Last year was the breakout year for many of today's R&B stars. Tinashe and Sam Smith are two examples. New Orleans native August Alsina is another one. The singer turns 23 years old today (Sept. 3).

A majority of R&B singer's voices come from some soul-searching, historical reference and displays of sensuality. A lot of August's vocals comes from grit and the street life. The singer was once a drug dealer and spent time living on the streets because he was homeless. The turning point of his life came in 2010, when his older brother was shot and killed. Alsina cites this as the point he became more committed to his love for music.

After years of posting YouTube covers, Alsina started releasing mixtapes until he finally dropped his debut EP, Downtown: Life Under the Gun, in 2013. The released included the slow burning "I Luv This S--t," which soon became his breakout hit. "Kissin' on My Tattoos," which appeared on his debut album, Testimony, became a fan favorite and "No Love," which featured a remix with NIcki Minaj, made him a R&B heartthrob.

Alsina also stood out for the raw honesty in and out of his songs. The Breakfast Club interview where he comments on his perceived rudeness became a viral classic. He's also made headlines for less-than-ideal news, like getting involved in an altercation during an anti-violence event.

But, as Alsina says, "Everyday ain’t good but everyday ain’t bad." His career is only getting started.

Listen to August Alsina's Song "Why I Do It" Feat. Lil Wayne

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