Here are the deleted scenes from Davy Rothbart’s interview with soul singer Mayer Hawthorne.
You were close with Amy Winehouse. Can you talk about how you’ve been affected by her passing?
I got to know Amy this past year — we were the last band to go on tour with her. When she passed, that one got me bad. It was a real shake-up moment. First of all, she was a total sweetheart. And we really thought that she was getting her life together. On tour, she was coming out every night and singing her ass off, and putting on these amazing shows. We really thought she was turning things around, but then as soon as that tour was over, a couple weeks later we get the news. It was a big shocker for all of us.
Can you name a few musicians who have influenced you the most?
I’ve always loved Barry White — he’s the mothafuckin’ maestro! I’m also a big Smokey Robinson fan, and Curtis Mayfield, of course — he’s huge. The Marvelettes, they’ve got to be my favorite Motown group. And I’ve always been a fan of Rick James. People laugh when I say it, and they think of those crazy Dave Chappelle sketches, but I genuinely love his music; I think his songs are amazing!
You’ve collaborated with Snoop Dogg and Kanye West, among others. Are there other musicians you’d be most excited to work with?
I want to do a song with Justin Timberlake. He’s a great songwriter and he knows how to have a lot of fun with music. I’ve also been talking to T-Pain a lot and we’re gonna work together on some stuff, which is really thrilling to me. I think he’s brilliant.
You have a deep connection with your Michigan roots. Can you talk about your feelings for your home state?
I have so much love for the state of Michigan and the city of Detroit — I do everything I can to spread the gospel and bring attention to the city and shed light on the good things that are going on there right now. There’s so much more than urban decay. We still need all the help we can get, but it’s exciting to see things turning around. Everywhere I go around the world I’m always reppin’ for the D. Much love to all my people there. Go Lions! Go Wolverines!
Davy Rothbart is the creator of Found magazine, editor of the Found books, author of the story collection The Lone Surfer of Montana, Kansas, and a frequent contributor to public radio’s This American Life. He’s also the founder of an annual hiking trip for inner-city kids called Washington II Washington.
Previously from Davy Rothbart:
What’s Your Deal? With Anne Buford, director of Elevate
What’s Your Deal? With Richard Jenkins
What’s Your Deal? With Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko
What’s Your Deal? With Joseph Gordon-Levitt
What’s Your Deal? With Dominic Fredianelli
What’s Your Deal? With Bismack Biyombo