Coming to you from New York, Michael Blume is redefining pop music with his own R&B/soul twist. From messages on body positivity to loving yourself for who you are, Michael utilizes his experience as a queer musician to communicate much-needed messages through his music. Read our Q&A with Michael below!
Beyond The Stage: How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard it?
Michael Blume: I describe my sound as pop music, its American pop music, but it has a lot of influences from the R&B, soul, and gospel traditions. I listened to a lot of gospel and soul music growing up, and I definitely just have been really grateful to be a student of gospel and soul music, and I also weave it into my experience as a queer, Jewish, New Yorker student gender-nonforming whatever. That’s not a concise answer, but American pop music basically.
Who is your biggest musical (or just personal) influence?
MB: I’d have to say Stevie Wonder and also like Patti LaBelle, as well as like James Blake. But also just the community of artists that I’m apart of in New York, are hugely important: my band members, my friends, the people around me who I know from my scene in New York. I’m usually influenced by them, the local scene in New York.
If you could collab with anyone, like a dream coll–
*Laughs* I didn’t even need to finish, huh. That’s fair
MB: I’m a huge Beyonce fan, I think she’s the greatest artist ever, and I just admire her work ethic, her vocals, her production, and her attention to detail. Just the scale that she works on and the multimedia aspect of it is just–I should have listed her as one of the influences because she is just, IT.
What’s your songwriting process like?
MB: My songwriting process is honestly very dynamic, as in it changes. So sometimes I sit down and I’m like “oh I’m gonna write a song,” sometimes it’s a little tidbit and then I’ll come back months or years later, and finish it, sometimes im going to a writing session and it’s me and a producer or me producer and a songwriter. Sometimes I’ll go into a session and I’ll have something, an idea and I’m like “let’s flush this out.” Sometimes I get to a session and someone else has an idea to flush out, so it happens in all kinds of ways I would say.
You talk about a long of important things in your music such as deconstructing toxic masculinity. What’s the most important message you’re seeking to share through your music?
MB: Everyone is themselves, and they’re the only them. So I’m the only me, you’re the only you, and all of us are different all of us are our own unique intersection of experiences of identities. We don’t pay enough attention to that, to the fact that all of us are different, and that’s beautiful and something to celebrate. I think it’s a thing that we’re afraid of, and I think there’s a lot of cultural force to be like each other: they want us to assimilate or be like this or like that, they want us to have this shape, this look, whatever. I actually think that the more we are able to love ourselves for who we are and create space for those around us to love themselves for who they are, the more we ultimately realize “oh shit we are all the same, we all need water food shelter and love and we should stop being so mean to each other.”
What’s your dream tour/venue?
MB: I mean I would love to open for so many people. Right now, I’m definitely in a phase where I’m looking for opportunities to open. I mean I want to be doing headlining shows too but it’s an incredible experience to open for acts that have bigger platforms than I do, which is why I’m so grateful for AJR for giving me this opportunity. I would love to open for people like Nikki Minaj, Lady Gaga, Allen Stone, Emily King. Just artists that really do things their way, those are the artists that inspire me the most I think, the ones who are just kind of unapologetically themselves. As for dream venue? We’ve gotten to do a couple of really large arenas this tour which is a first for me and it’s been so much fun. So definitely just to be able to do arenas, like 5-10 thousand and up has just been so much fun. The scale, the adrenaline in spaces that size is just very special.
How has being apart of the LGTBQ community shaped you/your music?
MB: How has it not? I think being a queer person was my first art project, because there wasn’t a clear blueprint for how queer people are supposed to exist in our society. I think we end up making up our own rules, our own stories, and our own narratives. It became my first project: my first art project was making me. I feel like it still is a centerpiece of my music project, the creation of myself, the creation of what it means to be me. I feel like I can’t even talk about my work without talking about my queerness, it’s just so hugely me, so I would say it’s entirely shaped my understanding of myself and how I interact with the world.
What’s next for you?
MB: After this tour, I’m going right to New York and I’m gonna be working on new music that’s coming out this year, and then just keep putting out singles and were trying to lock down some more dates for 2020, I am definitely excited in 2020 to continue to use my voice and my platform to push for the elimination of Donald Trump in the presidency, that’s a huge thing in my personal agenda, like what is the max amount I could be doing for that. And yeah I’m just working on a bunch of new music, new records, and new tours, so just the full 360 looking at 2020.
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