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Anderson .Paak covers Man About Town 2021, Chapter 2 | Fall 2021

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Anderson .Paak

“Nina Simone once said as an artist we should reflect the times and what we are going through – they should say things others may not be able to and be the voice for many.” 

The world may have temporarily come to a grinding halt while the pandemic manifested itself but if anything, it’s had the adverse effect on Anderson .Paak, who’s has been busy. Clearly moved by Simone’s words, he continues: “Some of my favourite songs are the ones that give you something to think about as well as dance to so if I can make songs about women, money, clothes and cars then I should be able to make songs about social injustices.”

.Paak is talking about his hit song, the appropriately named ‘Lockdown’, which would later go on to win a Grammy. “I wanted to provide an offering like how Marvin Gaye did with ‘What's Going On’ in the ’70s so I’m proud of the song because it's tough to make music about injustices without coming off as preachy. I wanted to paint a picture and uplift the people protesting.”

Be it singing about social injustice, releasing No.1 singles with Bruno Mars, winning VMAs and Grammys, and making songs for Marvel blockbuster hit Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – like we said, it’s been a busy past 18 months for .Paak and there are no signs of things slowing down. Indeed, .Paak and Bruno Mars’ much anticipated album An Evening With Silk Sonic is out this month. 

Back in March, the two of them released ‘Leave the Door Open’, which stayed at No.1 on the Billboard chart for 18 weeks and also won a VMA and the album together is something of a nice full circle moment for the duo. 

.Paak has come a long way since 2017 when he toured with Mars. On the road, .Paak, 35, sometimes thought Mars, 36, would do everything to make sure .Paak and The Free Nationals – the band he often plays with – didn’t have a better show than him. .Paak recalls one time in particular, where Mars supposedly put them on a side stage to perform while people were distracted getting wrist bands. That day, Mars left a note on .Paak’s pillow in the tour bus that read, “You got heart kid, from you know who.”

Underneath the note was a big envelope stuffed with at least $100k. At sound check, .Paak asked if it was meant for him. Bruno replied, “I’m sorry, who are you?” Confused AP said “I’m Andy! I’ve been opening for you for a month now, me and the Free Nats!” Bruno responded, “If I were you I’d invest that money into cryptocurrency Jack!” before playing .Paak’s now gold single ‘Come Down’, killing it with crazy new arrangements. After the third vamp they stopped, .Paak and his band said they couldn’t do anything but applaud. Mars turned to .Paak and said, “That should’ve been my song you big tooth bastard!” All the crew laughed, walking off stage. The house lights shut off and .Paak and his band were left standing in a pitch-black empty arena...

To read the full Anderson .Paak cover story, order the issue here.

Anderson wears 'Gucci 100' for the cover of Man About Town's AW21 issue.
Photography: Blair Caldwell
Styling: Gorge Villalpando
Grooming: Jenn Hanching
Words + Entertainment Director: Erica Cornwall
Editor: Mike Christensen
Art direction: Aiden Miller
Editorial director: Huw Gwyther

Special Thanks to Bar Lis at Thompson Hollywood
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