This photo is from the official cover art of the single "Leave the Door Open," owned by Atlantic Records.

Bruno Mars has been a household name since the 2010 release of “Just The Way You Are.” From playing the Super Bowl to releasing hit song after hit song, he has earned the title of one of the most acclaimed musical sensations of his generation. Yet, having not come out with a studio album since 24k Magic in 2016, many have been wondering what the next step in Mars’s career might be.

Meanwhile, there’s an artist with less clout but equally impressive talent: Anderson .Paak. .Paak has five studio albums and multiple hits, including a Grammy for his song “Bubblin.” While .Paak may not be as mainstream of an artist as Mars, the two have both created a strong place for themselves within the music industry.

However, in 2021, a collaborative effort from Mars and .Paak, was born: Silk Sonic.

Dropping the single “Leave the Door Open” and putting on a show-stopping performance or two at the Grammys, they’ve instantly taken the music world by storm. .Paak and Mars have come together to collaborate in such an amazing way that it makes you ask yourself, “How could I have not seen this coming?” The two artists’ voices compliment each other tremendously, with .Paak’s higher pitched and gritty vocals blending seamlessly with Mars’s smoothness.

The relationship between the two artists began in 2017 when .Paak was the opening act for the European leg of Mars’s 24k Magic World Tour. Silk Sonic is a band anchored by the two singers, and it was named by Bootsy Collins after he heard their studio album, which was recently announced following the release of “Leave the Door Open.” 

Silk Sonic highlights the best of both artists’ abilities. The funkiness of their first single combined with the sultry nature of the lyrics creates an amazing sound. Both artists have their comedic sides too, and there is certainly a sense of sarcasm or even parody within Silk Sonic, especially in their aesthetic choices. Their orange suits and cheesy dancing during their Grammy performance solidified that. Even within the lead single, lines like “Just shaved, smooth like a newborn” add a little bit of humor to a legitimately good song. 

This project, although coming seemingly out of the blue in the eyes of many fans, has been in the works since their tour together in 2017. Both .Paak and Mars utilized their many musical talents as well as their friendship to create the passion project that is Silk Sonic. For example, on “Leave the Door Open,” Anderson .Paak recorded the drum track in one take. The production of the track is incredible and it can only make you wonder what the two have in store for us with the release of their full album.

What makes Silk Sonic such an amazing project is the feeling it gives you. In a time of so much difficulty and stress, a lot of the music and art that has been coming out in the past year has reflected those feelings. Silk Sonic is, to the core, simply feel-good music at its best. It makes sense that “Leave the Door Open” has been so addictive for people. It’s uplifting music, and watching .Paak and Mars perform it live with so much passion and joy makes it even better.

While I love a good deep cut just as much as the next person, I’ve found myself drawn to music that makes me happy more than anything else this past year. Silk Sonic has definitely mastered that art, and I cannot wait to see where the two artists take this project in the future.

Daily Arts Writer Gigi Ciulla can be reached at