Over the last few years, Mayer Hawthorne has made a name for himself by reinventing Motown for the 21st century. It’s no surprise then that his cover of Rihanna’s “Stay” — what he calls “one of the best pop songs” of the past decade — leans hard on old school soul.
According to Hawthorne (via Esquire), the “only thing that was missing from the original version of the song was the funk.” He added, “So we took it to that sexy Barry White funk zone. Any time I’m doing a cover of a song, I’m trying to do it better than the original. I’m trying to beat the original. Otherwise I don’t see the point of doing a cover.”
While I don’t think the LA crooner’s rendition is better than RiRi’s (also props to feature artist and co-songwriter Mikky Ekko), it definitely serves as an interesting update chock-full of sleek, swoon-worthy soul and a must-listen for fans of Hawthorne’s 2011 album, How Do You Do.
Listen in below.
And, just cause it was one of my favorite pop songs of 2013, here’s the original for comparison: