Mayer Hawthorne

A Motown Revivalist

By Vee Manzerolle

While it can’t be said of all lovers of music, there’s no sound that makes a person happier than the grooving sounds of Motown. The ‘Motown’ sound is a distinct style of soul music with a pop influence that has resonated with multiple generations. Founded in Detroit in 1959 by Berry Gordon, the label created some of the biggest names of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, including The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Smokey Robinson. Undoubtedly, it is in this tradition of the 'Motown' sound that is resurfacing with the help of Ann Arbor, Michigan native Mayer Hawthorne.

Born Andrew Mayer Cohen, the singer says that he adopted the porn-star name formula by creating his stage name Mayer Hawthorne out of a combining his middle name (Mayer) with the name of the street he grew up on, Hawthorne Road. Whatever his name, Hawthorne is the epitome of talent. He has the ability and skill to be not only a singer, but also a producer, songwriter, arranger, audio engineer, DJ, rapper, and multi-instrumentalist.

Hawthorne and the Lonely Hearts tour is the perfect example of how music transcends all difference and can be truly a universal experience. During his performance, he somehow managed to turn a stiff room at the Drake Hotel into a grooving atmosphere. Not only did he encourage dancing to his music but he also encouraged couples and non-couples to partner up on some of the slow jams.

Throughout the night, Hawthorne continually asked if “everyone is now feeling the love.” And, we certainly were! He maintained constant interaction with his audience declaring this was a night of celebration and paying homage to the Detroit Lions, who coincidentally won their first game after losing nineteen straight games that night.

Hawthorne credits Isaac Hayes, Leroy Hutson, Mike Terry, and Barry White as being some of his musical influences, and he also says that he draws inspiration from the music of Smokey Robinson, Curtis Mayfield, and the legendary song-writing and production trio of Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland, and Eddie Holland Jr.

Check out the official video for Hawthorne's “Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out”