Aidin Vaziri | It’s about time Mayer Hawthorne started taking his job seriously. After self-producing his first two albums, the Michigan native steps things up with his third studio album, “Where Does This Door Go,” enlisting big-name producers such as Pharrell, Greg Wells and Jack Splash to give his neo-soul sound some Top 40 luster. The first single, “Her Favorite Song,” features British singer Jessie Ware. We spoke with Hawthorne from his home in Los Angeles. The album is out on Tuesday.
Q: For the first time, you worked with a lot of outside producers. Did you have a hard time giving up complete control?
A: It took a lot of adjustment. On the previous two records, I did everything myself. I’m extremely proud of those records, but it’s a lot of work. Sometimes you’re so worried about getting the right drum sound you forget about the song. So, in that sense, it really freed me up to focus on the song.
Q: Does it go to your head that someone like Pharrell not only likes your music but also wanted to work with you?
A: I’ve been super fortunate to have gotten the chance to work with a lot of my musical heroes. I’ve gotten shout-outs from them on Twitter and whatnot. It’s extremely humbling to know they’re even aware of me. I actually traded verses with Daryl Hall on “Private Eyes” in his living room. That was it. I felt like I had achieved everything I wanted in this business.