On top of rich melodies infused with elements of R&B and avant-garde electronic beats, Michael Blume sings the truth, whether it be personal or universal. The New Jersey native and Yale alumni has an aesthetic style in which supersedes traditional trends. He showcases the importance of being veracious and ties his passions as an activist together with his artistry, soul-baring and extraordinary. Last weekend, we sat down with the rising singer-songwriter at Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Delaware to discuss his debut full length album and spur behind creating music with such a cognitive effect.
CelebMix: Prior to your solo endeavors, you toured the world with your college a cappella group. How did your travels and residing in Brazil impact the music you would ultimately go on to sing?
Michael Blume: You know what’s funny? People always ask me that. My music is really not that inspired by Latin music, it’s more inspired by American music. Living in Brazil and the experience of being there and learning about other people and living in a place where I was a stranger and working in a community where I was totally the outlier. I was the one with an accent, the one who talked funny, that dressed funny. I think that experience really informed my work and my perception of what it means to be an other and what it means to relate to a community and unite identities. But the music itself, I mean I love Latin music, I love samba, but I can’t say my music is directly influenced by that.
CM: Anywhere in particular you haven’t been in which you hope to one day take the stage?
MB: Well actually, because I lived in Brazil- I lived there by myself prior to becoming Michael Blume the artist. I was studying music and teaching there, so I really, really want to bring my band back there and share the music that I have been working on with the community. I ran a choir in a favela, which is essentially a low income community that is kind of marginalized. There’s a whole history and complicated politic around favelas, but I would love to bring my band back to those families and kids I worked with. I’m also looking forward to touring Europe, because I really think Europe is going to fuck with what I’m doing, so I can’t wait.
CM: How would you best describe your creative process?
MB: I would say the best description of the process is spontaneous and unexpected, you know? I think inspiration comes anywhere. Sometimes there’s moments where it’s like okay, let me sit down and write. Which, I will do. Sometimes those are the moments though I come up with absolutely nothing. And then, the moments where I’m just on a train, thinking, suddenly I have a whole song and idea. Lately, I’ve been really into first instincts opposed to spending twenty minutes on one thing before making my way to the next. Once something feels dope, you know, if we’re in the studio working on the drums and we put down a kick drum pattern and it feels good, that’s it. Next. Moving on.
CM: So basically, you want to avoid second guessing yourself.
MB: Exactly, thank you for saying that. I’m trying not to second guess because I think like that’s kind of what allows artists to be: A) prolific and B) just really grow. Just okay, make a decision. Sure some aren’t going to be as good as the other ones. One of the questions I’m always asked in the studio is how do I feel? Not “Hey, what do you think about this drum pattern or this lyric?” When I send the stuff over to friends and family, I want to know how what I’m creating makes them feel. That’s what I’m most interested in.
CM: You received a great deal of acclaim from your debut EP, which was also really your first musical offering. Did you feel any pressure following that success?
MB: Good question. Yes, I did. The last year and a half has been kind of crazy for me because the whole thing has gone from this little operation of me kind of putting together my band, rehearsing and playing shows for like, ten people, to a full team. I have managers, an agent, a publicist. I’m playing festivals. I have a record label and they’re expecting me to put out something great. There’s expectations. There’s people who go to work and their job is to handle my shit and it’s crazy. So, I have been working on trying to balance the fact I want to keep everybody happy, motivated and inspired, while also feeling true and committed to what I’m doing and feeling like I can put my name behind this and feel fully artistically creative.
CM: How is your full length album coming along? Any ideas when the LP is expected to drop?
MB: It’s coming along really well. I’m pretty close actually. We have a lot of records. We have too many records, so we’re going to have to cut some and choose which ones will make the album. We’re putting out the first single this summer. Soon. I don’t want to give a date just yet, but hopefully July, next month. The plan is pending how the single does and the next single does, then we’ll make a release plan in response to that. But, it’ll be done and ready to go so we can play as strategically best as we want to.
CM: What else does the remainder of 2017 have in store for you besides the release of new music?
MB: I’m going to be playing Lollapalooza in August. We’re actually going to do a couple of shows in New York soon to promote the debut single and then the goal is to be on tour later on this year. I did some touring over the last six months for the EP, then I was kind of back in studio mode so once the new song drops, I hope to be back on the road. That would be awesome.
CM: For those who have yet to discover Michael Blume, how would you best describe your vision as an artist?
MB: I think the core message of what I’m doing is that there’s just no time to give fucks. You only live once. Just do what you want to do and be nice to people. Understand that they’re also doing what they want to do and it might not be what you want to do and it’s okay if you want to do it like that and I want to do it like this. We can still be friends. We can still love each other. We don’t have to get in a fight about it. I don’t have to make you do it like I’m doing it and you don’t have to make me do it like you’re doing it. Everyone can just live their God damn lives and chill the fuck out. Be yourself. Respect everyone and support everyone who is doing what they want to do.
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