by Sara Waber
Michael Blume is an exciting young artist to keep an eye out for in 2017. His music features socially conscious lyrics peppered over contemporary neo-soul, r&b, grooves which result in an entertaining and empowering listening experience. His 2016 debut EP, When I Get It Right, was critically celebrated and has advanced Michael’s young career to such heights as earning a slot on New York’s beloved Governors Ball festival this summer, a second headlining show at The Bowery Ballroom, and a support tour around America for the first time.
We got the chance to chat with Michael about the current political climate in America, his advice for fellow newcomers to the music scene, and what’s in-store for 2017.
Play Too Much: Happy New Year Michael! It seems like your year is starting off well – your second Bowery Ballroom show is tonight and we spotted your name on the highly anticipated Governors Ball lineup. Congrats! How does it feel to see your name among so many amazing artists?
Michael Blume: It’s very cool! Definitely a cool thing to “check off” in my head — I remember a couple years ago when I was getting started in NYC I would say to myself that having my name on one of those posters was a goal. It feels good to mark my accomplishments like that; it’s definitely a tangible thing that people know about and relate to.
PTM: What else are you looking forward to this year?
MB: I am going on tour next month with Busty and the Bass, this awesome Canadian band. We’ll be up and down the East Coast and also in the Midwest – a bunch of places I have never been! In addition to Gov Ball, there are some other exciting summer performances coming up that aren’t announced yet but I can’t wait to share those!
Besides the shows, I am working on new music!! I’m in the early stages now working with some amazing new folks, developing the songs, vibe, and sound for a full length album that will come out later this year… but we’ll have a single out sooner than that and I cannot wait to share it with everyone.
PTM: I was hoping you’d say new music is on its way 🙂 Obviously there’s a dark cloud hanging over our political and social climate at the moment. Do you think that’s affected you as a musician and an artist? How so?
MB: 100%. I am debuting some new songs at Bowery tonight and a few of them speak directly to the political climate. As artists, it’s our job to reflect the times and make observations about how the people feel, about what is going on. A lot of the new stuff I am working on is politically geared — I want to use my platform to advance and protect: Freedom, Justice, Truth, Free Press, Free Speech, A Woman’s Right to Choose, The Environment, Immigrant Rights, LGBTQ Rights, Black Lives Matter… these are the causes of our time and these are the causes that we need to speak out for. I want my work to help expand these topics… and we have an administration as well as a segment of the population that is against these issues. All that to say, yes, there is a lot of work to do.
PTM: Your music is vulnerable and filled with socially conscious lyrics. What advice would you give to a young (or more mature) artist who wants to embrace uncomfortable topics in their music?
MB: Hmm… for me, I just try to remind myself not to be precious. No one song is precious, no one topic is precious. Everyone is a mess, everyone is golden. Just go for it. Don’t be afraid to go too far, say too much, offend someone, stir controversy. And always be honest with yourself… and LOVE YOURSELF. You can’t love anyone else until you really love yourself and are cool with who you are (work in progress for me).
PTM: Lastly, what music have you been listening to lately? Any new artists you’ve uncovered recently you’d like to shout out?
MB: I’ve been listening to this Swedish artist named Tingsek a bunch lately. He’s already built a great following and actually produced Allen Stone’s most recent record… but he has his own artist project and it’s amazing. Soulful and delicate and beautiful.
Catch Michael Blume live tonight at The Bowery Ballroom.