Silk Sonic's Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak Say Their 'Feel-Good Music' Stem from 'Pain and Tragedy'

It "is our way to cope with it, that’s why we put so much in it," .Paak tells Rolling Stone

Silk Sonic Rolling Stone
Photo: Florent Déchard for Rolling Stone

Silk Sonic makes lively music meant to bring people together.

In a cover story interview with Rolling Stone, the duo — comprising Bruno Mars, 35, and Anderson .Paak, 35 — shares their creative process behind their first album An Evening with Silk Sonic and why their music takes a lighter note and steers away from heavier subjects.

"A good song can bring people together — you don't have to actually sing the words 'Everybody come together.' Sometimes the hard thing is to actually do it. You don't have to say, 'Everybody raise your hands' — sometimes you just hit the right chord and it happens," Mars told the magazine. "So that was our mindset with the whole album."

"If it makes us feel good, and resonates with us, that's gonna be infectious and make other people feel good — and that's our jobs as entertainers," he added.

Silk Sonic Rolling Stone
Florent Déchard for Rolling Stone

Both artists have undergone tragedy in their personal lives, suffering from homelessness at several points and losing their parents at a young age, influencing why they make music that's upbeat. (.Paak's father died in prison after assaulting his mother, while Mars' mother died in 2013 before he could see her.)

"We both make feel-good music and I think it's because we've been through pain and tragedy," .Paak said.

"It all stems from pain and survival," Mars added. "Never wanting to go back. Move forward, knowing how bad it can get."

.Paak continued by saying the music "is our way to cope with it, that's why we put so much in it. We know it's life or death for us, and we know what life and death means — we know what it's like to be broke and to lose parents and to have parents that supported us and that battled addiction. We know what we're up against, and this is all we have."

Silk Sonic Rolling Stone
Florent Déchard for Rolling Stone

Mars then told a story saying he had song with a "heavier" subject before they decided to completely scrap it from the record.

"I'm playing the record, and I go to this song and I say, 'I gotta stop by Andy's.' I drive over there and tell him, 'Come outside.' He gets in the car, I press play, and immediately he says, 'Turn. That. S—. Off,'" Mars said. "We've been working on this song for weeks, but hearing it outside the walls of the studio, it was that quick. 'I don't wanna feel like this! Why are you guys making me feel like this?'"

During the interview, the duo revealed how they first started making music together while .Paak opened for Mars at his 24K Magic tour stops in Europe. Then, at the start of the year, Mars revisited the demos they recorded... and what became of them was Silk Sonic.

"It hit the right chord, so I called Andy and said, 'Come to the studio' — he said, 'I'm drunk!'" Mars remembered.

Silk Sonic Rolling Stone
Florent Déchard for Rolling Stone

"It was my birthday!" .Paak added. "But I'm there."

"He shows up, and he was on fire!" Mars continued, saying there was a "competitive spirit and camaraderie." "We start writing a song, right here, just going back and forth... where he'd drop a bomb, and I'd say, 'Oh s—, I gotta step it up!'"

Then, the pandemic became the ideal time for the two to continue collaborating.

"It was tragic for so many people, but Bruno would have probably been on the road, me too — but we had to be here," .Paak said.

Silk Sonic's album An Evening with Silk Sonic will be released in January.

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