The voice behind the viral Beats by Dre ad song takes us through the milestones that led to his forthcoming album, ''Lift Your Spirit'' (out March 11)

By Kyle Anderson
Updated February 21, 2014 at 05:00 AM EST

2010 Making It in America
Blacc broke through with “I Need a Dollar,” the theme song for HBO’s short-lived How to Make It in America. “Music for me was just a hobby,” he says. The track’s popularity “was confirmation that I had learned the ropes.”

2013 Rolling with Pop’s Big Boys
When the soulful Avicii collab “Wake Me Up” became a smash, it helped lead to new outlets, like a 25-date stint opening for Bruno Mars this spring. “The live presentation is going to be very energetic,” Black promises. “I pretty much exercise for an hour on stage.”

2014 The Dawn of ”The Man”
“I sent Dr. Dre some music, and he basically said, ‘You can do better,'” Blacc says. So he tried to write a song Dre could “drive through the streets of L.A. singing.” Thus the Elton John-sampling “Man” was born — and Beats’d.