The video hasn’t yet amassed 500,000 views on YouTube, and there’s a good chance it won’t be hitting 1 million soon.
But that doesn’t speak to the quality.
My friend Katie suggested Har Mar to me when I told her that Otis Redding was my favorite artist. I have a soft spot for Soul and Motown.
When I first heard it, she’d warned me that it was modern music, so I was prepared for a hip guy with black rimmed glasses.
What I saw when I loaded the video for “Lady, You Shot Me,” threw me off completely. Har Mar (Sean Tillman) is a balding white guy in his thirties that looks like a mix of Paul Simon and Ron Jeremy. He takes his shirt off during shows and swears it’s out of convenience instead of bravado.
But I promise that despite the initial shock and eccentricities, he’s totally worth it.
The vocals are compressed, and the horn section and keyboard punctuates his shouts. His 5th studio album, Bye Bye 17 is more soul, and less electronic than his previous albums. It’s more James Brown than R. Kelly, and I’m grateful for that. (Don’t get me wrong, I really like “DUI,” but Har Mar’s early stuff was a bit too much for me.)
He receives critical acclaim, but his following is still considered cult status. He’s toured with The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Red Hot Chili Peppers and has written for J.Lo, and had his song “Tall Boy” rejected by Britney Spears. Tillman has made cameos in movies like Whip It!, and regularly has models and actresses in his videos (Kate Moss, Eva Mendes and Juliette Lewis, to name a few).
Despite his rubbing elbows with the celebrity scene, his talent is true. He isn’t Paris Hilton buying her way into DJ-ing. He’s truly got a talent for creating music with hooks and great melodies – and he knows it. His Har Mar alter ego as a super-sexualized, overly-confident chubster meshes perfectly with his R&B/Soul aesthetic. Bye Bye 17 is a congruous Soul album that leads the listener through the ups and downs of Har Mar’s personality and relationships. It’s fun to listen to as a piece of kitsch, or just because you’re super sexy and need a backdrop to your smokin’ hot bod. Har Mar would understand.