Mayer Hawthorne

“Retro soul” is hot right now and MayerHawthorne_2285_v2
there are plenty of artists who are
latched on to current popularity.
Hawthorne feels more authentic and
his sound more organic than some
performers who record similar fare.
The authenticity also comes as a
surprise because the soulful singer
does not really look like most other
soul singers. The fact that Hawthorne
is caucasian and sort of embraces a
“geek chic” air could easily be viewed
as a marketing tool or gimmick. His
talent and palpable passion for the
genre he embraces allows him to be
more than just a stunt. The multi-
talented crooner isn’t just a lead
vocalist; he plays a variety of
instruments and often provides
production for many of his songs.

The 29-year-old performer received no vocal training growing up—but you would have a hard time believing that when you hear the strength of his throwback voice.

Mayer Hawthorne grew up in what many consider to be one of the greatest places
in the world as far as musical creation goes, Michigan. The legendary record label Motown Records was born in Detroit and much of Hawthorne’s musical character can be linked to the fabled record company. Hawthorne has a retro vibe that would make you believe he was born a few decades too late. When most listeners first hear his music they are shocked to learn that it wasn’t recorded prior to 1980. Hawthorne blends an old school sound with some modern day flourishes to define the current day artist he is.

When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in music seriously? 

Since michael Jackson’s Thriller came out in 1983. I was 4 years old.

When did you know that you had a real shot to make it in the music industry?

I have a long way to go in this business before I can say I have made it. I’m just working my ass off every day to make sure I never have to find another job.

How would you describe your musical style?

I make music for people to have fun with. I make music for people to make love to. The only rule I have is that the music has to be fun.

Do you remember the first time you heard yourself on the radio?

It took a really long time for me to hear myself. For weeks all my friends would text me saying they heard me on the radio but I would always miss it. Finally, I was getting in the car with my sister and as soon as we started the engine a song of mine came on. I’ve been an independent artist for a long time and never had much radio play, so it was a crazy feeling hearing myself.

Can you ever tell in advance that a song or album is going to be a hit?

If there’s one thing i’ve learned…it’s that you never, never know what people are going to connect with in terms of music. Anyone who says they know is bullshitting.

How important is inspiration when it comes to creating music?

I get most of my inspiration from beautiful women. Lucky for me there are lots of beautiful women out there.

What artist or musical group has had the biggest influence on your work?

My parents have always had a huge influence on my career. My dad still plays bass and sings in a band in Michigan. Some of my other favorites are James Brown, Barry white, Prince, Steely Dan and Smashing Pumpkins.

If you had to start your career all over again, would you do anything differently?

Definitely not. My many, many failures have made me who I am.

What areas of your craft do you feel still need to be developed?

Man, you name it and I need to work on it.

Are you currently living your childhood dream?


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