Mayer Hawthorne can tell his sophomore album, 2011's "How Do You Do," is doing better than his 2009 debut "A Strange Arrangement" -- and not just by looking at sales reports.
"People will send me a tweet or a text -- 'Yo, I'm at Red Lobster now and they're playing Mayer Hawthorne.' I'm getting more of that kind of stuff now, which is hilarious," says the Ann Arbor-raised Hawthorne, 33, who started out as a rapper and DJ in Now On and Athletic Mic League before launching his career as a singer.
"It's not just from my mom anymore," he adds. "Now I get it from everywhere."
Hawthorne, who recorded most of "How Do You Do" in Detroit, considers his latest album to be "more of a Mayer Hawthorne" album than "A Strange Arrangement," which put him on the map with singles such as "Just Ain't Gonna Work Out" and "The Ills." "The first album was basically an homage to Motown and 60s soul," explains Hawthorne, whose song "The Walk" was named Outstanding National Single at this year's Detroit Music Awards. "It was a record that started out of necessity. I was jsut making sample material for rap tracks.
"And the new album I was able to actually approach it from the perspective of, 'Let me make an album of just songs that I would want to make.' I really threw out the rules, and you get so much of the real me. You get all the influences I grew up with, like hip-hop and even (heavy) metal and punk, all fused together.
"It's not jsut a retro soul record...and I'm really proud of that."
Hawthorne has already started doing some writing and recording for his next album. But with "How Do You Do" Hawthorne on his longest stretch of touring yet, he doesn't have a release date in mind yet.
" 'How Do You Do' is definitely the focus right now," he says. "We still have a long way to go with it. This is an album a lot of people are just discovering right now, so I want to put my energy into that before I really get into a next album."
Mayer Hawthorne & the County and the Stepkids perform on Tuesday, March 15, at the Majestic, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25. Call 313-833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.
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