Excerpt from a feature article & interview with Mayer Hawthorne at Hypebeast

If you name the most interesting new recording artist to have emerged in 2009, the list probably encompasses only a small number of worthy candidates. For the sake of music justice, make sure to add the name Mayer Hawthorne. The 29-year old musician hailing from Ann Harbor, Michigan created quite a stir for himself within just a few months, due to his fine interpretation of classic 70’s Motown Soul. With his fairly distinct fashion aesthetic and his undeniable musical talent, Hawthorne infused a breath of fresh air to a musical genre that has been on its death bed for some time. His debut album A Strange Arrangement has been embraced by critics and fans around the globe. Word on the street is that Peanut Butter Wolf – founder of Stones Throw Records – signed him after hearing only two songs. If you need further proof that this self-proclaimed vinyl junkie is making great music, maybe the twenty-seven sold out-concerts on his European Tour will convince you.

After Hawthorne and his talented band The County prepped and ran a sound check through the set before his gig at the Bohannon in Berlin, we had the chance to catch up with him to chat about various topics, including his musical beginnings, personal style, and highly successful European tour amongst others.

First of all, thanks for your time. You must be pretty exhausted after 8 hours on the road. Could you introduce yourself to our readers?
How do you do? This is Mayer Hawthorne – Dapper Gentleman and purveyor of timeless music. Born and raised just outside of Detroit in Michigan, Ann Harbor.

Tell us a little bit about your musical development and beginnings as a recording artist?
I was very fortunate to grow up in a very musical-inclined family. My father plays bass guitar – even to this day he still plays bass in a band in Detroit. He taught me how to play bass when I was six years old. My mom plays piano, dances and sings. Neither one of them had much success in the music business, but they taught me what I needed to know. They used to play me records all the time; buying me records you know? I had a Fisher Price as my first record player in the early 80s. So they played Michael Jackson, Blondie – whatever was popular at that time, including all kinds of music from the Beatles, The Birds, and The Who among others …

… This Mayer Hawthorne project really came about from being a Hip-Hop producer and having clear samples. And trust me, it’s a royal pain in the ass to clear samples. It gets outrageously expensive. I also played in all kind of bands ranging from rock bands to funk banks. So I said to myself, “You play all these instruments.You’re in all these rock bands, funk, punk bands, so just make your own music to sample so you don’t have to pay nobody to clear it.”


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