Mayer Hawthorne, born as Andrew Mayer Cohen, is a multi-talented American artist. You can call him a singer, a producer, a songwriter, a DJ, a rapper, a musician, a musical arranger, an audio engineer if you want to get all fancy. This Los Angeles based artist came up with his stage name by combining his middle name with the street he grew up on in Michigan.
Cohen was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan right outside of Detroit. Throughout his childhood he was surrounded by and greatly impacted by Detroit’s deep, rich soul and the smooth yet funky jazz. Cohen considers artists like Isaac Hayes, Leroy Hutson, and Barry White among many of his musical influences, but he draws most of his inspiration from the likes of Smokey Robinson and Curtis Mayfield.
He later moved to LA where he was signed to Stones Throw Records. At first his musical works were just small projects, not intended for anything more than the pleasure of it. As soon as Peanut Butter Wolf, Stones Throw’s label head, heard what Cohen was putting together, he immediately insisted that the tracks be compiled for an album.
You could probably categorize Mayer Hawthorne as sort of a retro-esque genre. His tracks give the impression that they’ve been recorded some time in the late 60′s, early 70′s. They have that airy feeling, a lighthearted touch with the subtle jazzy horns that just make me feel like I’m stepping back in time to a romantic summer scene. Peanut Butter Wolf shares similar sentiments,
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.
Cohen had been producing and playing all sorts of instruments for the majority of his life. He had no previous vocal training, but that didn’t stop him from making a strong impression. Mayer Hawthorne isn’t just about throwback music, it’s about a revival of sounds and a new progression for contemporary listeners. Mayer Hawthorne is our 21st century motown and soul.