Alejandro Salazar, better known as A.CHAL, is many different things. He’s a singer-songwriter. He’s Peruvian. He’s an LA mindset with a New York hustle. He’s inspired, but not influenced. He’s created a world, a city of his own, “Gaz,” in which he’s Batman and The Joker, a vigilante and a mastermind. Writer Danielle Bullen and the Peruvian artist sat down in Los Angeles, shortly before the release of his latest visual for the track, “Perdóname” to talk about how he came to the U.S. with a clean slate, and he’s not afraid to get it dirty.
DANIELLE BULLEN: How do you think being born in Peru and growing up in a Peruvian household has influenced you as a musician and artist?
A.CHAL: Unlike most “American artists,” I didn’t grow up around American music, so everything I was hearing when I came here was brand new for me. I didn’t really know what to make of it, I didn’t know what they were talking about, so I really just had to focus on the actual music, and the melodies.
Because of the language barrier?
Yeah, the language barrier, and also historically and lifestyle-wise. I didn’t know what to apply to what, like I didn’t know R&B was considered black music. I just knew I liked the music that was around me.
So you just liked what you liked, without any context. It was like having a clean slate.
Yeah, it was a completely clean slate for me.
Do you feel like your family’s culture and the culture you were around growing up influenced you a lot because of that?
Yeah, my music has a lot of touches of indigenous music and like, just the way I approach melody leans on the indigenous, Peruvian side. Also, I grew up to a lot of latin music, salsa and merengue. Those styles all have a huge influence on what I do, rhythm is a huge component of what I do. Not being able to stereotype stuff, that’s huge, because I listened to a lot of alternative rock as well, and I didn’t know what was “white boy” music. I just vibed with it.