The following is an excerpt from American Songwriter. Read the full article here.
When Anderson .Paak sat down with his team earlier this year following the lockdown, it was supposed to be a “year off,” where they could take a break and work on the new album. .Paak had other plans, and found himself reflecting on the protests, putting words to the “revolution,” and other fragments of songs in the works that needed a release.
“I was already in that mode,” says Paak. “It’s just part of my natural state. I like cope and deal with everything by staying in a creative space and working on something. Part of me doesn’t feel comfortable if I’m not working on something.”
.Paak hasn’t stopped moving. Recently collaborating with Busta Rhymes on “YUUUU,” the three-time Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter, and producer also picked up two Grammy nominations for more politically charged “Lockdown,” inspired by Black Lives Matter protests in Los Angeles where protestors were being shot with rubber bullets by the police.
Unexpectedly, .Paak also found more inspiration at home with his son Soul. As the two pulled together TikTok dance videos for fun, .Paak also utilized the platform, along with Instagram Live, to gauge new singles, including his recent “Jewelz.” Co-produced by Timbaland, the more dance-y track was something .Paak wanted to get out, because it was a moment in time with his son. After the two uploaded a video dancing to the song, people immediately started asking when it was coming out and it reached one million likes.
“I really appreciate the time, the isolation and getting to focus on these things,” says .Paak. “In diverting more of my energy towards my son, that ended up inspiring me to direct my own videos and get more into film stuff.”
Still, slowing down is not an easy feat for .Paak, who says he got his work ethic from his mother who was constantly on the move, and always working. In isolation, he’s shifted how he approaches music by taking his time with each track, treating each more like an album with accompanying visuals. For the “Jewelz,” Park directed the video along with animator Ali Graham and Ape Shit Productions.
“For me, it’s always been easier to just bury myself in my work,” says .Paak. “Now it’s about sitting with your son and teaching him his timetables or going out with your wife as opposed to just burying yourself in your work. I’m trying to work on being present when I’m not working, and present with my family.”