Artist Spotlight: Mark Ronson

By Jeff Rhodes

Mark Ronson is currently one of the biggest producers in the music industry. With his new album Uptown Special in stores, and the success of the album’s leading single “Uptown Funk”, Ronson is sitting on top right now. Ronson has always had a knack for making music, even when he was little. His stepfather was Mick Jones of the band Foreigner, so Ronson was surrounded by music in his early childhood. In his childhood he played guitar and drums a lot, but it wasn’t until he moved from London to New York City, that he switched his musical focus from guitar and drums to a turntable.

     He started Djing professionally in 1993 at local clubs in New York City. His unique sound got him quickly noticed by nightclub owners, and he was in high demand as a DJ.  Celebrities wanted him to spin at their parties, because he had made a name for himself in New York. Ronson had even caught the attention of big shot hip-hop producer Sean (Diddy) Combs or Puff Daddy as he was known back then. In 1998 Ronson was the DJ for Diddy’s 29th birthday celebration. In 2003 Ronson released his first album Here Comes the Fuzz. The album featured Sean Paul, Mos Def, Jack White, and Nate Dogg. He also got engaged to Quincy Jones’s daughter, Rashida Jones, famous for her role in NBC’s Parks and Recreation. Sadly both did not turn out well. Although his album was a critical success, the record sales were not as successful, and Ronson and Jones split up a year after the engagement.
In 2004 he formed his record company Allido Records, a subsidiary of Sony BMG’s J Records. The first artist signed was Rhymefest. Rhymefest won a Grammy for co-writing “Jesus Walks” by Kanye West. Over the years Ronson spent time with various British and American artists. The next big milestone in his career would come in 2007, when he released his second album Version. The album produced the song “Stop Me” featuring Daniel Merriweather. It was the biggest hit for Ronson at that point, when it reached number 2 on the UK singles chart. 2007 also brought Grammy nominations for Ronson. Working on Amy Winehouse’s 2006 album Back to Black, Ronson received 6 Grammy nominations including Producer of the Year. He won 3 of the 6 nominations, he took home Grammys for “Best Pop Vocal Album”, “Record of the Year” from Rehab, and beat out Timbaland for “Producer of the Year”.
        The following year in 2008, Ronson won his very first Brit Award for “Best Male Solo Artist”. He also received his first international number one hit with “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse. Since then he has put out EP’s and kept on producing music for artist. He has been back in headlines with “Uptown Funk”. It is his first international hit since 2008. Co-written with Bruno Mars, the song has already been nominated for a Brit Award for “British Single of the Year”. “Uptown Funk” is currently number one the Billboard Top 100 Singles and his new album “Uptown Special” is currently number seven on the Billboard Top 200 Albums.