“Uptown Funk”, “Shallow”, “Valerie”, “Joanne,” “Late Night Feelings,” and the list goes on. Producer, songwriter, musician and singer, Mark Ronson has contributed to some of the biggest songs and records of modern times. In How to be Mark Ronson, fans are given a taste of the man behind the music and learn that this subject is a culture obsessive whose passion is infectious.
This film, a rockumentary, is directed by Carl Hindmarch (Pump up the Volume). It tells the story of Ronson’s childhood growing up with his entrepreneur father and writer mother. The former introduced him to music through a collection of vinyl records. This passion for sound continued after Ronson’s parents split-up and his mother got remarried to Foreigner’s Mick Jones. The latter is interviewed here. He took his step-son under his wing and showed Ronson the ins and outs of studio time. The rest – they say – is history.
This documentary sees some of Ronson’s collaborators get together to wax lyrical about their affection for the subject. They’re a diverse lot too, including: Boy George, Lady Gaga, Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and Bradley Cooper. Sean Lennon also features because he is one of Ronson’s friends.
At times the proceedings get quite close to hagiography territory. But one could argue that Ronson is a modern-day genius who is fitting of this praise. Ronson after all, has an uncanny ability to fuse classic and retro sounds with a modern sensibility. This artist and DJ is a king of the killer hook.
Ronson himself features in a lot of this film. But he isn’t always the most self-aware interviewee. In fact by his own admission, he says he doesn’t always know what his lyrics are about. His latest record, Late Night Feelings was certainly a more introspective one, which was made in the aftermath of his divorce. It is obvious that Ronson is most in his element when he is writing and producing music. His natural home is the studio and that is where he seems the most comfortable.
How to be Mark Ronson is a film that gives an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at Messer Mark Ronson. During this, he says that he is drawn to emotionally fraught and complex artists. This documentary proves that Ronson is equally complicated and one compelling subject. This film provides an illuminating look at this award-winning artist’s life, career and influences. Play it loud.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
How to be Mark Ronson is out now through YouTube Originals. To view this, head HERE.