Anderson .Paak: Before and After Silk Sonic

Today, when many think of Anderson .Paak, following in thought is his 2021 hit single, Leave the Door Open, performed with the iconic Bruno Mars. The track is the most successful single released by the duo Silk Sonic which comprises the two. As of 2022, Silk Sonic has won four Grammy awards with many other accolades attached to its name but a jaw-dropping moment often occurs when fans learn that .Paak had been making waves in music long before the duo’s formation in 2021.

Born, Brandon Paak Anderson, to a Korean mother and African-American father, the hip-hop soul, and funk-pop artist began exploring his musical talent as a drummer at church. By 2011, he started working on his mixtape titled O.B.E. Vol. 1 which was released in 2012, but his life’s circumstances preceding his debut were far from favorable.

Before the mixtape’s release, .Paak became homeless along with his wife, Jae Lin, and their first son after losing his job at a marijuana farm in Santa Barbara. Despite the bump in the road, thanks to the help of Sa-Ra member Shafiq Husayn and the 88rising-signed rapper, Dumbfoundead, he was able to support his family financially, working with the two as a videographer, editor, writer, and producer.

Having overcome such a defining moment in his journey, .Paak misses no opportunity to speak highly of his wife Jae Lin, who is of Korean origin. Referring to her as “the one that matters,” in an interview with The Breakfast Club, he credits her for helping him forge a connection with his Korean heritage.

.Paak released his debut album, Venice, in 2014. It was at this time that he began performing under his present and renowned alias. Venice features 16 tracks and is a mixture of the R&B, hip-hop, and soul blends he is popularly known for. The album’s release preempted his appearance on Jhene Aiko’s December 2014 ‘Enter The Void’ tour, as well as a major apprenticeship with rapper and music producer, Dr. Dre, who would prove to be instrumental in the upward trek of .Paak’s career.

In 2016, .Paak wowed audiences with his sophomore album, Malibu. A compilation of his usual R&B, hip-hop style with neo-soul sounds, the 16-track project earned .Paak his first two Grammy nominations and attracted raving reviews from critics. Andy Kellman of AllMusic praised the album, “Compared to the impressive and occasionally brilliant Venice, this album’s mix of high and hard times has deeper resonance.”

An additional two albums, Oxnard and Ventura, followed, as .Paak secured his spot as one of the most talented musicians and vocalists on the scene. He expanded his reach, collaborating with heavy hitters such as the legendary Smokey Robinson, Brandy, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, Pusha T, and vocal powerhouse, Christina Aguillera.

As a solo act, .Paak has been nominated for four BET Hip Hop Awards and won four Grammys, and one Soul Train Music Award. After teaming up with Bruno Mars in 2021 to form Silk Sonic, he has added another four Grammys to his list of achievements along with two MTV Music Awards. Silk Sonic is currently performing a concert residency at the Dolby Live theater, Park MGM in Las Vegas. The last show will be held on August 19, 2022.

In the pipeline for the entertainer is a dramatic comedy film entitled K-POPS! which, Paak will be writing and co-directing. His longtime friend, Dumbfoundead, is spearheading the film’s production that will see .Paak in a lead role, along with his son Soul Rasheed.

Still in awe that he will play a major part in the movie, both behind the scenes and in front of the camera, .Paak said, “My mom is from Korea but she was adopted so I never knew anything about my Korean heritage until I met my wife. This movie is a reflection on my experience learning about this part of myself alongside my wife and son — and spending even more time with them! I knew this would be something I should write and direct, and Stampede Ventures took a chance and trusted that I could pull this off. I’m excited to bring it to the big screen.”

The release date for K-POPS! is yet to be confirmed but fans of the artist are excited to see the charismatic talent flourish in a new arena.