Grammy-winning producer Mark Ronson navigates toward “Uptown Funk” with his pulsating new single, co-written and co-produced with chart-topping singer Bruno Mars. The track, which also features vocals from Mars in his first appearance since 2012’s Unorthodox Jukebox, loads up on Funkadelic-styled slap-bass and synth. It’s the first taste of Ronson’s upcoming fourth LP, Uptown Special, which drops January 27th on RCA Records.
The duo, joined by a “very special guest,” will perform “Uptown Funk” and another new song on the November 22nd episode of Saturday Night Live. In the meantime, stream the track below.
The album was largely co-written and produced by Ronson and Jeff Bhasker over 18 months in studios across London, Memphis, Los Angeles and New York City. The bulk of the lyrics were written by American novelist Michael Chabon, and the LP also features significant vocal and instrumental contributions from Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker. Other contributors include Miike Snow’s Andrew Wyatt, producer Emile Haynie, Simian Mobile Disco’s James Ford, TNGHT’s Hudson Mohawke and DJ Zinc.
Ronson, along with Bhasker and the Smeezingtons production team, worked on three tracks for Mars’ 2012 album, Unorthodox Jukebox: “Moonshine,” “Gorilla” and the Grammy-nominated, Billboard Hot 100-topping “Locked Out of Heaven.”
In 2012, Mars told Rolling Stone he was initially drawn to Ronson thanks to the producer’s work on Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black. “It’s hard to create sounds with live instrumentation that bump in the club, and Mark Ronson did it here,” Mars says. “Since Back to Black, I’ve always wanted to get into his head and see how he does it.”
“I was traveling in Zanzibar on my honeymoon when I got this call: ‘Do you want to meet Bruno Mars?,'” Ronson told Rolling Stone in 2012 before Unorthodox Jukebox arrived. “I was only kind of familiar with his music. But we met up in London a month later, and the first thing he said was, ‘I want to sound exactly the opposite of what a Mark Ronson collaboration with Bruno Mars is supposed to sound like.’ That won me over – and then I found out what a phenomenal talent he is. This is the most progressive music I’ve worked on yet. It’s going to open up the arteries and change the sound of music.”
Mars has largely stayed off the radar since he and the Red Hot Chili Peppers performed during the Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show in February. In June, Ronson told Capital FM that he and Mars planned on working together again. “[Mars] had a incredible run and it was great to be able to work on that record with him and hopefully we’ll be making music for a while,” Ronson said.
Mars was recently added to the slate of performers heading to Rock in Rio’s inaugural American festival, joining the previously announced Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran at the “Pop” weekend of the Las Vegas festival on May 15th and 16th. (Metallica, Linkin Park and No Doubt will headline the “Rock” lineup at Rock in Rio the prior weekend.)