Anderson .Paak is multitasking. He and his collaborators are spread across several rooms in Hollywood Sound Studio. A drummer and a keyboard player are improvising somewhere, and .Paak is hunting for rolling papers. The bustle inside the studio is not so different from how .Paak’s career comes across: bright, busy, varied. In the last 18 months, he has been featured on Dr. Dre’s ‘Compton’; released a second album, ‘Malibu’ and put out the first full-length from NxWorries.
It was Compton that brought the Oxnard, Calif., native into wider public consciousness, but .Paak managed to pull the focus back to his work. Malibu was nominated for best urban contemporary album, and .Paak is nominated for best new artist. No overnight success is anything like overnight; .Paak has appeared on recordings under various names since 2009. Since then, he has paid the bills by doing everything from harvesting weed to touring as American Idol contestant Haley Rhinehart’s drummer.
With his own band, The Free Nationals, .Paak takes multitasking to its logical extreme, drumming, rapping, singing and bouncing around the stage. “With the new generation of R&B, the influences are starting to change,” says .Paak. “I do soul music, but there are a lot of outside influences — indie rock, electro, dance.” His vision of R&B is less quiet storm, more rainbow tornado. “This generation truly benefits from a talent as diverse as his,” says Tip “T.I.” Harris, who rapped on .Paak’s song “Come Down.” “I wish him the best of luck, though I don’t think he’ll need it much.”
A few weeks from turning 30, .Paak can easily present as one of several people. Though he’s wiry and boyish, he’s a veteran. He and his wife, Hey Oun, have been together for 10 years, six of them married. They have a 6-year-old son named Soul, who is fond of Wiz Khalifa’s 2011 hit “Black and Yellow” (and some of his dad’s music) When .Paak returns from his journey around the studio, papers in hand, he exclaims, “Thank you, Lord!,” settles into his chair and starts rolling. His manager, Adrian Miller, pops his head in to ask if the drumming is too loud. .Paak smiles and shakes his head. “No, no. It’s a good vibe.”
Read up on the interview and more via Billboard.