Here’s some stuff you can’t find on Wikipedia: Mayer Hawthorne starts his day off with waffles and The Whispers or turkey sausage and Steely Dan. Sometimes it’s punk rock and pancakes for dinner. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s breakfast food and music. Raised by hippie parents in Ann Arbor, Michigan, smack between the Hash Bash and the car factories – Hawthorne’s old man taught him to play bass guitar at age five. He would play records in the house all while Hawthorne was growing up. He put him up on game. He’d say, “You hear him singing there? That’s David Ruffin.” Or, “You hear that guitar solo? That’s Stephen Stills.” And young Hawthorne would sit there, with his bowl of Cap’n Crunch, soaking it up.
Hawthorne was DJing in Michigan at the height of Detroit hip-hop. He was there. Before Em blew up, when Dilla was still alive. He was spinning records and making rap beats. Now he’s making soul records and rappers are sampling him. Circle of life. Hawthorne’s been digging in the crates and you can hear the influences in his music. A touch of Shuggie Otis here, some Bobby Caldwell there, a sprinkle of Barry White…
Hawthorne has released four full-length albums, one of which earned him a Grammy nomination. In addition to handling the lion’s share of production across his vast catalog, he also played damn near every instrument on every album and penned every song. His writing pulls from his life and observations; his heartache and joy. Sometimes it’s funky, other times he’s vulnerable and sincere. It’s the soundtrack to long relationships and tough breakups. Whether you’re shopping for groceries, on a dinner date, on the dancefloor, or in the bedroom, Hawthorne’s music is the mood.
Then came Tuxedo, the collaboration between Hawthorne and Hip-Hop producer Jake One, a boogie funk super-group that was supposed to be a one-off side project, but swiftly took on a life of its own. Three albums and multiple world tours later, Hawthorne and Jake are still serving up dance floor anthems and quietly producing for other superstars like Pitbull and Future.
From the summer of 2019 Hawthorne launched his own record label, Big Bucks. Since then, he released a string of singles harkening back to early Hawthorne sonics a la “Green Eyed Love,”. In December of 2020, Mayer released the previous singles as a compilation record, Rare Changes. It’s like he ate a handful of magic mushrooms and fell in love with music all over again.