Anderson .Paak is a changed man. Before the Oxnard, Calif. native was embraced as a singing, drumming and rapping virtuoso with a period in his name, he was crafting projects under a different moniker: Breezy Lovejoy.
Yet the evolution in his life—marriage, a son and being homeless—called for his artistry to reflect a name that was a bit more timeless. “I just remember thinking I couldn’t introduce myself to Dr. Dre as Breezy Lovejoy,” Anderson says of meeting his new boss.
While the former marijuana farm worker has been accustomed to change over the years, the one constant thing is his link to music. Born Brandon Paak Anderson, to an African-American father and a Korean mother, the 30-year-old spent much of his youth in the church where he honed most of his musical skills.
He then spent years traveling through the L.A. music scene where he established relationships, played in bands and with other musicians, and dropped music as Breezy Lovejoy. By 2012, Anderson had decided to take a new approach to his sound, a change that helped produce his first two studio albums, 2014’s Venice and this year’s Malibu, both of which received critical praise. He also established the duo NxWorries with hip-hop musician Knxwledge and in 2015, they released their successful record “Suede.”
However, it was Ty Cannon, Head of A&R at Aftermath Entertainment, that linked Anderson with Dr. Dre in 2015, to work on the producer’s Compton album. That meeting ended with Anderson signing to Dre’s famed label. “No disrespect to the rising stars in the industry but it feels like fast-food to me,” Cannon explains. “Anderson is like a home-cooked meal. No GMO, no high-fructose corn syrup. Just grass-fed soul music.”
Though he’s just making his entrance into the mainstream hip-hop scene, Anderson says he’s leaving it to the fans to put a label on what they hear. “I’m just trying to be another texture to the palette and add to the conversation of what’s going on musically,” he says.