August08 is a special type of breed coming out of South Los Angeles. On the title track of his newest project, Towards The Sun, he croons, “All this drama in my life, I’m falling’ towards the sun. Started out as you and me but ended back at one. I could never figure out if I was what you want.”  

The 7-track project sees the Los Angeles native in his most vulnerable state, creating his most honest, heartfelt records to date. With a standout feature from ScHoolboy Q on “Cutlass,” the singer-songwriter proves his place in the music industry, with the ability to transcend genres while keeping fans on their toes with each release. Towards The Sun serves as the first installment of a 3-project series, with Towards The Moon and Seasick arriving next. 

As a kid growing up, August08 had his share of sports, playing both basketball and football. But after he realized his size didn’t allot for a fruitful career on the football field, it was junior year of high school he quit to focus on the music. Getting his start as a producer, August08 fondly remembers selling Kendrick Lamar beats for $50 back in the day.

Previously signed to 88Rising, August08 had the pleasure of performing at Coachella with the gang… and he shows no plans of slowing down. With all-star songwriting credits such as contributions to DJ Khaled’s “I’m the One,” August08 is now taking his strong pen game and shifting the focus into his own artistry.

Sheen Magazine spoke with August08 in downtown Los Angelesto discuss his sound, his new project, how he landed at 88Rising, what inspires him the most, and more.

For those who don’t know, who is August08?

Hi, I’m August08. I’m from Los Angeles, California. And it’s time I go vegan again because I got heartburn.

What happened the first time?

I was vegetarian for 10 years, I was vegan for one. It didn’t last. So the veganism, it killed me. I think that messed up my vegetarianism. The proteins, you need the proteins. Some! Milk, cheese. 

That’s the one thing I couldn’t give up. Cheese is too good. 

Cheese is too good. I wanted a jalapeno cheese bagel today, I didn’t get it though.

How would you describe your sound? 

I think my sound is as tough as this guy right here. [points to dog] My sound is all of the above honestly. Rock, R&B, pop. More pop than anything. But lately people have been calling me alternative R&B, which I’m not too mad at.

How did you get your name?

I got my name because of my father’s birth mother, her name’s name is August. 08 came from because it’s August, August.

Fast forward to now. You got Towards The Sun out now. How are you feeling?

I feel amazing, happy. It’s being received really, really well. I’m thankful I can be super, super creative and do whatever the hell I want to do.

Have you always had that freedom?

To an extent. But in my opinion, I’m the freest I’ve ever been when it comes to allowing myself to be who I want to be. Musically.

Because you’ve been independent this whole time, right?

I was signed to independent labels. I was signed to 88Rising.

How did that happen by the way?

I met Sean at a session with Pharrell and Rich Brian. Played my music, Sean said, “I’m signing you on the spot.”

That’s crazy. Where were you in your career at that time?

I had no interest. I wasn’t interested in being an artist at that time. Even though every songwriter has that moment of “I want to be an artist, but I don’t want to be an artist.” At that moment, I was thinking “I’m getting this bread.” Linked up with them, and got way more bread. [laughs] But Sean really allowed me to be an artist and do whatever the hell I wanted to do. It was for a good tradeoff: become an artist and just write for everybody on the label.

Are you the only non Asian one on the label?

I think I’m the only non-Asian person they’ve ever signed.

That’s a huge look!

It’s a huge look, to a certain extent.

What do you want fans to get from this project? I know you’re dropping Towards The Moon in June.

I want them to open up and have some emotional moments with me. I’m still getting acquainted with them and they’re still getting acquainted with me. I want them to breathe a little bit, be able to enjoy it and just take that journey with me.

What inspired the “500 Days” visual?

I wanted to shoot a music video that had an introvert perspective. Getting your heart broken, finding the furthest place I want to be from somebody and going there. I got my heart broken in Vegas, which is the desert. Well I’m going to the motherfucking cove. You feel me? Go to motherfucking, Alaska, Antarctica. Away from your ass. 

What was the best memory from Coachella?

Being with my girl, her sisters and my friends. Sophia [management] was there, it was a vibe. We had some fun. Got sick as a dog after that motherfucker. 

Oh no, you good?!

Yeah, we didn’t get no Covid or no shit like that. That shit fucked n*ggas up though. I ain’t going that shit again. I’m playing Coachella and I’m leaving. I told my girl already, that shit is done.

What inspires you the most when you’re writing?

Sad shit, so I’m curious to see how I’ma write this next album. Because I’m not sad right now. I might make a happy album, I have no fucking idea. I feel like people don’t perceive me as too sad, so it might work out.