Over the past few years, Anderson .Paak has established himself as one of the most fun-loving and widest-smiling R&B artists today, a quality that shines brightly through when he takes the stage and performs live. As a result, he’s found himself on TV a lot lately. Over the past few months, he was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, he performed and chatted on The Daily Show, and he did the same but with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. Now, he has brought his music to perhaps the most appropriate show of all: Ellen. Degeneres is a famously enthusiastic dancer, and that’s exactly what .Paak’s music makes folks wants to do.
That said, he performed “Make It Better,” one of the less upbeat songs on Ventura. That’s not a criticism by any means, as .Paak put on a real winner of a performance. For his Smokey Robinson collab, Paak was accompanied by The Free Nationals as well as a small string section and backing vocalists, so the soulful track came across as smooth as possible.
.Paak previously spoke about working with Robinson on the song, saying, “He’s still got it. He came through. He said, ‘You gotta make it nice, baby. You gotta say something sweet to her, baby. If you want her to fall in love, you gotta make love to her with your words, man.’ I was like, ‘Smokey, this is what I have.’ You know. My original was like, ‘It’s easier to run away than to eat what’s on your f*cking plate,’ and he was like, ‘No baby. What in the hell? No, no.’ And then he came back. He said, ‘Burn me a disc, one with the instrumental, one with the lyrics. I’m-a come back. I’m-a have it ready for you.’ Came back, ‘It’s easier to run away than to look at what would make you stay.'”
Watch .Paak perform “Make It Better” on Ellen above.
Ventura is out now via Aftermath Entertainment. Get it here.