Soul singer Mayer Hawthorne’s songs tend to be hit-or-miss lyrically. Lucky for us he knocks two songs out of the park on his new record How Do You Do. Both are the right blend of uptempo sophistication, perfect pipes and dramatic tension. “The Walk” is a song about a girl who’s beautiful but is making him very, very angry.
The other well-written song from the record is “A Long Time”. This one’s a full-on dance hit!
Born in 1979, not far from Motown in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Mayer grew up listening to soul artists Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson. He’s also inspired by pop acts like Steely Dan and Michael Jackson.
His first release was A Strange Arrangement in 2009. Since then he’s been noticed by big names like Kanye West and Snoop Dogg (he even does a rather tragic duo with Snoop on the new record). The lyrics could be better on most of the tracks, but the vibe is definitely getting there. His pipes sound best with songs that have a darker, sexier feel, like this simmering cover of Chromeo’s “Don’t Turn The Lights On”.
Mayer Hawthorne is on tour now, stopping in Seattle at WAMU Theater on June 26. His new record is out now on CD, mp3 and vinyl.
Michele Myers is a Seattle club DJ and hosts a radio show Saturdays 3-6pm on KEXP 90.3FM in Seattle – kexp.org. She’s a music historian, has produced over 200 radio stories for KEXP Documentaries and written scripts and features for NPR, Experience Music Project and the University of Washington.