Mark Ronson has made his return with the electro-Motown single “Uptown Funk,” and this week the infectious track made its way to the No. 10 spot on Billboard‘s Hot 100. Paired with Bruno Mars, who sings and plays drums on the track and co-directed the video, Ronson for sure has a solid gold radio hit on his hands.
We spoke to Ronson in his hotel room in New York City’s Gramercy Park about exactly how “Uptown Funk” was recorded, why uptown New York City is so influential for him and whether music has been good for wooing women.
Radio.com: The video for “Uptown Funk” is clearly a retro-spectacular view of Hollywood’s view of New York City. Why did you take that route?
Mark Ronson: There’s a lot of “uptowns” all across America. Obviously and famously in New York, but there’s also New Orleans, Oakland and Minneapolis. But Bruno [Mars] has family from the Bronx and I grew up on 90th and Riverside [the Upper West Side]. I guess that’s why we choose that uptown. It was the one that was in our heads when we were writing the song.
Do you think uptown in the city has seen a cultural resurgence in the last decade? It used to be very uncool to live on the upper anything and still a bit dangerous to live in Harlem or Spanish Harlem.
I’m not really sure. Where I grew up, there were parts of it that were nice and there were parts that we’re projects and you knew not to walk through them at night. I think that’s the charm of the Upper West Side. You get more of a mix of people than the Upper East Side. But I never thought of the Upper West Side as uptown, actually. I always thought of it as meaning Harlem and up. I know that over the past 20 years Harlem has become gentrified, for better or for worse, but I think that it’s more about the magical illusion that captures for music. Basically all the music that I love comes from jazz, blues and soul anyway, so of course there’s a strong relationship there to uptown and Harlem.