American singer, rapper and drummer Anderson .Paak is an award-winning musician who’s adept in multiple musical genres, as demonstrated in songs like “Bubblin,” “Lockdown” and “Leave the Door Open.”
Who Is Anderson .Paak?
Anderson .Paak is a multi-faceted musician who sings, raps and plays drums. Rather than limit himself to one genre of music, .Paak creates an amalgamation of sounds that include hip-hop, soul, rock and R&B. He climbed to the top of the music scene after getting the chance to work with rapper Dr. Dre on his album Compton (2015) and has since had a string of critically successful albums under his name.
In addition to his solo projects, .Paak is part of the neo-soul group Silk Sonic, which he formed with singer Bruno Mars in 2021. The duo won over fans with music that reimagines classic soul, like the single “Leave the Door Open.” .Paak’s discography includes the songs “King James” and “Fire in the Sky,” which were featured in Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021). His song “Lockdown” was a protest anthem that came out weeks after the murder of George Floyd in 2020.
Born Brandon Paak Anderson on February 8, 1986, Anderson .Paak grew up in in Oxnard, California, a city north of Los Angeles by the Pacific Ocean, until he was 8. He then moved to nearby Ventura, where he attended Foothill Technology High School.
.Paak has two older half-sisters and one younger sister. His mother was the daughter of a Black man and a Korean woman who was abandoned during the Korean War. She was adopted by an American who brought her from Seoul to Compton, California in the 1950s.
.Paak’s father was a Black man from Philadelphia who became addicted to drugs and alcohol. At the age of 7, .Paak witnessed his father attacking his mother. It was the last time .Paak saw his father, who was subsequently sent to prison.
Interest in Music
When he was 12, .Paak played in a church band, which introduced him to the drums; in high school, he started rapping. Around the time, .Paak’s mother was a successful strawberry seller, a major industry in Oxnard, and was able to provide her son with musical equipment. .Paak released a demo tape that garnered some interest from producers. However, he didn’t sign any deals because he wasn’t willing to alter his music to suit trends at the time.
In an effort to grow her business, Paak’s mother purchased strawberry fields but was forced into bankruptcy after El Niño destroyed her crops. She continued to support her family by becoming a professional gambler. But when .Paak was a high school senior, his mother was accused of not declaring her winnings and sentenced to prison for seven years.
.Paak survived by staying with friends. He sold his equipment and left music behind, working for a time at an assisted-living facility.
How Did Anderson .Paak Get His Start?
After a girlfriend encouraged .Paak to pursue music again, he moved to Los Angeles when he was 21 and studied drumming at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood. His girlfriend became his wife for a short time, though the marriage was later annulled.
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.Paak adopted the alias Breezy Lovejoy as his stage name, later saying, “I thought it was something that made it a little more star-studded.” When a new girlfriend became pregnant, .Paak returned to Ventura, and worked on a weed farm, where he became a dealer. This provided him with a stable income, but .Paak spent money freely and had no savings when he lost his job.
Wanting to support his family, .Paak headed back to Los Angeles to seriously pursue music. As Breezy Lovejoy, he worked with a band, the Free Nationals. In 2012, two Breezy Lovejoy albums arrived: O.B.E. Vol. 1 and Lovejoy. .Paak found steady income in the music industry when he was hired as drummer for Haley Reinhart, a former contestant on American Idol.
Why Does Anderson .Paak Have a Dot?
After touring, .Paak decided he no longer wanted to go by Breezy Lovejoy and took on the moniker Anderson .Paak. The name “Paak” reflects a story that .Paak’s mother told him about how the name Park was misspelled on her adoption papers. .Paak has said of his name, “The dot stands for ‘detail’—always be paying attention to detail.” His new alias appeared on 2013’s Cover Art, an album covering rock songs by white artists.
.Paak’s first original album released under his new name, Venice, came out in 2014. In 2015, he collaborated with producer Knxwledge to form the rap group NxWorries. The duo released the single “Suede,” which went viral online and attracted the attention of Dr. Dre. Soon after, Dre contacted .Paak, who later told The Guardian, “If he’d called five years ago, I don’t think I’d have been ready.” Fortunately, at this point .Paak said he was ready to seize his opportunity and ended up on six tracks of Dre’s comeback album Compton (2015).
A second .Paak album, Malibu (2016), was critically lauded. The album was released independently, but afterward .Paak signed to Dr. Dre’s label, Aftermath.
Another California beach album from .Paak, Oxnard, was released in 2018. It featured performers including Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg and Busta Rhymes. In 2019, .Paak headlined arenas while on tour and appeared at Coachella. His 2019 album Ventura became another hit in a string of successful albums.
Who Is Silk Sonic?
Alongside co-collaborator and singer-songwriter Bruno Mars, .Paak formed Silk Sonic, a neo-funk group paying tribute to a shared love of 1970s soul. The group’s origins date back to 2017, when .Paak and Mars met while touring. As lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic altered their schedules, the two made time to collaborate. “I’m not sure we would have done it if it wasn’t for the pandemic,” .Paak told Rolling Stone. The band’s debut album, An Evening with Silk Sonic, was released in 2021. The single “Leave the Door Open” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Silk Sonic’s “Leave the Door Open” won song and record of the year at the 64th Grammy Awards in 2022, as well as best R&B performance and best R&B song. .Paak has also received four additional Grammys spanning his musical career, including best melodic rap performance for “Lockdown,” best R&B performance for “Come Home,” best R&B album for Ventura and best rap performance for “Bubblin.”
Who Is Anderson .Paak’s Wife?
.Paak is married to South Korean singer Jae Lin, whom he met at the Musicians Institute. The couple shares two sons: Soul and Shine. They have a bilingual home.
The Brandon Anderson Foundation’s .Paak House provides access to arts, education and other enriching experiences for young people who wouldn’t otherwise receive such opportunities. .Paak House holds an annual charity concert. The event used to be in Los Angeles, but .Paak opted to move it to his hometown of Oxnard.