From Bruno Mars’ shimmering soul-funk to breakthrough R&B act Anderson . Paak’s old-school blues-groove emerges a new band, Silk Sonic. Joined by funk royalty, Bootsy Collins, the two Grammy winners deliver an intro track followed by “Leave The Door Open” ahead of their debut project—An Evening with Silk Sonic—due out later this year.
Released March 5, the new single, “Leave the Door Open,” was produced by Bruno Mars and D’Mile and written by Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, D’Mile, and Brody Brown.
“Delta swamp blues was what we were going for,” Paak tells Apple Music’s Zane Lowe in an interview. “And then, you know what we ended up with, was a hit.”
Mars and Paak met in 2017 while touring together. Fast friends, a studio collaboration was an organic next step for the artists when they returned home. Each credits the other for the newfangled soundscape that defines Silk Sonic as a band. Together, with Collins as a “special guest host,” the artists established a dynamic retrospective nod. It’s reminiscent of shared early influences, yet their melded approach promotes an unprecedented sonic blend.
According to Mars, Collins is the “definition of a superstar.”
“I mean, there’s so many artists that you could see that grew upon him,” he says. “And me and Andy being a couple of guys that just grew up loving that. And we thought it’d be incredible if we could dream up a dream setlist and we, that was our model in the studio, ‘Alright, well let’s create the setlist of doom, who would be the ultimate host that could thread all these songs together?’ And thank God for Bootsy.”
In the interview, Mars credits Paak as one of the “baddest drummers” he has ever seen. Much of the project is rooted in his drum beats. Unlike Mars—who works backward from the guitar or piano—Paak’s music is percussion-driven, derived from old-school Motown influence.
“Anderson coming into the studio and unlocking something in my brain that I’ve never used before,” says Mars. “That’s what you hope. That’s how inspiration happens, you know? Even just hearing him talk, being a songwriter, sometimes you hear things in your voice, but working with other artists and you hear the way they talk. All of a sudden you start thinking differently.”
The last person to push Paak that way in the studio was Dr. Dre. The young artist became somewhat of a protégé of hip hop super-producer after performing on his 2015 record, Compton. Like Dre, Mars suffers from perfectionism as a producer.
“Listen,” Paak commands. “This dude doesn’t listen to music like regular people, you know, people get lost? And he can’t, he can’t. It’s like he probably does but all those records is like, you know, that we grew up on, all the Marvins’, the perfect masterpieces, but when he’s working on stuff, dude, it could be like one little thing and the magic, you know, from two years ago, and he’s hanging on to that, and he’ll try it. He’ll milk that to the moon any type of way you can think of until we’ve exhausted every effort.”
Mars acknowledges this prowess, insisting it is all in good fun. Since his 2016 chart-topping, “24k Magic,” he’s collaborated on several singles, including Cardi B, Gucci Mane, and Ed Sheeran. His self-standards are high, but that’s what keeps Mars going. Influence from collaborations like Silk Sonic holds his forward path wide open.
“It only gets harder because I’m only trying to make myself, that’s hard to make myself proud of the song and like, ‘oh, I can’t wait,’” says Mars. “The feeling I always look for is ‘I can’t wait until people hear this’. That’s the meter. If I don’t have that, then I throw it away.”
The advent of Silk Sonic was “just organic.” Their vision of the future is aligned as a band. Both acclaimed artists will continue seeking their artistic pinnacle, and together, their determined to reach new heights. Mars references the “monster” within him that keeps the mundane at bay—the fervent wanting of more.
“That’s still in me, I still got more to prove,” he says. “I still think I could write a better song. I still think that me and Andy together are going to elevate to a different level. And we’re going to be the best versions of us.”
Check out Silk Sonic’s retro-flared video for their new single, “Leave the Door Open,” below.
Listen to the full interview on New Music Daily on Apple Music at apple.co/nmdb1.