Mark Ronson doesn’t dance. So it’s kind of spectacular that his video for “Uptown Funk,” featuring Bruno Mars, is something of a dance phenomenon — everyone from Kate Hudson and Cara Delevingne to an entire bridal party has put their spin on it since it came out in November. Now, the video is nominated for a slew of Moonmen at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, including Video of the Year.
Calling from Australia at midnight to talk about the nominations, Ronson assured me that he had nothing to do with the dancing. While Mars did his own choreography in the Cameron Duddy-directed video, you can see Ronson bobbing to the beat with his shades on like a mysterious cool cat.
“I thought, ’Maybe they’ll show me this one great move that’ll unlock the secret — that even an idiot like me could do,’” Ronson explained. “I said, ’Bruno, did you figure out the secret move for me?’ ’Yeah, why don’t you just stand there and nod your head back and forth?’”
So that’s what he did. Meanwhile, Bruno’s moves went viral (“Uptown Funk” is now the 13th most viewed video on YouTube with over 879 million clicks) — something that Mars suspected would happen all along.
“I remember he called me in the middle of the night one time in London and he said, ’I’ve got this idea.’ He’s like, ’I’ve got this dance that I’m working on. All of America’s going to be doing this dance in like, three months,’” Ronson recalled. “What sounded like a pretty ambitious statement pretty much came true in about two or three weeks.”
The song itself came out of a jam session — Bruno on drums, Mark on bass and fellow producer Jeff Bhasker on keys. They didn’t set out to write the catchiest song of all time, he said, but their individual needs for perfection helped. “For an idea to make it past all three of us, it has to be something that we all agree on, it has to be pretty strong,” Ronson said.
His favorite scene of the video shows himself and Mars at a salon, sitting under dryers with rollers in the hair, all the while kickin’ it to their song. Also, “I’m a big fan of all of Jeff Bhasker’s close-ups,” he added. I’ve screenshot one for you:
The video for the song is up for Video of the Year, Best Male Video, Best Pop Video, Best Collaboration and Best Direction. Some of Ronson’s best-known work was for other artists — everyone from Adele to Amy Winehouse to ODB to Lana Del Rey — but for these nominations, they’re under his name. This is the first time Ronson has reached #1 in the U.S. for his own song, and it’s the first time he’s been nominated for a VMA as a solo artist.
“Most of this year has been completely filled with things that I never thought would happen to me,” Ronson said. “Starting off with performing on ’SNL’ and going to #1 and all these other things, it’s been a series of incredible things.”
And as for how he’s going to roll onto the VMA red carpet come August 30, I suggest he busts out Bruno’s dance moves.
“And the rollers.”
The 2015 MTV Video Music Awards will air live from L.A.’s Microsoft Theater on MTV and MUCH at 9e/6p, on Sunday, August 30.