Alternative R&B singer/songwriter Mayer Hawthorne recently visited The Recording Academy's headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., to participate in an exclusive GRAMMY.com interview and perform a brief acoustic set. Hawthorne discussed his first big break, the artists who have influenced him and his new album, Where Does This Door Go, among other topics. Hawthorne performed "Wine Glass Woman" and "Reach Out Richard" from Where Does This Door Go.
"[This is] the first album that I've ever done that I did not produce entirely myself," said Hawthorne. "It's called Where Does This Door Go because I had no idea how it was going to come out. It was about a brand-new adventure going through a door that I did not know what was on the other side."
Hailing from Ann Arbor, Mich., Hawthorne grew up listening to the rich soul, jazz and Motown music of Detroit and cites artists such as Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, Smokey Robinson, and producer J-Dilla among his influences. After Hawthorne moved to Los Angeles, Stones Throw Records head Peanut Butter Wolf heard a collection of his soul-influenced demos and signed him. Hawthorne's debut album, A Strange Arrangement, was released in 2009 and reached No. 2 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers Albums chart. He followed with 2011's How Do You Do, which peaked at No. 8 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart.
Released on July 16, Where Does This Door Go features the lead single "Her Favorite Song" and "Crime" featuring rapper Kendrick Lamar. The album was co-produced by Hawthorne and GRAMMY winners Jack Splash and Pharrell Williams, among others.
Hawthorne is currently scheduled to perform select dates on tour with OneRepublic, and will kick off a solo North American tour on Sept. 9 in Burlington, Vt.