Today’s Feature – August 27-28: Mikal Blue

August 29, 2008 at 1:49 pm (Today's Feature)

Mikal Blue With the release of his latest album, “Gold,” British music man Mikal Blue can finally say, “This is it. This is what I’ve been looking for.” The collection of songs about alienation, love and redemption is exactly what Mikal Blue needed to define himself as an artist completely. Do not for one second doubt the musical and artistic chops of Blue however – a student for 11 years at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic, starting at the age of seven. Studying everything he could from classical composition to acting and voice production, a 14 year old Blue also memorized just about every lyric, chord, melody and harmony within the Beatle’s collection. Not too bad, eh?

It has still been quite the quest to get to “Gold” for Mikal, playing the club circuit since 16 years of age, playing as the resident band at the infamous China Club, and helping create bands such as Opium, 15Mg and My Enemy Death. There’s been a variety of record deals along the way, but nothing that Blue could use to really cement his spot in the spotlight. We’re lucky that his talent led to the founding of “Revolver Recordings,” his own studio where he’s worked with artists such as Five For Fighting, Augustana, OneRepublic, The Offspring, Gary Jules, Carrie Underwood, Brendan James, Angel Taylor, Kevin Hammond, Hope and Colbie Caillat.

And now he’s gotten around to this record – and “Gold” was done just the way Blue wanted. He says “It was recorded with vintage equipment and production techniques borrowed from my classic rock idols” – and you can hear it in every note. Grab the album and check to see if there is a show near you. The guy has worked with some of the best in the business; he knows how to put on a show. Get into the XXQ’s for a lot more.

XXQs: Mikal Blue

PensEyeView.com (PEV): At seven years of age, you began attending the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts for eleven years, studying everything from classical composition to prose and Shakespearian acting, and even voice production. Obviously the arts was a passion of yours but when did becoming a singer/songwriter take front and center as your path?

Mikal Blue (MB): Being a student at Lamda enabled me to be on stage in front of a large audience at a very young age so when I did front my first band at sixteen I was already quite confident performing.

PEV: Was there a certain point when you realized that music was going to become more than just a hobby?

MB: At seventeen, my band started getting paid to perform in the working men’s clubs in the north east of England and from then on music has always been a way of supporting myself financially.

PEV: Born and growing up in the United Kingdom, what kind of music were you listening to growing up? Was there one artist in particular that shaped your sound more so than any other?

MB: The Beatles.

PEV: Tell us about your take on breaking into the music business. What was it like for you to hop on stage for the first time?

MB: It’s been a long journey breaking into the music business. Three record deals that didn’t pan out for various reasons and the difficult task of establishing myself as a major label producer have kept things interesting. But I’ve loved every challenge. I loved performing on stage for the first time. Singing, writing songs and playing guitar at seventeen was all I could think about.

PEV: You built your own recording studio, Revolver Recordings and started producing other artists. Is there a weird transition from going to the “other side” of the booth? Do you find that you are harder on yourself since you have experience in both areas?

MB: Loving and learning songs by the beatles from an early age gave me a good understanding of song writing and production so it was always something I was interested in. There wasn’t much of a transition turning to production over performing. I had a primitive multi-track recorder at sixteen so I was always recording myself and friends’ bands.

PEV: When you made the jump into becoming a singer/songwriter was there any apprehension about not leaving but taking an absence from the producer role?

MB: I try and keep the balance between performing and producing because they are both beneficial to each other.

PEV: In all your travels, which city do you think offers the best scene for music? Do you have a favorite one as well?

MB: I’d probably have to say Los Angeles because that’s what I know best, but most of my favorite artists are from the northwest of England, Liverpool and Manchester.

PEV: How has “life on the road” been for you? Good parts? Bad parts?

MB: life on the road was a big part of my life from twenty to twentyseven and I don’t regret one crazy second of it.

PEV: Is there an up and coming artist out right now that you think we should all be looking into?

MB: Angel Taylor, an artist I developed and produced after helping her secure a deal with Aware/Columbia.

PEV: What can fans expect from your latest release, “Gold”?

MB: Eleven heartfelt, well crafted songs that you can’t get out of your head.

PEV: How is “Gold” different than other music out today?

MB: It was recorded with vintage equipment and production techniques borrowed from the my classic rock idols so hopefully it sounds different form most records out today.

PEV: What is one thing we’d be surprised to hear about you?

MB: I live in L.A. but hate sunshine!

PEV: When you sit down to write, what kind of environment do you surround yourself in?

MB: I love writing in my studio but it can happen anywhere. From time to time I’ll get a melody stuck in my head and have to get to an instrument to complete the idea, whatever the location.

PEV: Ten years from now, where will Mikal Blue be?

MB: Still doing what I love hopefully.

PEV: When you are not touring or performing, what can we find you doing in your spare time?

MB: Being with my two beautiful children, Jordan seven and his sister, Zoe four.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Mikal Blue performance?

MB: I’m lucky, being a producer, I have great session musicians in my band. My shows are two hours long and I have the artists I produce play before and after me to make it a very entertaining show.

PEV: Before a show, are there any pre-show rituals you do or is just go out there and perform?

MB: I just try and be well rested. That’s the key for me.

PEV: Any embarrassing or funny live performance stories?

MB: I once stage dived but took my guitar and mic stand with me. Not pretty.

PEV: In one word, describe Mikal Blue.

MB: Busy.

PEV: So, what is next for you?

MB: More of the same!

For more information on Mikal Blue, check out www.MikalBlue.com

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