Mayer Hawthorne never planned it this way. With one silly demo, seemingly made in jest, Andrew Cohen has gone from a relatively obscure DJ to Stones Throw’s newest soul-singing wonder. But it’s not how he got here that’s important. It’s that he is here-to stay.

The one-man doo-wop band, discovered by Peanut Butter Wolf in 2008, will release his debut single “Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out” on 45, followed by a full-length album this year. Things seem to be working out for The Mayer. His silky-smooth vocals and soulful love ballads have drawn comparisons to everyone from The Four Tops to Count Bass D, earning him a chance to join on of hip-hop’s most eclectic labels. It’s a far cry from where he was just a few years ago-DJing house parties on campus in his hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan. So how did Mayer Hawthorne (AKA DJ Haircut) transform himself from a backup DJ to front-man and composer? The answer might surprise you.

URB: Where did the name Mayer Hawthorne come from?
MH: Mayer is my real middle name, and Hawthorne is the street name I grew up on in Michigan…Works every time.

How did you link up with Peanut Butter Wolf?
I met ‘Wolf at a party in L.A. I sent him some tracks, and at first he didn’t believe it was me. Eventually he asked me to do a 45. But when he sent the contract over, it was for an album deal.

So you had no idea?
To be honest, I had no plans at all to do a Mayer Hawthorne record. The two demos I did were kind of a joke on the side. They weren’t meant to be serious at all. They were just for fun. When I gave ‘Wolf the tracks, I told him I wanted the single to be pressed on red, heart-shaped vinyl, and they did it! I couldn’t believe it.

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