Mayfest Productions announced Monday the first artist of Dillo Day 2016: Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals. Mayfest officials confirmed that .Paak, a singer, rapper and producer who has quickly risen to fame, will not be the nighttime headliner.
The California-born musician recently gained international fame with the Jan. 15 release of his third album Malibu. Previously .Paak landed six songs on Dr. Dre’s album, Compton, in addition to releasing two prior albums of his own. Maybe what made our Wildcat hearts beat the fastest was his appearance on The Late Night Show with Stephen Colbert Feb. 3, where he performed the songs “Silicon Valley” and “The Season/Carry Me,” nailed a drum solo and gave Northwestern alumnus Colbert a giant hug.
By that point, halfway through winter quarter, the Mayfest concerts committee was hard at work securing his position in the lineup. It was the success of January’s release of Malibu that clinched the decision to bring .Paak to the Lakefill, according to Mayfest Director of Concerts Yumiko Mannarelli, a Communication junior.
“We really saw him gaining a lot of attention and popularity with this album, and we all loved the album and love his music, so to get ahold of this opportunity was really great,” Mannarelli said.
Malibu is a showcase of .Paak’s many musical talents; the artist’s work draws on ‘60s funk and ‘70s soul, but adds in a smooth mixture of hip-hop, R&B, electronic and rock ’n roll sound. To see what we mean, listen to a few different songs from Malibu or some from his previous albums Venice (2014) or Link Up & Suede (2015). One song will begin with a collision of drums (tracing back to .Paak’s childhood drumming days for his family’s church in Oxnard, California), and another will build up to the chorus with gospel choir voices before breaking into moderately paced jazz or rap.
Come upon a patch of rapping in one of .Paak’s songs and you may learn through the lyrics a little bit about the artist’s childhood with a South Korean mother and a Black father in Southern California. “When I look at my tree, I see leaves missing/ Generations of harsh living and addiction,” sings .Paak in “The Season/Carry Me,” one of the most popular songs on Malibu. Following his father’s sentence to prison and .Paak losing his job, .Paak, whose full name is Brandon Anderson Paak, started working as a musician, and achieved success in the Los Angeles music scene in 2011. Since then, he has become more and more well-known.
“For every artist, we’re always looking to try to get someone who will bring a lot of energy and positivity to Dillo Day, and we think he’ll do exactly that,” Mannarelli said. “He’s an artist that’s on the rise and rapidly gaining popularity.”
.Paak will take the stage with live band The Free Nationals, with whom he toured Europe. The band also guest stars in "Lite Weight," a song on Malibu.
The announcement of .Paak’s place on the lineup comes three days after Mayfest released a separate press release outlining its official policies for Dillo Day 2016, which takes place Saturday, May 21.