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Before they started Silk Sonic, a name granted by funk legend Bootsy Collins, the veteran artists had toured together and collaborated on Chic's It's About Time and Paak's Ventura, though none of the material on which they worked simultaneously was featured on either album. Mars and Paak announced their arrival as a duo in March 2021 with "Leave the Door Open," a ballad modeled after the likes of the Main Ingredient, the Delfonics, and the Stylistics, among other classic R&B vocal groups that preceded them by over half a century. Through social media, Mars campaigned the Recording Academy to get Silk Sonic a performance slot at the ceremony for the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards. The organization obliged, and with "Leave the Door Open" barely a week old, Silk Sonic made their live debut nationwide. Coincidentally, Paak also picked up his fourth Grammy Award that night; his solo single "Lockdown" won Best Melodic Rap Performance. D'Mile -- who co-produced "Leave the Door Open" with 11-time Grammy winner Mars and also co-wrote the song with Mars, Paak, and five-time Grammy winner Brody Brown -- won Song of the Year for having co-written H.E.R.'s "I Can't Breathe."
"Leave the Door Open" topped the Hot 100 in April, and three months later was followed by "Skate," an uptempo number that climbed to number 14. The two hits whet appetites for the November release of An Evening with Silk Sonic, a feel-good throwback set with some contemporary flourishes and narration from Bootsy Collins. ~ Andy Kellman