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Mark Ronson

British musician, DJ, singer, songwriter, and record producer. Mark Daniel Ronson was born 4 September 1975 at the Wellington Hospital, St John’s Wood, London, to Jewish parents, Laurence Ronson, a real-estate speculator and music manager, and Ann Dexter. His ancestors emigrated from Austria, Lithuania and Russia. Ronson was brought up in Masorti Judaism and had a Bar Mitzvah ceremony. The Ronson family had been one of Britain’s wealthiest families in the 1980s; however, “the Ronson family lost $1 billion of its own money in the property crash of the early 1990’s. The family name was originally “Aaronson”, and was shortened by Mark’s grandfather Henry. He is the nephew of businessman Gerald Ronson & his mother, he is also related to British Conservative politicians Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Leon Lord Brittan, as well as Odeon Cinemas founder Oscar Deutsch. He is not related to the late English guitarist Mick Ronson, who coincidentally fathered a son named Mark in 1975.

After his parents divorced, his mother married Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones, which contributed to a childhood surrounded by music. Ronson has twin sisters who are two years younger: Charlotte Ronson, a fashion designer; and Samantha Ronson, a singer and DJ. He has five younger half-siblings: Alexander and Annabelle, from his mother’s marriage to Mick Jones; and Henrietta, David, and Joshua, from his father’s marriage to model Michele First. In 1983 Ronson, along with his mother, step-father and twin sisters, moved to the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City & attended high school at the private Collegiate School in Manhattan before attending Vassar College and then New York University (NYU).

While attending 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. He soon 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 a popular and sought after DJ in New York City, frequently booked for high-profile events and 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.

Mark made the leap from DJ to producer after Nikka Costa’s manager heard one of his sets and introduced the musicians. Ronson produced Costa’s song “Everybody Got Their Something,” and Ronson soon signed a record contract with Elektra Records. He had already produced tracks for Hilfiger ads and, in 2001, used the connection to have Costa’s single “Like a Feather” used in an advertisement.

Ronson’s debut album, Here Comes the Fuzz, was released in 2003 and Ronson wrote the songs on the album, created the beats, played guitar, keyboards, and bass. The album featured performances from 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. 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 has also produced multiple songs on the albums of singers Lamya, Macy Gray, Christina Aguilera, Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen, and Robbie Williams.

In 2007, Ronson released a cover of The Smiths’ track “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” under the title “Stop Me”, featuring singer Daniel Merriweather. Ronson also remixed the Bob Dylan song “Most Likely You Go Your Way And I’ll Go Mine” in promotion for the three disc Bob Dylan set titled Dylan and produced Candie Payne’s “One More Chance (Ronson mix)”. Ronson’s album Version was also awarded the title Album of the Month by the British dance music magazine, Mixmag and he appeared on the cover of the Guardian newspaper’s Guide magazine, alongside singer Lily Allen. Ronson signed DC hip hop artist Wale to Allido Records and collaborated with Daniel Merriweather on his debut album, and recording again with Amy Winehouse and Robbie Williams. Ronson also performed a one-off set at The Roundhouse in Camden, London as part of the BBC Electric Proms 2007 which 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

2007, Ronson received his first Grammy Award nomination, for ‘Producer of the Year, Non Classical’. Ronson’s work with Amy Winehouse also received substantial accolades, gaining 6 nominations. Winehouse’s “Back to Black” album, mostly produced by Ronson, was nominated for ‘Album of the Year’ and ‘Best Pop Vocal Album’. Her song “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: ‘Producer of the Year’ as well as ‘Best Pop Vocal Album’ and ‘Record of the Year’ (the latter two of 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. The same month 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. Following This performance “Valerie” “Just”, “Stop Me”, “Oh My God” and the album “Version” all became popular again. He collaborated with Kaiser Chiefs on their third album. During 2008 Ronson toured Europe Including 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 And the all-female string quartet Demon Strings.

In 2008, Ronson played at the largest private party in the world, the Trinity Ball in Trinity College Dublin and also performed live with Duran Duran in Pariperforming new arrangements by Ronson of some Duran Duran songs, and tracks from the band’s new album, Red Carpet Massacre. Ronson & the Version Players also performed songs from his album Version. Simon LeBon sang. Ronson collaborated with the group on their 13th and 14 albums All You Need Is Now and Paper Gods. In 2010, Ronson revealed new album Record Collection, and a new band, “The Business Intl.’ The first single “Bang Bang Bang” features rapper Q-Tip and singer MNDR and The second single from the album, “The Bike Song”, features Kyle Falconer from The View and Spank Rock. 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.

In 2014, Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars appeared on Saturday Night Live performing “Uptown Funk” which became massively popular. His next single “Feel Right” (featured Mystikal). Then In 2015, Ronson starred in the documentary film Amy about his late friend Amy Winehouse discussing his career and relationship with Winehouse. Which features footage of Ronson during the recording session of the single “Back to Black” & Winehouse’s funeral in London in July 2011. Ronson became a patron of the Amy Winehouse Foundation. In 2016, Ronson was nominated for two Brit Awards; Best British Male Solo Artist, and British Producer of the Year, at the 2016 Brit Awards. Ronson also won two awards for “Uptown Funk”, including Record Of The Year At the 2016 Grammy Awards. Ronson also executive produced Lady Gaga’s fifth album Joanne and produced the Queens of the Stone Age’s 2017 album Villains and is currently working with Miley Cyrus on her upcoming 7th studio album.

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