The first time Mayer Hawthorne came through South Florida for a show at the Culture Room nearly three years ago, he was a promising oddity: The soul singer, hip-hop DJ and producer born Andrew Mayer Cohen in Ann Arbor, Mich., dressed with nerdy fastidiousness, sang with the smooth, gliding romance of Smokey Robinson, and had a sly wit that compelled him to cover MIA’s “Paper Planes” live.
It was too good to last. But it has.
A more-polished 2013 version of Mayer Hawthorne is on the bill when OneRepublic performs Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood. He’s touring the country in support of a new album, his third, titled “Where Does This Door Go?”
Seen last week on the Jimmy Kimmel show, Hawthorne has lost some weight (good) and the glasses (less good), has a new hair style (too hip?) and the two songs he performed from the new album suggest a drift away from Motown into other influences.
“The Stars Are Out Tonight” seemed equal parts Billy Joel, Steely Dan and the Brothers Johnson, which isn’t easy to do, and he broke out his best falsetto to channel Hall & Oates on “Her Favorite Song.”
Hawthorne recently told Rolling Stone, “This is the album I always should have made.” We were hoping for him to tack more toward David Ruffin or even Bobby Darin, but we’ll follow where Hawthorne is headed.
If you get to the concert an hour early on Tuesday, you can watch Hawthorne donate an outfit to the Hard Rock’s more than 77,000-piece collection of rock memorabilia. He'll hand over the custom-made leather jacket, pants and Nike Air Max 1 iD shoes from his performance at the 2013 Hard Rock Calling music festival.
The donation is pegged to Hawthorne being named the first recipient in the Hard Rock's “Artist of the Month” program, which selects one musician’s music video to play more than 1,000 times a day on more than 20,000 screens in Hard Rock’s 138 cafe locations around the world. In August, the video will be Hawthorne’s “Her Favorite Song.”
IF YOU GO
OneRepublic, Mayer Hawthorne and Serena Ryder in concert
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Hard Rock Live (1 Seminole Way, Hollywood)
Contact: MyHRL.com, 954-797-5531.
Photo: Jeremy Dupetat