Sunday, November 29, 2009
Mayer Hawthorne: London's Independent Newspaper Highlights Stones Throw Artist
If you haven't yet heard of (Mayer) Hawthorne, chances are you'll be instantly hooked. He's a dreamily original artist, who draws on the noblest traditions of Motown and soul, with an alluring modern quirkiness – a trick last pulled by Amy Winehouse.
Hawthorne's unique "sound" and manner combines the timeless elegance of Barry White or Marvin Gaye with the raised eyebrow of, say, the Divine Comedy. You don't have to take my word for it, either. Ask, oh, Ashton Kutcher and Perez Hilton, or Mark Ronson and Snoop Dogg. They have all recently pegged A Strange Arrangement among the best new records of 2009.
"Soul music isn't the only place my sound comes from," he says. "When I mix drums, for example, I'm not trying to mix them like Smokey Robinson. I want them to sound more modern. I also listen to heavy metal, like Tool and Helmet and Iron Maiden. And some of that comes out in the album, too. You've also got a wailing guitar solo on a track called "Green Eyed Love" that you'd never hear on, say, a Motown record."
He recorded the first Mayer Hawthorne track in his bedroom, playing all the instrumental parts, singing all the vocals, and mixing them on basic equipment ("Mayer" is Cohen's middle name, "Hawthorne" is the street he grew up on). A handful of two-track demo CDs were made, passed to friends "for a sort of joke," and forgotten about. In 2006, Cohen moved to Los Angeles in an effort to make a living out of hip-hop, with a group called Now On. One night last year, he was introduced to music mogul Chris Manak (aka "Peanut Butter Wolf") who owns the influential LA label Stone's Throw Records. Mayer Hawthorne came up in conversation.
"My friend, who introduced us, mentioned it," recalls Cohen. "I was a bit pissed-off, because I was trying to pump my hip-hop career, but I sent the songs to Peanut Butter Wolf anyway. About a month later, he emailed saying, 'I just listened to the tracks. This is awesome... who wrote them?' He couldn't believe they were my tracks. He thought they were old songs I'd got the rights to." Soon afterwards, Hawthorne was signed-up by Stones Throw.
Read the full article here:
London's Independent - Mayer Hawthorne - Haircut's worked it all out