Single and album for Mayer Hawthorne
Mayer Hawthorne's A Strange Arrangement album is released by Stone's Throw on 7 September 2009 and is preceded by a single, 'A Strange Arrangement' on 24 August.
Mayer Hawthorne grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan and vividly remembers driving with his father and tuning the car radio in to the rich soul and jazz history the region provided. "Most of the best music ever made came out of Detroit," claims the singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist. He may count Isaac Hayes, Leroy Hutson, Mike Terry and Barry White among his influences but he draws the most inspiration from the music of Smokey Robinson, Curtis Mayfield and the legendary songwriting and production trio of Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland and Eddie Holland Jr.
The 'retro' tag is added to almost any contemporary work that sounds like it was originally recorded between 1966 and 1974, and Hawthorne, among the newest contributors to the genre, is aware of how trends come and go. After being introduced to Stone's Throw label head Peanut Butter Wolf by mutual friend Noel Scaggs of the Rebirth, even his current boss was skeptical. "He showed me two songs and I didn't understand what I was listening to," Wolf recalled. "I asked him if they were old songs that he did re-edits of - I couldn't believe they were new songs and that he played all the instruments."
After meeting in person, it was even harder for Wolf to believe that Hawthorne was also the lead vocalist. Few expect such heartfelt sentiment to come from a 29-year old white kid from Ann Arbor, but he caught the ear of BBC radio's Giles Peterson and Mark Ronson. Expectations are high for the admitted vinyl junkie who never planned on taking his crooning public. Hawthorne's hanging-by-a-string falsetto and breakbeat production are equal parts Smokey and J Dilla. "It's soul, " he explains, "but it's new."