Mark Ronson Biography
While his debut album Here Comes the Fuzz failed to make an impact on the charts, his second album, Version, reached number two in the UK Album chart, and included three UK top 10 singles. This success won him a Brit Award for Best British Male Solo Artist in 2008. His third studio album, Record Collection, was released on 27 September 2010, peaking at number two in the UK.
In 2014, Ronson achieved his first UK and US number one single with "Uptown Funk", which featured vocals from Bruno Mars. In 2015 the song won Ronson the Brit Award for British Single of the Year. His fourth studio album, Uptown Special, was released in January 2015, and became his first UK number one album.
Ronson has also produced multi-platform, Grammy-winning albums for artists such as Amy Winehouse and Adele.
Ronson was born at the Wellington Hospital, St John's Wood, the son of Anne Dexter, a "social darling", and Laurence Ronson, a real estate mogul and music manager. His parents are both Ashkenazi Jews (his ancestors were Jewish immigrants from Austria, Russia, and Lithuania); Ronson was brought up in Masorti Judaism and had a Bar Mitzvah ceremony. Ronson's family name was originally Aaronson, but his grandfather Henry changed it to Ronson. Ronson is the nephew of property tycoon Gerald Ronson. Through his mother, he is related to British Conservative politicians Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Leon Brittan, as well as Odeon Cinemas founder Oscar Deutsch.
After his parents broke up, his mother married Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones, which contributed to a childhood surrounded by music. Ronson has twin sisters who are two years younger than he is, Charlotte Ronson, a fashion designer, and Samantha Ronson, a singer and DJ. Ronson also has five younger half-siblings. Alexander and Annabelle, through his mother's remarriage to Mick Jones as well as Henrietta, David, and Joshua, through his father's remarriage to model Michele First. Mark Ronson counted Sean Lennon, son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, amongst his childhood friends.
In 2002, he began dating Quincy Jones's daughter, actress-singer Rashida Jones. They became engaged in March 2003, with Ronson proposing by creating a crossword puzzle with the message "Will you marry me". Their relationship ended approximately one year later.
Ronson later became engaged to French actress and singer Joséphine de La Baume, who had previously appeared in the music video for "The Bike Song", in February 2011. They married in Aix-en-Provence, in the South of France, on 5 September 2011.
In 2009 he participated in PETA's "Please Don't Wear Any Fur" campaign. In 2009 Ronson was voted the most stylish man in the UK by GQ magazine. In 2015 he was named one of the magazine's 50 best dressed British men.
In 2011, a portrait of Ronson was painted by British artist Joe Simpson; the painting was exhibited around the UK, including a solo exhibition at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Ronson spends his time between London and New York. Since childhood, he has been a fan of English Premier League football club Chelsea F.C., and has also been a fan of the New York Knicks basketball team.
Ronson went to high school at the private Collegiate School in New York. Attending Vassar College and then New York University (NYU), Ronson became a regular at downtown hip hop spots and made his name as a DJ on the New York club scene in 1993, charging $50 per job which he could afford to do as he had a substantial private income and therefore did not need to work to earn a living.Though a novice with little experience, he became known for his diverse, genre-spanning selection. Influenced by funk, the hip hop scene of New York and the more rock influence of the UK (all of which he incorporated in his sets) he attracted a wider audience. He was soon one of the most respected DJs and was being called on for celebrities' private parties. In 1999, Ronson was featured in an ad wearing Tommy Hilfiger denim in the recording studio for an ad campaign for the company.
He moved on, however, to producing music after Nikka Costa's manager heard one of his gigs and introduced the musicians. He produced her song "Everybody Got Their Something", and soon Ronson signed a record contract with Elektra Records. He had produced tracks for Hilfiger ads, and in 2001 used the connection to have Costa's single "Like a Feather" used in an ad.
Ronson's first album, Here Comes the Fuzz, was released in 2003 and was critically acclaimed and a financial success, despite initially poor sales. On the album, he wrote the songs, made the beats and played guitar, keyboards, and bass. The album featured artists from diverse genres, including Mos Def, Jack White, Sean Paul, Nikka Costa, Nappy Roots and Rivers Cuomo. The best known song from the album, "Ooh Wee", samples "Sunny" by Boney M and features Nate Dogg, Ghostface Killah, Trife Da God, and Saigon. It was featured that year in the movie Honey and its soundtrack. The song was later used in the movies Hitch and Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. Two weeks after releasing Here Comes the Fuzz, Elektra Records dropped him. Ronson has since produced multiple songs on the albums of singers Lamya, Macy Gray,Christina Aguilera, Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen, and Robbie Williams.
In 2004, Ronson formed his own record label, Allido Records, a subsidiary of Sony BMG's J Records, along with his longtime manager Rich Kleiman. The first artist he signed to Allido was rapper Saigon, who later left to sign with Just Blaze's Fort Knox Entertainment. He has signed Rhymefest, most well known for winning the Grammy for co-writing Kanye West's "Jesus Walks".
Ronson released a cover of The Smiths' track "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" under the title "Stop Me" on 2 April 2007, featuring singer Daniel Merriweather, which reached number 2 in the UK singles charts, the biggest hit for Ronson until 2014's Uptown Funk. Ronson remixed the Bob Dylan song "Most Likely You'll Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)" in promotion for the three disc Bob Dylan set titled Dylan released October 2007. Ronson has also produced Candie Payne's "One More Chance (Ronson mix)" in 2007.
The album has been well received by critics. In May 2007 it was awarded the title Album of the Month by the British dance music magazine, Mixmag. On 23 June, the DJ made the cover of the Guardian newspaper's Guide magazine, alongside singer Lily Allen.
In June 2007, Ronson signed DC hip hop artist Wale to Allido Records. In late 2007, he focused on production, working with Daniel Merriweather on his debut album, and recording again with Amy Winehouse and Robbie Williams.
On 24 October 2007 Ronson performed a one-off set at The Roundhouse in Camden, London as part of the BBC Electric Proms 2007. The performance featured the BBC Concert Orchestra and included special guests Terry Hall, Sean Lennon, Tim Burgess, Alex Greenwald, Ricky Wilson, Charlie Waller, Adele and Kyle Falconer.
Ronson received a Grammy Award nomination in early December 2007 for 'Producer of the Year, Non Classical', along with Timbaland and Mike Elizondo. Ronson's work with Amy Winehouse also received substantial praise, gaining 6 nominations. Back to Black, an album mostly produced by Ronson was nominated for 'Album of the Year' and 'Best Pop Vocal Album'. "Rehab" received nods for 'Best Female Pop Vocal Performance', 'Song of the Year' and 'Record of the Year'. Ronson would go on to win three Grammys for 'Producer of the Year' as well as 'Best Pop Vocal Album' and 'Record of the Year' (which he shared with Amy Winehouse) in early February 2008.
Ronson is credited as producer on a mixtape album called Man in the Mirror, released in January 2008 by the rapper Rhymefest which is a tribute to the pop star Michael Jackson. The album features Rhymefest appearing to speak to Michael Jackson using archive audio from interviews with the pop star.
Later in January 2008, Ronson received three nominations for the Brit Awards, including 'Best Male Solo Artist', 'Best Album' (Version) and 'Song of the Year' ("Valerie"). Ronson won his first Brit for 'Best Male Solo Artist' in mid February 2008 over favourite Mika. He also performed a medley of "God Put a Smile upon Your Face" with Adele, "Stop Me" with Daniel Merriweather and "Valerie" with Amy Winehouse.
The performance allowed for a large boost in sales in the iTunes UK Top 100. "Valerie" would jump almost 30 spots in the days after the event, while "Just", "Stop Me" and "Oh My God" all appeared in the chart as well. That same week, Ronson appeared twice in the UK Top 40, with "Valerie" rebounding to number 13 and "Just" at number 31, his fourth Top 40 hit from "Version". The Brits performance also allowed for "Version" to climb 18 spots to number 4.
Around this time, Ronson received his first number one on an international chart (Dutch Top 40) for "Valerie", which has spent four consecutive weeks at the top of the chart. He collaborated with Kaiser Chiefs on their third album.
Ronson has toured the album "Version" vigorously through both the UK and Europe during 2008. Notable sold out performances at The Hammersmith Apollo and Brixton Academy. Ronson is known to champion new upcoming artists on the road with him, such as Sam Sparro and Julian Perretta. Ronson's string backing was provided by the all-female string quartet Demon Strings. In May 2008, Ronson played at the largest private party in the world, the Trinity Ball in Trinity College Dublin.
On 2 July 2008 in Paris, Mark Ronson performed live with Duran Duran for an invited audience. They played new arrangements by Ronson of some Duran Duran songs, along with tracks from the band's new album, Red Carpet Massacre. Ronson & the Version Players also performed songs from his album Version. Simon LeBon sang. As of March 2009 Ronson was working with the group on their 13th album. The Album, titled All You Need Is Now, was released digitally exclusively via Apple's iTunes on 21 December 2010, while the physical CD was released in March 2011 with additional tracks. In 2013-14 Ronson is once again in the studio producing Duran Duran's 14th album, making it the first time the band have worked with the same producer on consecutive albums since Colin Thurston produced their first two albums in the 1980s.
At the launch of his most recent Gucci pop-up store in London, Ronson confirmed the name of his new album Record Collection, and said that he hoped to have it out by September 2010. Additionally, Ronson announced the name of his new band, "The Business Intl.'", which is the alias adopted by Ronson on the third studio album. The first single "Bang Bang Bang". which featured rapper Q-Tip and singer MNDR was released on 12 July 2010, where it peaked at number 6 on the UK Singles Chart, giving Ronson his fourth Top 10 hit. The single also saw success on the Irish Singles Chart, where it peaked at number 18. The second single from the album, "The Bike Song", was 19 September 2010 and features Kyle Falconer from The View and Spank Rock. The album was released on 27 September 2010. This is the first of Ronson's albums that he has sung on.
In 2010, Ronson was given a vocal track to a song titled "Lovely Way", sung by Michael Jackson, to produce for Jackson's posthumous album Michael, although he never physically met Jackson. He submitted the track, but it did not make the track listing for Michael. Ronson said about the rumours surrounding the vocals on the track (due to the controversy surrounding the Cascio tracks on that same album), "It was definitely him singing. I was given a vocal track to work with but I never actually met Michael. [...] It's in the vein of Elton John's 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' and John Lennon's 'Imagine'."
He provided the score for the 2011 film Arthur. Ronson was one of the artists featured in the 2012 documentary Re:GENERATION Music Project. His song "A La Modeliste" features Mos Def, Erykah Badu, Trombone Shorty, members of The Dap-Kings, and Zigaboo Modeliste.
On 30 October 2014 Ronson announced through Twitter the release of the lead single of his upcoming album on 10 November 2014. The single, "Uptown Funk" features Bruno Mars vocals. On 22 November 2014, Ronson and Mars appeared as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live performing "Uptown Funk" and "Feel Right" (featuring Mystikal). "Uptown Funk" reached number one in the UK and US singles charts, and also became the all-time most streamed track in a single week in the UK, having been streamed a record 2.49 million times in a week. In February 2015 the song won Ronson the Brit Award for British Single of the Year.