Mayor Hawthorne Likes Hard Beats And Motown

Singer and songwriter Mayor Hawthorne shares what music is playing in his ear. The soul singer says one of his favorite MC's right now is Buff 1. He also has the Motown group The Marvelettes cued up for inspiration.

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(Soundbite of music)

MICHEL MARTIN, host:

Finally, a segment we call "In Your Ear." That's the part of the program where we ask some of our guests about the songs on their personal playlist. Today, up-and-coming musician Mayer Hawthorne. We spoke to him a while back about his album "A Strange Arrangement" and here he is, telling us what music he uses to escape.

Mr. MAYER HAWTHORNE (Musician): How do you do? This is Mayer Hawthorne, and I'm going to give you a little sneak peak in my iPod right now, a couple songs that I'm listening to right now - the first being from my favorite MC right now. His name is Buff 1. That's a song called "Real Appeal." It's just got everything that you want in a hip-hop song: hard beats, dope rhymes, everything.

(Soundbite of song, "Real Appeal")

BUFF1 (Hip-hop Artist): (Singing) Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. You know you want it girl. If I ever, you know, want to get down, down. 'Cause I can see it girl. There's no denying that you want it right now from me. There's something about you girl. You got me feeling and I'm thinking about you, you. But I'm playing it cool and trying to see if youre going to make the first move. Woo. Woo. Woo.

Mr. HAWTHORNE: Since I started working on this Mayer Hawthorne project, I've been listening to a ton of Motown and the Marvelettes. "As Long As I Know He's Mine" stays in constant rotation.

(Soundbite of song, "As Long As I Know He's Mine")

THE MARVELETTES (Motown Group): (Singing) There may be clouds in the sky, but even if it starts to rain my days are bright as can be. Oh-oh, you don't catch me complaining.

Mr. HAWTHORNE: And the Marvelettes are probably my favorite Motown act, mostly because their songs are generally a little strange, sort of like mine. You know, they dont follow your typical pop structure or, you know, chord progressions. I like the catchy stuff but also the stuff that's a little weird.

(Soundbite of song, "As Long As I Know He's Mine")

THE MARVELETTES: (Singing) He's broke right now, but I don't care. I try to make him feel like a millionaire. So why do I care if we don't have a dime, as long as I know he's mine.

Mr. HAWTHORNE: The third song that I'm really listening to right now, well, I love everything from this Norwegian singer-songwriter named Hanne Hukkelberg. I'm totally obsessed with her right now. Her songwriting is absolutely beautiful but also very bizarre. I guess if you want a starting point, I would start with a song called "Do Not As I Do." From there, you'll be totally hooked.

(Soundbite of song, "Do Not As I Do")

Ms. HANNE HUKKELBERG (Singer-songwriter): (Singing) Do nowas I say, darling, not as I do. See the way I play, kid, not do as I do. Do do dodo do do dodo do...

MARTIN: That is singer, songwriter, bandleader Mayer Hawthorne telling us what's playing in his ear.

And that's our program for today. Im Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Lets talk more tomorrow.

(Soundbite of song, "Do Not As I Do")

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