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Danger Mouse is a Grammy Award-winning producer known as part of the duo Gnarls Barkley and for his collaborations with artists like Beck, Jack White and Norah Jones.
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Born on July 29, 1977, in White Plains, New York, producer Danger Mouse recorded as Pelican City before creating great online buzz with his bootleg release, The Grey Album. He later teamed with Cee Lo Green to form the Grammy-winning duo Gnarls Barkley, which had a major hit with "Crazy." Mouse has collaborated with many other artists, including Beck, Daniele Luppi, Norah Jones,
"I can create different kinds of musical worlds, but the artist needs the desire to go into that world. I won't fight with people to try and make the sounds I hear inside my head. What I want is for the leader of a group to come to me, and then I lead that person."
"Woody Allen was an auteur: He did his thing, and that particular thing was completely his own. That's what I decided to do with music. I want to create a director's role within music."
"I definitely knew that [The Grey Album] was illegal, but I never thought it would be big enough for anybody to really care."
"I did not make The Grey Album for music fans. I made it to impress people who were really into sampling."
Jack White and U2.
Producer Danger Mouse was born Brian Joseph Burton on July 29, 1977, in White Plains, New York. He lived in Spring Valley before moving to a suburb of Atlanta during his early teens, where he developed a passion for hip-hop. He later entered a bar in the mid-1990s and heard Pink Floyd, becoming enraptured by the band’s sound. Other musical influences included Portishead and Nirvana.
As a college student, Burton worked under the name Pelican City, releasing electronica-based albums. He opted to move to London for a time and connected with a British-based company who signed him to the hip-hop imprint, Lex. Burton also took on the moniker Danger Mouse, the name of a famous cartoon, and in 2003 released the album Ghetto Pop Life with rapper Jemini.
Before the close of the year, Mouse's Grey Album was also leaked onto the Web. The popular bootleg collection—a collage of songs that fused the Beatles' White Album and Jay-Z's Black Album, and which was originally called The Black-White Album by Mouse—created rampant buzz about Mouse's mixing abilities and inspired a cease-and-desist order from Beatles' label EMI. Mouse then worked with the animated Damon Albarn band Gorillaz on the release Demon Days and rapper MF Doom on the album Danger Doom, both from 2005, with the latter featuring characters from Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.
The following year saw Mouse teaming up with rapper and singer Cee Lo Green as the duo Gnarls Barkley on the debut album St. Elsewhere, with Mouse handling production work and Cee Lo handling vocals and lyrics. The two had a massive hit both in the U.S. and abroad with lead single "Crazy," which won a Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative Performance (St. Elsewhere won for Best Alternative Music Album). Barkley followed up with another album, The Odd Couple, in 2008. The same year Mouse handled production on Beck's release, Modern Guilt.
In 2010, Mouse teamed with James Mercer, front man for The Shins, as the duo Broken Bells on the album of the same name. Later that same year saw the release of Dark Night of the Soul, a multimedia project featuring songs from Mouse and Mark Linkous with photos from director David Lynch. In 2011, Mouse and composer Daniele Luppi released Rome, a concept album of sorts based on the music of spaghetti westerns, with the lush productions featuring contributions from Norah Jones and Jack White.
Mouse has earned more Grammys, winning the prize for 2010 Producer of the Year, Non-Classical as well as awards for his work with the band The Black Keys. He did more production work with Jones as seen on her 2012 album Little Broken Hearts, in addition to shaping the sound of duo Electric Guest on Mondo, released the same year. Mouse has also been handling mixing for U2's forthcoming 2013 album.
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