Mac Ayres, a 21-year-old New York native, is an upcoming R&B artist that has shaped his music from legends Stevie Wonder, D’Angelo, and J Dilla. His contemporary take on the elements seen in his inspirations’ work is reflected in his EP, Drive Slow, and album, Something to Feel.
Interestingly enough, Ayres originally wanted to create music similar to John Mayer upon entering Berklee College of Music. After being exposed to multiple genres of music, Ayres strayed away from his original desire to produce Blues-Rock music and gravitated towards soul and R&B. Because of this shift, Ayres dropped out of Berklee to discover his own musical identity.
Ayres first gained recognition on his debut single “Easy,” with the help of Joe Jonas providing a platform for the song on his social media. “Easy” garnered the attention of Fête Records, and with this label, Ayres was able to produce the nine track EP, Drive Slow. The recurring car themes of Drive Slow is a “metaphor for life” according to Ayres. This collection is based on Ayres’ thoughts about how “too many people are rushing through life, and it’s important to remember to appreciate where you’re at in any stage of it.”
Tracks such as “Easy,” “The Devil’s in the Details,” and “Calvin’s Joint” are odes to young love that are composed of Ayres’ modulated vocals and his use of live instruments. The intimate, jazzy ambience that Ayres generates in these songs are consistent throughout his discography.
In his album Something to Feel, which was released under the record label ARIMÉ, Ayres implements a more sophisticated undertone in “Get to You Again,” “This Bag,” and “Pickled Ginger.” The acoustic guitar-based instrumentals used in these tracks provide the listener with a certain kind of rawness as Ayres smoothly riffs through lyrics of love, loss, and introspection. In the slower songs of this record such as “Stay,” “Under,” and “Roses,” Ayres employs his vocal range by singing in a piercing falsetto in the choruses.
Mac Ayres’ journey to find his musical niche has been noteworthy. His position as a singer, songwriter, and producer shows how versatile and immersed he is in his music. It is clear that Ayres’ talent is a response to the old school R&B oeuvre of the artists before him.
(Mac Ayres quote was cited from his interview with Adrienne Black: https://pigeonsandplanes.com/discover/2017/08/mac-ayres-drive-slow-ep-discover)
— Patricia Damocles, Asst. Poetry Editor; Asst. Layout Editor; Communications & Media Editor