Posted On 29 Aug 2018
“Whether it’s leaving a job or a boyfriend or a girlfriend or quitting drugs, this song speaks to anyone who needs the encouragement. There was a period in my life when I completely lost myself on the antidepressant lexapro. I was in a grey haze for months but one day I decided to just drop it and things really started to turn around in my life. For me it was a drug, but for someone else it might be a job or a girlfriend, we probably all have something we are better without. I hope this song gives a little inspiration to anyone who needs it.” — Mikey Mike
With creative influences ranging from Kurt Cobain, Stevie Nicks, and Kanye West, to The Dude, Yogananda, Edward Scissorhands, and Alan Watts, Mikey Mike only draws inspiration from revolutionaries. He broke into the music industry by revolutionary means when he successfully impersonated popular porn star Lacey Duvalle via email in order to get his demos heard. That led Mikey to become a professional pop songwriter and underground legend in the music business; when he won a Grammy for “Jump” off Rihanna’s 2012 Unapologetic album, he became perhaps the first to ever win the prestigious award purely by cat-fishing.
The legend of Lacey Duvalle eventually made its way to producer Rick Rubin, who resonated with the stripped-down authenticity in Mikey’s music and produced his debut single “Doin’ Me.” The raw emotion captured in the song was perfect for sync, namely by Canon for a commercial and the ending scene of SMILF first season. The release of “Doin Me” also marked the beginning of the Mikey Mike’s Life on Earth album roll-out, a series of singles which will make up a complete album only upon Mikey’s death. While promoting this record, which finally has a first installation due out October 9th, Mikey’s been inviting fans to connect with him via a series of billboards bearing a working phone number. Fans who find Mikey and go get a drink with him, which he’s done with literally hundreds of people over the last three years, typically wind up with some sage words of wisdom, some blurry photos, and a story they’re going to want to tell their grandchildren. Everyone that connects with Mikey’s message is invited to find him and start a conversation because that phone number from the billboard campaign is still working (323.457.8794) and he’ll be doing impromptu meet and greets all summer long in LA and on his upcoming fall tour; Mikey will bring the whiskey.
Along with the album Mikey Mike’s Life on Earth, a scripted television series by the same name is also in the works. Written by and starring Mikey, the show chronicles his karmic journey through music and life, with a different episode arc around each song release. Find Mikey on tour this fall.
Connect With Mikey Mike Here: Website
Learn more about Mikey Mike in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you now? What’s on tap for the rest of your day?
I just got home from a meeting at the Darkroom on Melrose, my manager and my go-to meeting spot. I’m about to go get some BBQ tacos from my man Juan on the corner of Santa Monica and Vine. That’s as far into the future as I can see.
All Access Music is currently compiling a list of our artists favorite songs this summer so what is YOUR song of the summer?
I would go with “wandered away” by Anna Leone or “God bless the internet” by Saint Jhn. Very different ends of the spectrum but love them both a lot.
Overall, how do you think 2018 has been treating you and your music career? What has been one goal that you have had this year and how close are you to reaching it?
It’s hard to tell sometimes. I think with this career it can feel a lot of times like your swimming upstream but I try to just surrender to whatever life brings and not fight it. I trust the right things will unfold when the time is right and try to focus on the good stuff. We got some spins on KROQ and Alt Nation recently so I’m pumped I finally made it on the radio! My goal is more of that.
Growing up, was music always a big part of your life? Can you recall your first ever musical experience?
Yes it was always very important. I think my first vivid memories were my mom playing Madonna and Paula Abdul in the car over and over. It was a gift because it helped ingrain in me the power of a great hook. I still love a lot of those songs. After that the biggest experience was getting a guitar in 6th grade and learning every Nirvana song there was, starting with “Come as you are.”
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? Has there been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
The biggest and best surprise is hearing people say that a song of yours saved their life or altered it in a big way. It’s really heavy. I know that was a reality for really big artists but I didn’t expect to have that impact with the first single Doin’ Me. That makes it all worth it.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today? What is the music scene like there these days?
I don’t think it was influenced by it too much. There wasn’t too big of a scene. There were some small local rock shows and people rapping but my music scene was mostly on my laptop and going to the pawn shop and getting records to sample. I didn’t pay too much attention to what was happening outside of my own headphones. I have no idea what the scene there is like now.
How would you say that you have grown as an artist since you first starting making music? What has remained the same?
I think the main change is my voice has gotten stronger over the years so I can sing a little now besides having to talk or rap everything. In terms of what hasn’t changed, I would say always trying to find my own lane and make music that didn’t necessarily fit anywhere else. I learned from Nirvana and all the other bands I loved very early that that was the key, just being original. You don’t have to be the best if your not competing with anyone else, you can just be you and that’s enough to grab some people.
I have to know more about why you originally decided to post flyers and purchase billboard ad space around LA? What first gave you the idea to do it?
Years before there was a guy in NYC that made really creepy flyers to help his dating life and they were a big hit so I figured there was a way to do that to help the music. It seemed like even if you made it on a blog, 3 hours later your song is on the second page so I wanted to find a way to build a buzz that wasn’t solely built on the internet. The streets of LA seemed like a blank canvas. From there it was just “how can we do this on even a bigger scale?” so we went to billboards and bus stops. They have been a blessing and a curse. They have opened many doors and shut doors at times too, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I met a lot of amazing people from people calling in and meeting me out in the city.
What about what first possessed you to impersonate the porn star, Lacey Duvalle, via email?
I had been hitting up the same A&R’s and managers for years with no luck and then one day it struck me that they may be way more enticed to answer if the email came from someone they used to lust after. Also the randomness would just make anyone scratch their head and have to respond. Lacey was just number 8 on a list of top ten. Popular but not too popular. It worked phenomenally.
Let’s talk about your newest song “Cooler.” What was the inspiration for this track? How do you think it compares with the rest of your album, “Mikey Mike’s Life on Earth”?
The inspiration for Cooler was getting off an antidepressant for panic attacks. It made me very grey and hazy and lethargic and I turned into such a zombie, I didn’t even realize how messed up I was. I wanted it to sound like it was about a girl just to cast a bigger net and have people be able to connect to it on whatever level they were on at the time. It’s definitely the poppiest and most tangible tune on the album. It isn’t like any of the others. I would say the others are a little more spoken or rapped and a little weirder or more off kilter and Cooler is more of the tune that anyone can bob their head to.
I can tease that it’s gonna be awesome! I think one of the coolest aspects is the way the music and song creation is tied into the show organically and you see my life unfold through these songs. I have always loved film and screenwriting, it was my major in college, so I always had the itch to get back to it. It also feels like an opportunity to tell the whole story and let people really submerge into the whole album.
What do you think makes for an ideal show for you? What has been a favorite performance of yours so far? Do you have any upcoming shows the rest of this summer and into the fall?
I think the ideal show is just any one where you can feel that people are genuinely in the moment and having a great time. We try to hit a lot of different pockets and emotions to keep people on their toes. We might have someone come up and spin the wheel of chance and then go from that into a song and then go into a poem, so the vibe is constantly evolving. There have been so many amazing ones! I can’t pick. Playing in Detroit to three thousand people on the Yelawolf tour was awesome but the smaller ones are also fun in a different way. I love them all, or most of them at least. We will be heading back out early October with Max Frost for a tour so I am pumped about that.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how your own music is reflecting this time period? Would you say that other musicians are making music that has been influenced by this climate? Do you find that at your shows you have to say something about the political climate?
I think there is so much confusion in that world that its hard to have a meaningful conversation about it. There are so many layers to that onion of power and politics and what’s really happening behind the scenes. I think most the people shouting at each other are not aware of one layer past the onion and the layer their speaking so passionately about is a lot of time based on faulty information. It’s something that I am passionate about and have dug into daily for the last ten years to try to figure out what the hell is really going on but I try to stay away from it in public because I don’t think that’s where my real power lies right now. Maybe that will change but for now I think I can touch more people in a positive way with music. I would rather try to focus on the stuff beyond the physical. There’s always going to be confusion and conflict in the world. I’m trying to start with looking at myself before I go pointing the finger at anyone or anything outside of me. Trying to see through the chaos of the world and find that inner truth is one of the major themes of the album.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?
Man it’s like a full time job! I honestly can’t stand it. If I have a really cool video or picture to share that I think is worth watching, then I enjoy that and interacting with people who respond but most the time its a struggle to find some piece of content to get out there daily and not feel like your just doing it because your supposed to. It always feels really narcissistic to me to post pictures about my life everyday but I get its part of being an artist. It feels like a bit of a prison to wake up and go “shit what am I going to post today to keep the ball rolling?” I don’t even have a twitter, just Facebook and Instagram is hard enough for me to keep up with ha! I have an awesome app called Sideline that is the main way I connect and chat with my fans. It gives you a separate number and all the calls and texts come right to your phone! Hit me up 323 457 8794.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
Too many! Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Frank Ocean, Tame Impala, Lou Reed.. those are just some randoms off the top of my head. I want to do a song with DMX because I think he was one of the realest people in music and I love his spirit.
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you and why?
I would take a laptop and a midi keyboard because you can do pretty much every instrument convincingly these days with VSTs and a sequencer. That’s definitely cheating a bit but if it was one organic instrument, I would take a guitar.
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?
A song in Edward Scissorhands would have been tight.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music?
I hope that maybe I don’t have the answers for anyone but I do have the right questions for them. I hope the songs wake people up and give them energy and make their life just a little better in whatever way. If it does that, then I’m happy. 🙂
(All photography provided by Beachwood Entertainment Collective)