THIS has been a busy day for me…
and one I am ending by looking at a fantastic young artist. Michael Paradise lets me into his world and tells me the story behind his latest track, Meant 2 Be. I ask him whether there is more material in the locker; which music he holds dear; how his diary is looking for the coming weeks – whether the Canadian will come to the U.K.
I discover how Michael Paradise’s music comes together and how important Goldchain was to his current song; whether the artist has big ambitions and plans for the remainder of the year – he reveals why music by black artists, right now, is speaking to him so loudly.
Hi, Michael. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey, Sam. It’s been pretty good. It feels great putting out the first track off the new project and I keep getting hit up by old friends, acquaintances and, of course, my best buds (which is really nice).
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m a fully-independent Toronto artist trying to make feelgood music that vibes with people. I write and play the recorded music myself, although I have been getting a lot of help from Goldchain, who is a dope producer and artist. You should check him out. I also have recently put together a band and we play our first show at Burdock Music Hall in Toronto on April 26.
I am interested in the idea of the song, Meant 2 Be. It is a song designed to make you feel good and promote a message. What was the decision behind writing it?
This song is a collaboration with Goldchain. I heard this track he was working on and was like ‘Whaaat; that’s sick’. So, we ended up working on it together and I quickly realized this was the first one I wanted to put out. The idea behind the content is quite simplistic: it’s meant to be sexy and embrace the spring feels coming, but also, it’s about what I’m going through in my personal life right now.
My partner and I have been having some serious issues even though, most of the time, everything is really good between us. So, it’s almost a question: This feels so good, so why can’t it just work?! Why is it never simple?!
How important was Goldchain regarding the song and your improvement as an artist?
Goldchain is just so professional, but he also has a really clear vision. He’s quite critical in a good way. He challenges me to make something better than what I would have settled on.
Your name, ‘Michael Paradise’, seems to reflect your need to express yourself, and music, without repercussion and boundaries. Do you think too many artists are a bit hesitant and creatively fearful?
It’s a good question and I don’t think it’s that simple…
With social media, it seems like everyone is just doing their thing, fearlessly, and making really cool art - which then can prompt the viewer to feel like they aren’t doing enough. But, also, all the artists I know suffer from some form of self-doubt…myself included. This fear can be crippling. So, with this project, I really just wanted to do my thing and release some sh*t for fun.
Let go of the hesitancy…
Will there be more music coming later this year?
Yeah, def! There are four tracks written and demod for this project. I’m hoping the next single will come out within the next two months.
I know you have been in music for years. When did you decide to do your own project?
I moved back to Toronto from B.C. - where I was living for a bit about three years ago - and I just started slowly writing some of my own tracks. I then got some FACTOR funding recently, so that kicked things into gear for releasing content.
Which artists did you grow up around? What sort of music were you raised on?
Man; I grew up on the classics: Bob Marley, The Beatles; The Grateful Dead, Van Morrison; The Band, James Brown etc. My parents had a stack of records in the kitchen next to the sound system -and those were the types of albums lying around. Later, I got really into Ska, Punk; '90s Hip-Hop.
Now, I just listen to so much music in so many different areas. I think SZA is my fave big artist and Still Woozy is my fave emerging right now.
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
I have a professional career in music outside of being an artist, so a lot of my personal goals are tied to that as well. But, for my artistry; I’m just trying to have fun and do my best and keep my expectations low.
Which albums are most important to you – in terms of their power and impact?
I mostly only listen to contemporary music now. I think the most progressive, ground-breaking and interesting sh*t being made is in black culture music: R&B, Hip-Hop and Soul. Artist like SZA and Kendrick (Lamar) are just blowing me away. But, also stuff like Noname. I’ve had her album on-repeat for months.
I’m also so into Kali Uchis since I saw her at Danforth, in Toronto, a while back. I love the whole thing she has going on: the branding and artwork, the feel of the music; the feminist messages mixed with really sexy vibes.
I dunno; it’s all pretty cool…
Can we catch you perform anytime soon? What dates do you have coming up?
Right now, just the Burdock show in Toronto on April 26. But, there will be more to come, I have no doubt.
Will you come to the U.K. and play this year?
No, not yet.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
I think my advice is simple: just stay true to yourself. An audience can really recognize authenticity. Don’t make something because you think it is cool and will sell: make it because you need to express yourself. Also, never underestimate the value of networking. With your art, you need to stay true to yourself but, in your social circles and industry, you gotta hustle and put yourself out there.
IN THIS PHOTO: Alcordo
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I’ve been working real hard of late. I’m doing my masters, work full-time at a festival and I have this music project. But, I love to exercise to get out of my head. I love getting out of the city too and, of course, playing and listening to music…
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Well, since I mentioned him so much: Lucy by Still Woozy (ft. Odie)
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