Mayer Hawthorne has come a long way since his 2008 debut, and right now, he says, “Life is great.” He’s released three well-received full-length albums, been nominated for a Grammy, had songs licensed for film, television, and toured the world as a headlining act, with Bruno Mars, Foster The People, Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae, and the late Amy Winehouse. His latest album, Where Does This Door Go, features a host of top-flight production work from Pharrell Williams, Greg Wells, Jack Splash, John Hill, and Oak (of Oak & Pop), who contributed both the album’s first single, “Her Favorite Song” and the Kendrick Lamar-assisted “Crime.”
A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Mayer remembers as a child, driving through the Motor City with his father and tuning the car radio in to the region’s rich musical tapestry. Throughout the years he’s cited Soul legends Barry White and Curtis Mayfield as inspiration, along with late Hip-Hop producer J Dilla.
In the last five years, the singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, DJ, and producer, has grown in all areas of his repertoire. Touring with partners like Winehouse and Mars bolstered his vocal and performance chops. Lyrically, he’s moved away from the bitter break-up tone of his first two albums toward more diverse storytelling and personal coming-of-age content. Some have described the new vibe of Where Does This Door Go as “Steely Dan meets the Beastie Boys,” which suggests both a studio seriousness and playfully irreverent approach.
“The only rule I had when I went in to make this album was that it had to be fun,” Mayer says.
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