Mark Ronson talks new single ‘Uptown Funk’
At first glance, you wouldn’t think Mark Ronson is a three-time Grammy winning musician with a number one single in over 16 countries. Sitting beside the British/American producer on a green velour couch at Sydney’s Four Seasons Hotel, the 39-year-old sucks on a tea tree chewing stick and is impossibly casual. “I have the same tattoo,” he says, pointing to my love heart inking before removing his shirt to show off the ode to his wife Joséphine de La Baume. “She only got my initials.”
Marrying the French actress in 2011 was the culmination of a life spent in music, built from spinning funk at New York nightclubs over the last 20 years. But it wasn’t until the release of his recent hit ‘Uptown Funk’ – alongside Bruno Mars – that the artist finally received the recognition he so utterly deserved.
“I think I just knew I had to make a really good record because, I guess, my last record came out and it did OK but then it went away. There was no way I could live up to my work with Amy [Winehouse] and Lily [Allen], and really, was there anyone who even gave a fuck? So I thought I just have to make the best thing I’ve ever made if I want to have a chance of doing anything.”
After six agonising months labouring over the song (at one point his hair started to fall out), Ronson delivered the single just days before it was set for release. “It’s far from perfect, there’s definitely things that even up to the last minute I still wanted to change but at some point you just have to let go. I don’t really like perfect music anyway. Some of my favourite records by Wu-Tang Clan or the White Stripes or the Beatles, there’s always these great, kind of fuck ups in it. I think it’s like cool to accept it.”
Perfect or not, ‘Uptown Funk’ has sold over 5 million copies, topped charts across the world and has managed to break a British record for being the most streamed song in a week: 2.5m times, testimony to his reputation as one of the most profile figures in pop.
“Even though I was obsessed with music as a kid I never thought that I would be making music. I probably had a fantasy and hoped I would be, but making music 20 years later and recording a song with Stevie Wonder, I think that I never would have believed that if I told my 16-year-old self.”
Mark Ronson’s fourth studio album Uptown Special is available now.