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Arts and Entertainment

Mayer Hawthorne Talks About His Favorite Records, Detroit Roots And Irv's Burgers

Mayer Hawthorne performing at SXSW on March 12, 2013 (Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for Samsung)
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Mayer Hawthorne decided to go in a "completely different" direction with his latest and third album, Where Does This Door Go.

The 34-year-old Michigan-born crooner, with his throw-back and silky vocal styling, worked with producers like Pharrell Williams on his latest effort (released in July) that digs deeper than just his Motown sound. (Remember his "Just Ain't Gonna Work Out" track that put him on the map in 2008?)

Before his Jan. 31 show at the Hollywood Palladium, the L.A. transplant chatted with LAist about his favorite L.A. restaurant, which vinyl records he can't stop listening to, and how he spent his first big-break paycheck.

Where Does This Door Go
"It was about doing something completely different. I had done two albums where I produced, wrote, and arranged everything myself. It was time to do something new to switch it up.

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"This is the first time I worked with other producers: Pharrell Williams, Jack Splash, Oak & Popp, and Greg Wells. I wrote with other people, I used instruments that I never used before [and] I had a rapper on a song which I've never had before. I recorded in major recording studios—you name it."

Top Three Albums On Repeat
"AlunaGeorge's new album. I've been listening to a ton of Brazilian stuff because I just got back from Brazil. I've been listening to this Brazilian record called Cravo E Canela. It means cinnamon clove, I think. I've been listening to a lot of jazz too, like Hank Mobley's Workout."

Moving Out To L.A.
"I've been making music and DJing in Detroit for a long time and I moved out to L.A. for the same reason everybody moves to L.A.—that's a shot at actually making some money doing what I love, making it a career.

"We worked extremely hard, but I feel like coming from Detroit we have this sort of blue-collar, working class ethic. And we really work hard. When I came out that way, it was easy for me to get ahead because I was really used to working hard."

Favorite L.A. Restaurant
"I'm super excited that Irv's Burgers just opened back up again because Irv's was one of my favorite places to eat at. And it closed recently and i was kind of devastated, but they just reopened like last week so I'm looking forward to going back to Irv's."

First Purchase With Big-Break Paycheck
"Oh man, it was probably just more records. It was just stuff for making more music. I like to put my money back into the music so I can make more music and keep doing this forever."

Mayer Hawthorne performs at Hollywood Palladium at 6215 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood on Jan. 31, (323) 962-7600