If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Rolling Stone may receive an affiliate commission.
It’s been a busy year for Anderson .Paak, from taking home four Grammys with Bruno Mars for Silk Sonic‘s “Leave the Door Open,” touring with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, to, on a recent October night, celebrating alongside Lady Gaga at a Dom Pérignon dinner party in Los Angeles.
“Billy Porter was sitting next to me. Met a lot of fun people, man,” says .Paak, calling from L.A. “Gaga, I met her briefly at the Grammys earlier this year, she’s so sweet. And I got to see her again, and right away, [she] just hit me with the biggest embrace. And I was really excited to dress up for that event.”
Now, .Paak is dressing up once again — zebra print, rhinestone-wrapped shades, and all — as part of H&M‘s new holiday campaign, alongside Chloë Sevigny, Paloma Elsesser, and an incredibly stylish cast.
Launching on H&M’s website on Nov. 10, the new fall and winter collection includes what the brand describes as “party-ready” pieces (think: animal print, statement accessories, and sleek style), many of which are featured throughout the new campaign’s video, below.
Rolling Stone caught up with .Paak ahead of the collection’s release to talk entertaining for the holidays, the perfect playlist, and if he’d be open to another Las Vegas residency after Silk Sonic’s shows earlier this year.
You’re starring in H&M’s upcoming holiday campaign. What was it like to shoot that video? There are some fun outfit changes. Do you have a favorite?
It was super fun and made it really chill. The director [Bardia Zeinali] was really awesome — my first time working with him. And they were really cool about being creative and trying out different looks. I think probably my favorite is the blond wig right now. I call him “Brody.” I was surprised how well it went with the looks they had set up for me.
Did you have something in mind before you went into it, like, ‘This is the look I’m going for?’
Yeah, I met before and checked out some of the looks they had for me, and I just paired the wigs that looked best with those outfits and kinda just went from there. I think initially we were just supposed to do, I think it was just supposed to be the one “Pee .Wee” wig, like the bowl cut one. But then they saw the blond one and they saw how it looked with the zebra top and they were just like, “Oh man, we gotta use that, too.” We were just like having fun.
What’s on your holiday playlist this year? What do you have on repeat?
I love the Jackson 5 Christmas album. I love Donny Hathaway, “This Christmas” — that’s a classic. Temptations’ Christmas album. I like Christmas on Death Row, with Snoop and Dre and everybody, Nate Dogg. Yeah, those are some of my favorites.
Do you think you’d ever be open to recording a holiday album?
You know, like in the past I didn’t think so, but I might be down. I’ve got a few favorite songs that I might be willing to try out, but I think it might be a little too late now but maybe next year.
What’s the key to throwing the best holiday party?
Definitely food, family, friends, and some great music. You’ve got those things, you’re all set.
Along with the new H&M campaign, you’re releasing a few other new projects this year, including the new NxWorries track ‘Where I Go‘ with Knxwledge and H.E.R. What can you tell us about that upcoming album?
Well I’m just super excited to be back working with Knxwledge again. We’ve got a great chemistry. We’ve been working on the project throughout the year, and I’m just getting back focused on it since I have more time now — since the residency’s done and I’ve got a little more time under my belt. The songs are just amazing. That’s pretty much all I can really say about it right now is that the music’s really awesome and we’ve got some more stuff that’s coming out soon. The fans should be pretty excited about what we’ve got going.
You’re obviously no stranger to collabs. I’ve been listening to the song you did with India Shawn, ‘Movin’ On,‘ on repeat this year. How did that track happen, and what was it like to record it?
India is a great friend of mine, and we met because she did backgrounds for my band Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals. And we met during Coachella, I wanted a trio of singers to sing with me. She was a part of that and we ended up going on tour for the rest of the year, and played so many shows. She’s such a great entertainer.
We’ve written some stuff in the studio and after tour, she was just like, “I’m working on my project. I’ve got a song,” and she sent me the song and I loved it. I was really surprised because I thought, you know, maybe I would’ve had to be in the studio with her to make it and stuff. But she sent me that and I got my verse back, and she loved it.
And after I asked her, “I’m really getting into directing and getting into film,” and I asked her if I could direct the music video for it and she was down. And that was really one of my first music videos that I directed for another artist. It came out really funny.
What else are you listening to? What are some of your favorite albums right now?
Right now, I really love the new Freddie Gibbs album. I listen to a lot of Blossom Dearie. Lot of jazz, lot of Bill Evans. Listening to some new wave — some Talking Heads. What else? My band Domi and JD Beck, who I signed to Ape Shit, still blasting their album. And always going back and listening to a lot of old funk and soul stuff.
When we talked over the summer, you were just about to head to Europe for the tour with the Chili Peppers, and about to wrap your Silk Sonic residency in Vegas. What were those shows like? Would you be open to another Vegas residency in the future?
Absolutely. The shows were amazing. Yeah, I can’t even pick one I liked more, man, but when I was in Vegas, it was amazing to have the tour come to us, from having been on tour since 2016 just like all over the place. So it was cool to be able to just be in one venue that we got really used to and work out all the kinks of the show. And just see the show get better and better, and see the crowd, so many different people, from young, old, middle-aged. Man, they were just so happy to have that kind of music come back, and they were just saying how refreshing the show was. And to be on stage with Bruno, who I think is one of the best entertainers living, and see him go out every night and just give it his all … and we’d be up there with our chemistry, it was one of the greatest, one of the big highlights of my career.
And on the other hand, to go out with the Chili Peppers, one of the best rock & roll groups ever that are still doing it, tons of energy, those were the biggest shows we’ve played, ever. And to get those festival-style crowds, outdoors and see people as far as the eye could see rocking to our stuff — a lot of people were becoming new fans, and it was just great energy. To be on stage with my band, who I’ve been playing with 10, 12 years plus, and for us to be playing on the same stage as the Chili Peppers, it’s just such an honor.