Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak soar as Silk Sonic on Grammys

Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak
Trevor Noah watches as Silk Sonic (Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars) performs in the background at the 63rd Grammy Award outside Staples Center.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

It’s not a bad way to launch a project.

The soul-funk super-duo Silk Sonic has released only two tracks — and one was a minute-long “Silk Sonic Intro” — but at the 63rd Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak took centerstage during prime time. Or, rather, performed amid a .gif-friendly cosmic realm that suggested a Soul Train set from 1972.

The pair, dressed in matching rust-colored three-piece suits, wide-collared polyester shirts and bell-bottoms, might have been a lost Motown act. They delivered a luxurious take on their debut single, “Leave the Door Open,” a mid-tempo come-on. To punctuate the point, .Paak wore heart-shaped glasses.

Tag-teaming lines above a velvet groove, Mars and .Paak detailed to would-be lovers that the house was clean, the pool was warm and they were clean-shaven — “smooth like a newborn” — before concluding, “We should be dancing, romancing / In the east wing and the west wing / of this mansion, what’s happening?”


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March 14, 2021

Oxnard native .Paak, 35, argued his case while bathed in light, with Mars and two backing singers moving in unison behind him: “There’s so much love we could be making,” .Paak pleaded, citing as examples “kissing, cuddling / rose petals in the bathtub / Girl, let’s jump in, it’s bubbling!”

Mars stepped into the center to offer his own testimony, making an incredibly compelling case that, yes, love would soon be made.

Though it was Silk Sonic’s debut performance on national television, its members are no strangers to Academy attention. Mars, 35, has been nominated 27 times and taken home 11 awards since his first Grammy win at the 53rd Awards in 2010.

In 2015, “Uptown Funk,” the Mark Ronson smash that features Mars, won record of the year, and a year later Mars’ “25” won album of the year. His 2016 follow-up, “24K Magic,” also won album of the year, and its title track took home the trophy for record of the year.

For his part, .Paak has won four trophies among his seven nominations. This year his track “Homegrown” won for melodic rap performance but came up short the music video category. In 2017, he earned a best new artist nomination but lost to Dua Lipa.


Silk Sonic’s debut album, which features the great bassist Bootsy Collins, is expected to arrive sometime this year, though a release date has yet to be set.

Watch here for live updates on winners, performances, the red carpet, the COVID-impacted telecast and more.

March 14, 2021