Anderson .Paak does not fit into an easy categorization

Anderson .Paak, songwriter, singer, rapper and drummer born Brandon Paak Anderson, didn’t hesitate to be nominated for Best New Artist Grammy – even though his 2016 release, “Malibu,” placed it on five albums in his recording career.

“I think that’s cool,” he said over the phone from Los Angeles while looking after his son, Soul, in an interview ahead of the awards show. “For those who don’t know, the music speaks for itself. I never thought I would be a new artist at 31.


Or: The Republic, 1349 Kapiolani Blvd.

When: 8 p.m. Thursday

Cost: $ 35

Info: 941-7469,

Paak is not yet as well-known as Chance the Rapper, winner of the award for Best New Artist, who has gained popularity by performing in arenas across the country. But he’s on an upward trajectory, visiting mid-sized venues and concert halls. And .Paak is about to embark on a stadium-sized European tour with Bruno Mars.

Although he did not win a Grammy on February 12, he made a strong impression at the awards show, playing drums with A Tribe Called Quest during the band’s passionate performance. (See performance on

Always behind his kit, .Paak sang the lead on “Movin Backwards”: “I’m two heels away from the top level, what does it take to be a boss? … Maybe the answer is not up there. Maybe it’s on the ground somewhere. I don’t want to go back.

He appears at The Republik on Thursday, between appearances at the House of Blues in Southern California and an arena date with Mars in France.

The Grammy appearance was a natural for .Paak. He appeared on A Tribe Called Quest’s 2016 album “We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service”.

.Paak has recorded as a guest on dozens of songs, singing and rapping. He performed on six tracks on Dr. Dre’s 2015 album, “Compton,” which garnered him nationwide attention.

Throughout “Malibu” he sings and raps amid the utopian grooves of 1970s soul; the woozy flow of the alt-R & B stream; the cracking sound of the trap; the low swagger of Los Angeles hip-hop; and notes of psychedelia, new wave, gospel and electronic dance music. All genres and all techniques are put to the service of its own complicated history.

Anderson .Paak is the son of a South Korean woman and an African-American man; he grew up in Oxnard, California.

Although “Malibu” was also nominated for Best Urban Contemporary Album (a category Beyonce won with “Lemonade”), Oxnard was not particularly urban. It’s famous for its soil, and his mother supported the family by growing organic strawberries.

“Mum was a farmer / dad was a gor,” he sings on the album. His last glimpse of his father, he told LA Weekly, “He was over my mother, there’s blood all over the street.” Her father, now deceased, was jailed for assault.

He started playing drums in his church band at age 12 and rapped in high school. His musical tastes were broad and he was already resisting lockers.

“People didn’t always understand a drummer leading the group,” he said. “People wanted to lock me up. ‘Is he a rapper?’ “Is he an R&B dude?” “” We can do it like that. ” No.”

At 21, he moved to Los Angeles and worked his way into a stimulating local scene. He did himself no favors by choosing the name Breezy Lovejoy, which he considered to be a cheerful and romantic R&B nickname. But he assembled a group, the Free Nationals, and made a following. In 2012, he released two albums under the name Breezy Lovejoy.

In 2014, he rebranded himself as Anderson .Paak – the dot symbolizes attention to detail – and he released “Venice,” an album full of light tales of drug smoking and hanging out with women on the edge. from the beach. He also had a project, NxWorries, with producer Knxwledge, and in 2015 their single “Suede” became an online phenomenon, with millions of streams and videos viewed.

This caught the attention of Dr. Dre, which led to .Paak’s prominence on “Compton”. He independently released “Malibu” and was signed to Dr. Dre’s label, Aftermath.

“The past year has been the best of my life,” he said. “I’ve traveled the world and actually made money with my music and helped be a provider for my family. But at the same time, I feel like the world is falling apart around me and people are going through hell.

.Paak hopes to release a new album this year that will contain arrangements for strings and orchestras. “I just want to go for a bigger overall sound,” he said.

And while he’s not done exploring his own past, he’s also reflecting on a larger perspective.

“Some people can really sit down and do political songs about the issues that arise while still making good songs,” he said. “This is where I am coming from with this project.

“I am a groove-based artist. But I want it to be great art, and I want it to always reflect the times. And I want it to help people get through these times. “

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