A monthly blog showcasing upcoming Artists #RECORDEDLIVE at Mr. BANG! Studios.
Mike McKenzie creates an eclectic combination of old meets new with extensive musical influences including Billy Joel, Henry Jamison, Luke Sital-Singh, Tobias Jesso Jr. and many more. Currently writing his first solo studio album, his debut single “Don’t Hold Me Down” will be released on the 26th January 2018.
Growing up in a musical home Mike began writing on a banged up piano, passed down over the years, as soon as his Mother taught him the basics. Throughout high school and college he began his discovery of the music scene as a drummer, but writing was always a huge part of his life. In 2010 he threw myself into songwriting, working with other Artists he'd encountered along the way and fell madly in love with production. In 2018 he began to explore the possibility of releasing material as a solo Artist and found himself back at the piano where it all began. “Don’t Hold Me Down” is the stripped down version of what he aims to do musically. While his passion for music production will emerge throughout the upcoming album "Love Like This" he wanted his introduction to be simple and honest.
Mike McKenzie - "One More Night"
What are you listening to right now?
"I'm obsessed with Henry Jamison at the moment. His latest album "Gloria" really got my attention with the clean modern production, while staying true to his storyteller songwriting style. It hasn't left my record player for a good few weeks. Obsessed!"
Who would your dream collaboration be with? (Past or present)
"I'd love to write with Adele or Brandi Carlile. I like to think of my writing as journal entries and I think both songwriters do the same, putting their hearts out there for us to see, listen to and most importantly lean on when we need to."
Mike McKenzie - "Los Angeles" (Originally by Luke Sital-Singh)
Where was your first ever gig and where is your dream venue to play?
"My first ever gig was back in 2003 playing drums for JAKIL. We started off in a High School Talent show but ended up playing shows all over the UK from Skye to Penzance. It was my first proper experience in the music scene and to share that with friends I'd had since I was 14 was amazing. I left at the end of 2009 to try out being a "grown up" but the band continued right up until last year.
My dream venue would have to be The Albert Hall. It's such an iconic venue that has hosted some incredible artists that I'd love to have shared a stage with. That's the big one for sure."
When did you start writing original music?
"I started writing in high school. I had incredible music teacher called James Wilkinson who would let us use the school facilities after hours. I'm pretty sure it was totally against the rules but he gave us access to instruments and tech we would never have been able to afford at home. That's where I had my first experience with a DAW, Cubase to be precise. "Wilko" actually gave me a copy of a super old version of it to use at home when the school upgraded to Mac's. That became my first wardrobe studio setup. I would use one of those clip on PC microphones to record vocals and had to click in every note with the mouse as I didn't have a MIDI keyboard! I think I have recordings somewhere, I should look them out!"
Mike McKenzie - "Love Like This"
Why did you decide to pursue music?
"It just makes me happier. Like I said earlier, I use it as a journal to share my thoughts and feelings in a productive and (hopefully) enjoyable or relatable way. My partner Chris gave me the courage to pursue it as a solo artist and I cannot thank him enough for the support and encouragement. I've met some of the most incredible people through music and can't wait to meet more. I love to write, I love to play the piano and I love to produce music in the studio. It's so important as an art form. It's there to lift our spirits when we're down and to keep us high when we're having fun. We use it to celebrate and mark special occasions. We play it at birthdays, weddings and funerals alike. It's always playing, ready to accompany our beautifully chaotic lives. It's like oxygen or water... Long story short, I decided to pursue music because I needed to."
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This session was recorded LIVE at Mr. BANG! Studios
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