Why this Laneway headliner is such a big deal

Siena Yates,
Spy News,
Publish Date
Monday, 21 August 2017, 4:15PM

Hype around Anderson .Paak's name in New Zealand has been somewhat minimal, but that's about to change. It has to.

The Californian soul and R&B artist has just been announced as a headliner at Laneway 2018, following his hugely successful 2016 release Malibu.

He's been taking the US talk show circuit by storm, not to mention the festival circuit, so before he comes here for the first time ever, here's what you need to know about Anderson .Paak:

His name

His birth name is actually Brandon Paak Anderson, but he switched it up for a stage name. He used to go by Breezy Lovejoy but he changed it because he could not fathom the thought of meeting someone like Dr Dre and having to introduce himself as Breezy Lovejoy (fair enough).

What's with the dot?

Anderson .Paak stylises his name with a dot before his surname which he told NPR "stands for detail". He said: "Always be paying attention to detail... I spent a lot of time working on my craft, developing my style, and after I came out of my little incubation I promised that I would pay attention to detail. And on top of that, I want to make sure that dot is always there to remind me and to remind others."

How he came into the spotlight:

.Paak has two (insanely good) albums; Venice (2014) and Malibu (2016).

He is also one half of the duo NxWorries, which he formed with Californian producer Knxwledge. The duo released an EP (Link Up & Suede) in 2015 and their full-length album Yes Lawd! dropped in October last year.

It was their collaboration on Suede from the EP which caught the attention of Compton's King Mez and Justus and they took .Paak to meet Dre. According to LA Weekly, .Paak proved himself to Dre by freestyling over the beat from All in a Day's Work.

Since then, he's been heralded as Dr Dre's new prodigy, appearing on six songs on Dr. Dre's 2015 album Compton - an honour considering it was Dre's first release in 16 years.

.Paak went on to sign with Dre's label Aftermath in January 2016.

He's a drummer

The cool thing about a .Paak live show is that he quite often will sit behind the drumkit and play and sing at the same time.

He's been drumming since his mum bought him a kit when he was 11 and he used to be the drummer for American Idol contestant Haley Reinhart.

His influences

.Paak clearly comes from a place influenced largely by hip hop, R&B, funk and soul, but he once listed his 15 all-time favourite songs for DJ Booth - and some of the tracks were pretty surprising.

As well as tracks by the likes of Tupac, Jay Z, Biggie and Kanye, .Paak's other favourite songs include Radiohead's Paranoid Android, Aretha Franlklin's I Say a Little Prayer, Stevie Wonder's Superwoman, and The Beatles' In My Life.

Anderson .Paak is playing Laneway Festival 2018, alongside Mac DeMarco. The full lineup will be released on Tuesday September 12.