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Detroit's Newest Soul Man: Mayer Hawthorne

I had heard of Mayer Hawthorne but until recently I hadn’t listened to Mayer Hawthorne. I assumed he was some techno DJ or Hip Hop player; genre’s that aren’t on my musical radar. Sure enough, that was his scene in his previous incarnation as DJ Haircut.

The Ann Arbor native, currently living in L.A., has a silky soulful voice reminiscent of Motown and sports a nerdy 50’s-esque image. I must say, I’ve developed a bit of a crush.

Hawthorne’s debut album, A Strange Arrangement, came out in September and his influences include Smokey Robinson and Curtis Mayfield. Hawthorne said that the album is “heavily Motown inspired but it’s also new music for a new generation, it’s also very hip hop influenced.”

Mayer Hawthorne is actually his porn name; his real name is Drew Cohen. Mayer is his middle name and Hawthorne is the street he grew up on.

I always thought that your porn name was your first pets name and the street you grew up on. In which case I would be Maybe Hawthorne. So, perhaps we are related? No. Maybe we grew up on the same street? Nope, I grew up in Warren. Ok, I just thought I’d mention the similarity.

For those wondering Maybe was the name of my first dog. My Dad thought he was being cute, “maybe we’ll keep her, maybe we won’t.” Yeah, we kept her for 14 years. As a side note, going on Mayer Hawthorne’s porn name formula, I don’t have a middle name. Neither do my parents or my brother. So, I'd be Hawthorne, a one named wonder just like Madonna.

Even though Mayer Hawthorne infiltrated my twitter stream for months, I never clicked any of the links. I didn’t listen to him until last week when a blog I read, the Detroit Drinks blog, had this video on it. 

You know the ills of this world, they can get you down

But then you get back up

I was hooked. Soon after I was at the iTunes store plunking down my $9.99 and I am not disappointed. I realized, for whatever reason, that I needed the video right in front of me, or I may have never listened to Mayer Hawthorne. That’s why I’m sharing it with you. Or maybe you’ve never heard of him.

It should be noted that the above video is not an official video; just what a 19-year-old kid from the UK put together when he noticed there wasn’t an official one for that song. Fantastic!

In a Detroit Free Press article this past May, Hawthorne said

I'm so fortunate to be able to represent the Detroit area that ... everywhere I go, I'm reppin' Detroit as hard as I can. I'm so grateful to have grown up where I did. I don't think any of this would have been possible if I didn't grow up in the Detroit area. It has such an incredible impression on you. I feel bad for people who did not grow up in Detroit.

Yep, I’m crushing even harder after reading that.

And maybe it’s just me with Detroit on the brain, but the chorus of The Ills just screams Detroit. There are so many problems here, so much that can get us down, but we get back up. We get back up.

I don’t know much about music; I just know what I like. I like Mayer Hawthorne. You can read a more comprehensive review of A Strange Arrangement at Frying in Vein.

Mayer Hawthorne is playing at The Magic Stick on Saturday, December 19th. Click here for tickets. I’m hoping to be there, are you?

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Reader Comments (8)

I first found Hawthorne after a tweet from Hubert...and grabbed his single when iTunes offered it as a freebie a few months back.

On a side note, I think I've got one of the best "porn" names using your formula (the one I've always heard)...Feathers Bauman! Even Hawthorne's formula gives me Desiree Beauman :lol:

December 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDominique

It's funny, I had seen tweets about Hawthorne from Hubert but never clicked. I'm mad I waited so long. But now I want to give his earlier stuff a listen too.

Love Feathers Bauman!

December 15, 2009 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

nice streaming performance of MH via California's KCRW (Audio+Video) Have def enjoyed his tunes. Interesting tidbit - MH comes from a hip-hop background and has referenced the late J. Dilla as a big influence. The drum beat from Just Ain't Working Out is a throwback and reference to Slum Village's 'Fall in Love' (produced by Dilla). Legit!

December 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Thanks Tom!
I've seen the clip from KCRW of MH doing Mr. Blue Sky, which I LOVE, but I hadn't seen the whole thing. Awesome. Great link and info!

December 15, 2009 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

Detroit Drinks is honored by your visit. I have really enjoyed your blog for a long time. Love, Putnam.

December 17, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterputnam

Be still my beating heart. Putnam and Mayer Hawthorne in the same week? I'm not sure this married woman can take it. If you know anything about me, a blog that has Detroit AND Drinks in the title is going to be frequented by yours truly.
All my love,

December 17, 2009 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

Thanks for the link, Becks! I am happy to see more people getting into my friend's tunes. It is crazy to see women fawning over him though! Never would I have imagined it.

Great work as always, Becks! I will see you around town.

December 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHubertGAM

Thank you Hubert and you are most welcome. I don't pretend to know much about music and would rather point out a source that does than fake it.

Funny about the fawning, though! I think that when you can see that someone has real, raw talent they immediately become more attractive.

Hope to run into you around town soon!

December 23, 2009 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

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