Silk Sonic, the retro-soul combo fronted by Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, will not submit its debut album for Grammy consideration in 2023, Mars revealed in a statement to Rolling Stone. Mars and .Paak took home four Grammys on four nominations in 2022 for their debut single “Leave The Door Open” and were expected to contend in various major categories next year with their first LP, An Evening with Silk Sonic, which was released just after the 2022 consideration cutoff.
As Mars explained, “We truly put our all on this record, but Silk Sonic would like to gracefully, humbly and most importantly, sexually, bow out of submitting our album this year. We hope we can celebrate with everyone on a great year of music and partake in the party. Thank you for letting Silk Sonic thrive.”
He continued, “Andy and I, and everyone that worked on this project, won the moment the world responded to ‘Leave The Door Open.’ Everything else was just icing on the cake,” he added. “We thank the Grammys for allowing us to perform on their platform — not once but twice — and awarding us at last year’s ceremony. We’d be crazy to ask for anything more.”
While Silk Sonic’s first album would have been up for consideration in 2023, the super-duo’s meteoric run has been tied to the Grammy Awards since 2021. That year, riding the nascent buzz behind “Leave The Door Open”, Mars and .Paak used their endearingly confrontational rapport to generate a viral Twitter campaign (#LetSilkSonicThrive) aimed at getting the new group added to the Grammy performer roster—and thrive, they did. Within days, the band had been added to the lineup. On March 14th, Silk Sonic delivered its first-ever live performance of its first-ever song… at the Grammys.
After squeezing every drop of juice out of “Leave The Door Open” for nearly five months, the duo returned in July with “Skate”, followed by “Smokin’ Out The Window” in early November 2021. With each single, Silk Sonic dove deeper into the album’s theme: the “Setlist of Doom,” a recorded realization of an immaculately constructed live show from an alternate past powered by Mars and .Paak’s studio one-upmanship and guided by the cool hand of the “blaster of the Universe, Bootzilla himself,” Bootsy Collins. As they went, Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, and company kept busy on the promotional circuit, logging characteristically luxurious performances at showcases like the iHeartRadio Music Awards, the AMAs, and, of course, the Soul Train Awards.
The new group’s debut LP, An Evening With Silk Sonic, finally arrived on November 12th, 2021—just six days before the Recording Academy announced the 2022 Grammy nominees. As the LP continued to generate buzz, Silk Sonic collected four big nominations for 2022 on the merits of a single song. An Evening With Silk Sonic arrived just after the year’s awards eligibility window had closed, pushing potential consideration for the album and its other singles to next year and all but assuring a third straight Grammy appearance for Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak in 2023.
Just as the baked-in staying power of this Bruno/Andy side project was becoming apparent, the group confirmed its first public live concerts: a decadent, months-long residency on the Las Vegas Strip billed with tone-perfect bravado as “the sexiest party of the year.”
When the Grammy Awards came to Las Vegas to join them in April 2022, Mars, .Paak, and company opened the festivities with the explosive “777” we had all been waiting for. They proceeded to make good on lofty expectations with four wins on four nominations including Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Best R&B Song, and Best R&B Performance. As .Paak said during the Record of the Year acceptance, “We are really trying our hardest to remain humble at this point, okay? But in the industry, we call that a clean sweep.”
Silk Sonic Accepts Grammy Award For Record Of The Year (“Leave The Door Open”)
Bruno and Andy played the Grammy game with precision, using the award show and its outsize visibility to launch their rise and catching it again the next year at just the right time, in just the right place, and with just the right vibe to collect their flowers. The rest of the songs on An Evening with Silk Sonic, as well as the album itself, could have kept Silk Sonic in the Grammy spotlight for a third year, but by bowing out early, Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak have assured that their Silk Sonic moment remains unblemished.
Sure, they could have won again. They also could have lost, a fate not yet experienced by this lightning-in-a-bottle project. After all, plenty of great albums have come out since An Evening with Silk Sonic, and it no longer has the benefit of recency to bolster its bonafides. This project was always meant to be a detour, a side story on the arc of two independently successful music careers. Like the sorts of flickering, far-off moments that inspired its charm, Silk Sonic was made to fade, to shine bright for an instant and smolder forever as a cherished memory while life goes on.
An Evening with Silk Sonic, like all good parties, wasn’t meant to last. Thank you to Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak (and Bootsy Collins) for hosting, and props for slipping out while the night is still young.