspired him the most.

“That was a game changer for me, it made me want to start rapping,” he said.

Aull hopes to have more new music online by Friday, Aug. 18. His goal is to put together a long-term project over the next nine months and possibly release an album. Aull said his Instagram account @AullThat is the best place for fans to stay up to date on his music.

“It’s the best introduction to me at this point,” he said.

Aull has posted new music to his Instagram account throughout summer. He said he still faces difficulty with writer’s block and off days. When that happens, he said the best thing for him to do is step away and come back to it after a few hours. The process has become easier for him and he’s pushed himself to write more even when he doesn’t feel he can.

“Some songs might not be finished for weeks, it really varies in general,” he said.

Regardless of how long it takes, Aull is ready to lead the charge for the hip-hop scene in Maine. He said Boston is becoming a more popular place for hip-hop and thinks people will start looking at what’s happening in the Northeast. Aull knows it will take a lot of work to meet the challenge but he’s ready to focus on music every day.

“Who better than me to put Maine on the map for hip-hop music,” he said. “I want to be that representative.”

Helping him meet those challenges is one of Aull’s longtime friends Alex Belanger. The two met in sixth grade and now live together in Saco. Belanger remembers when Aull started rapping as a hobby before any of his tracks were recorded. While Belanger’s official role is undefined, he helps Aull with networking and acts as creative sounding board.

“I love to do anything that can take the weight off his shoulders and keep moving forward with him,” Belanger said.

Aside from musical skills, Belanger said professionalism is what sets Aull aside from other up and coming local artists. The two make sure music is available across a variety of online platforms, all at the same time. On top of that, Belanger said Aull has improved and expanded his repertoire significantly since high school.

“He does it all with relative ease. He has an impressive knack for creativity,” Belanger said.

As the hip-hop genre expands, Belanger said anyone can grab a mic and press record. Accordingly, getting other people to take Aull seriously has been a challenge. He said Aull’s authentic personality has helped get him to this point.

“A lot of people don’t work at the same job for five or six years, let alone follow the same dream,” Belanger said.

Aull understands the amount of work necessary to reach his goals and how rare overnight success stories are. Aull is happy to perform while hip-hop dominates many spheres of pop culture, but realizes it’s that much harder to stand out. He’s been distracted from his musical progress recently by school and work. However, he graduated from New England School of Communications this spring and began working part-time at Scarborough-based radio station Hot 104.7.

“I finally feel like I’m starting to put the pieces together,” Aull said. “It’s only going up from here.”

For more information follow @AullThat on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For tickets to Aull’s next show visit Z Dance Club’s Facebook page.

FMI

Brandon Aull will perform at Z Dance Club on Forest Avenue in Portland at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25.

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