2017 must rank pretty high…
in the mind of songwriter Mike Watson. His debut single, Lying for Love, made a huge impact and he embarked on a tour of the U.K. – a whirlwind year that, by the looks of things, he is going to top! Watson chats about his current track, On Fire, and what comes next for him. The Manchester-born artist talks about the music of the city and its influence – how important the people are to his success and drive.
I ask whether we can see Watson tour later this year; the music that matters most to him; whether he gets time to relax away from music; what it was like supporting Maroon 5 – he recommends a great new artist to watch.
Hi, Mike. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey! It’s been busy with the new single coming out, but the reaction’s been great - so; all is good!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Sure. Well. I’m a British singer and songwriter, started out in a band before going solo and here I am now! I grew up in the U.K., the U.S.; Singapore and Thailand, but have finally now settled in London.
On Fire is your new single. Is there a story behind the song?
The song is about admitting you’ve found someone and they have a hold over you…and you're not afraid to say it. I'm sure most people can say they've felt that way about someone at some point (not every).
It is a confident and impassioned song! What was it like putting it together in the studio? Did it go through a lot of changes?
This song, unlike Lying for Love, was more of a journey. Lying for Love took no time at all whereas, with this one, I actually changed melodies and lyrics several times, which is unusual. But, for that reason, I feel a strong sense of ownership towards it and am proud of how it turned out!
How do you view the success your debut single, Lying for Love? It did fantastic business on Spotify. Does it seem a dream looking back?!
You never know how to predict how a track will be received - especially as it was my debut single. I was confident in the fact I thought we had a strong track that could hopefully strike a chord with people, but I never imagined to get the streaming numbers we have today! It passed 750k on Spotify, which is great…
We just have to follow that success up with On Fire!
Do you feel like you have made leaps in a short time? Are you more confident than when you first started out?
I started out in music young and have learnt a lot from every experience I had; whether it be from good situations or bad. I’ve always been quietly confident, but know how hard I have to work in order to be a success in such a difficult and competitive industry. People may just think I started out in music when Lying for Love came out but, in reality, it’s been years in the making to get me ready.
Manchester is where you were born. Is the city a bit of a hotbed for great music? How important are the people regarding your success?
Being from Manchester, I’m a massive Oasis fan! I think most people are…
The city constantly produces great artists and definitely is a hotbed for music! I’ve a lot of family up there and they’d never let me get too ahead of myself.
How did music come into your life? Did you grow up around music?
I grew up in a musical family. Both of my grandmas sang in choirs and my dad plays the guitar. I remember him giving me this mini-sized guitar when I was just old enough to hold it and, from there, my musical journey started! Both my parents are massive music fans so, growing up, there was a lot of music in the house…anything from the Eagles to Paul Simon to Santana would be constantly blaring out which, no doubt, wormed its way into my head.
I’m VERY thankful for that!
Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?
Plans are in the making right now: you’ll have to keep your eyes on my socials for updates (smiles).
Does the fact you have supported the likes of Maroon 5 give you a lot of confidence to get out there and perform your music?!
Definitely. Playing such amazing venues like Wembley and the Manchester Arena etc. to crowds like I did on the Maroon 5 tour gave me huge confidence. You get such a buzz playing to that amount of people. I’ve always said, if you could bottle that feeling up and sell it, you’d make a fortune! To be honest; I much prefer the big venues and actually would say the smaller venues keep me on my toes more!
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
I hope On Fire does as well as the last single online; then the follow-up E.P. (which is all but done) does just as well too! I can’t wait to get back playing live again, so that’s something I’m looking forward to. Especially as I have two new singles to play!
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Definitely playing the Manchester Arena. I took my younger sister to see Justin Bieber there about five years ago and said, one day, she’d see me there…so; it was nice, a few years on, for me to keep my promise and have her there to see it!
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Practice; don’t take criticism too much to heart and don’t have any regrets. Any time you get the opportunity to showcase your skills, whether in the studio or on stage, DO IT!
IN THIS PHOTO: Khalid
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
I’m really into Khalid at the moment. He’s really taken off this last year and I’m really excited to see where he goes!
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I’m very sporty. My other love, away from music, is sport...
Not only is my family musical, but my grandad is a football nut; so that’s rubbed off on me over the years. Whether watching or playing, I’m hooked! When I was born; the first thing in my cot was a football. That says it all really. I play football three times a week and get to the gym pretty much every day. If I miss a few days, I get notoriously grumpy. Haha.
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).
A track I’m really digging at the moment is Say Something by Justin Timberlake
(ft. Chris Stapleton)! The way their voices blend is genius…it’s not often you get two male artists collaborating together!
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