Extremely happy old-school soul-singer and inveterate festival-wrecker Anderson .Paak just released the new album Ventura, his first in a few months. That means that Anderson .Paak has been in full-on charm-offensive media-blitz mode for about the past six months. You would think he would be exhausted! He is not! Instead, he staged his latest bit of awareness-raising on today’s episode of Ellen, where he sang his silky throwback-R&B ballad “Make It Better.”
The legend Smokey Robinson appears on the studio version of “Make It Better,” and Robinson was sadly not in on hand for this performance. Instead, .Paak played with the Free Nationals, his backing band. And at least for this performance, that included a string quartet and a trio of backup singers. And while .Paak love to jump behind the drums during his TV performances, he didn’t do it this time. Instead, he stood out in front, smiled hard, and wore some extremely sparkly sunglasses.
Lately, Ellen has been hosting a slightly improbable run of great musical performances. This wasn’t really one of them, but it was perfectly solid. And in some ways, .Paak is the perfect Ellen musical guest: Just a tiny bit left-of-center but always welcoming and generally fitting with the show’s whole unfettered-glee vibe. .Paak kept ingratiating himself even after he was done singing, presenting Elle DeGeneres with a big box of merch and tying a du-rag on her head. Also, Ellen sent her whole audience to see .Paak live in LA, which is nice. Watch it all below.
Ventura is out now on Aftermath.