If it Smells like Funk

Silk Sonic’s Debut Performance at the 2021 Grammy Awards Show

Theo Wargo/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
(L-R) Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars of music group Silk Sonic perform onstage during the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards broadcast on March 14, 2021.

Artists Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak have combined their musical talents to form the duo Silk Sonic. This collaboration has led to their debut single Leave the Door Open, a track that reminds many listeners of the soulful R&B of the 70s. With matching copper suits and a vibe reminiscent of the syndicated television program Soul Train, Silk Sonic delivered their debut TV performance at the 2021 Grammy Awards show on March 14th after successfully petitioning the Recording Academy through the power of Social Media.

Leave the Door Open is a four-minute sonic invitation to Bruno and Anderson’s lovers prompting them to meet the two in their bedrooms for a night of intimacy. Without the grandeur of an onstage band and clique of background dancers — both of which you would usually spot if the musicians were performing as solo acts — Silk Sonic passionately crooned under a starry backdrop screen and silky black carpet, inducing a feeling of warmth and charm for the audience at home. This rendition stayed true to the structure of the original track with a few vocal embellishments by the two singers as they gave their serenading delivery.

Two weeks prior to their performance, Silk Sonic dropped the official music video to Leave the Door Open in a retro studio as if they were making an analog recording of the track. In most cases, to qualify to perform at the Grammys an artist should have released a record months before the event in order to gain enough traction to make a Grammy appearance worthwhile. Since the duo was not slated to perform in the weeks leading up to the Grammys, they started a social media campaign to pressure the Recording Academy into considering them to perform at this year’s awards show.

Because they are A-list artists themselves, some think the petition was all hype. March 7th, Bruno released a statement on Twitter saying:

“Dear Grammys, If you can see it in your hearts to allow two out of work musicians to perform at your show, we would really appreciate it. We just released a song and we could really use the promotion right now. We haven’t been able to perform for a while and we just want to perform.” 

Shortly after, the two had a ‘falling out’ where they threatened to disband, but the Recording Academy approved their request before they could do so.

This year’s Grammys looked a lot different than years past due to Covid-19 restrictions and new live performance protocols. Other artists at this year’s show made headlines, most notably Beyoncé, as she became the most awarded artist in the show’s history. It was a star studded night for sure! Silk Sonic will be releasing a full length project, an Evening with Silk Sonic, in the months to come. Critics are excited to see how these artists will twist the genres of soul, funk, and contemporary R&B to create a unique sonic selection as they’ve done with Leave the Door Open.

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