THE excellent and massively popular Mikey Wax…
has been talking with me about his new single, Big Little Life, and how it started life. I ask about the video and what it was like to film; what the secret to his success is; if there is going to be more material arriving; which artists Mikey Wax would count as idols.
I ask the U.S. songwriter about L.A. and how important it is regarding his songwriting; whether there are any gigs coming up; an upcoming artist we should get behind and support; if he has any favourite memories from his career so far – Mikey Wax tells me how he spends his time away from music.
Hi, Mikey. How are you? How has your week been?
I am swell...a word I don't often use but I’m trying to bring back in my vocabulary. My week has been excellent too, thanks.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I'm a singer/songwriter from N.Y. I’ve been playing the piano and writing songs since I was eight. I now live in L.A. and write Pop songs by day and entertain my wife and our two cats by night.
What can you reveal about your new single, Big Little Life? How did it start life?
Big Little Life was a song I wrote for my fiancé that I intended to surprise her with on our wedding. I thought the concept was cool because, for most ‘young adults’, you don't have everything figured out yet. Despite not being able to afford all the things we want, we have each other and that's all you really need.
The video is intricate and lush. Did it take a while to put together? What was it like to film?
Thanks. The video came together pretty quick actually. The directors and I had a pretty clear-cut vision of what it had to be. We filmed it in our house, removed all the furniture and everything and slowly built it back up. It captured the spirit of the song and it felt very ‘real’ filming in the actual house I live in.
Is there going to be any more material coming before the end of the year?
I have a lot of songs I'm wrapping up. I'd say, yes, there will be more music later this year.
You have gained countless streams, kudos and nods by fans and big names. What is the secret to your success would you say?!
It's a bunch of factors coming together. I think, first and foremost, having a well-written and produced song is at the core. But, almost equally important is having a good team of people who believe in your project.
Which artists do you rank as idols? Were you exposed to music quite early in life?
I have a lot of idols. I've tried to emulate a lot of artists in the process of getting to a point where you almost stop caring and can just be yourself. My first obsession as a kid was The Beatles; Countless hours repeating The White Album (The Beatles) and Abbey Road. Next up was Billy Joel who, in my opinion, doesn't get enough clout with younger writers. The guy is a legend! I went through a deep love for the Dave Matthews Band.
Many, many others….
How important are L.A. and its people in regards your own music? Do you take from the sound and sights around you?
I moved to L.A. a little over a year ago. I think the change has had a really great effect on my music, mood and lifestyle etc. Don't get me wrong...N.Y.C. will always be home, but there is a real collaborative process out here in L.A. which makes the songs stronger. The sunshine makes you want to get out and drive to a writing session. I live in Pasadena, which is pretty suburban, but the trees and grass are inspiring. The streets, buildings and bridges of N.Y.C. are equally inspiring but I was ready for a change.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
It's a great question and, to be honest, I often don't set enough short-term goals. I always think, years out, what I'd like to have achieved by that time. I think, for the remaining five or so months of the year, I'd like to see Big Little Life continue to reach more listeners; land a prominent spot in a commercial or movie; more Spotify playlists on top of the ones it’s already gotten. I actually just found out the song will be featured in the season finale of A&E’s Born This Way this fall, so that’s definitely an exciting look. I'd also like to release one or two more songs.
Will there be any tour dates? Where can we see you play?
At the moment I've been taking a break from the road to hone my songwriting and really have a large bunch of songs that can sustain my career for a long time. There is a time for the road, but right now my mind is 100% in a creative space and I want to put all my energy towards creating music, as well as relationships, personal stuff, etc.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
There have been so many - at times I look back to an experience on tour or early on in a studio session and think ‘Was that really me?’ There was one show I played in L.A. where the legendary music exec Seymour Stein came to see me play (I also performed in his office a few weeks prior). He was very supportive.
Although he and I never ended up working together, he told me that I had a strong future, which was a confidence booster I needed at the time to keep going. It also was great when Aaron Rodgers came to my gig at Hotel Café after discovering my music online. Overall, hearing words of encouragement from people so accomplished is humbling.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say?
I should be ashamed but, for the past ten years, I haven't been much of an album listener. In Pop music writing sessions, we sort of study singles. Albums I play in their entirety are usually much older records like Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra. When I'm in the mood for Frank, I'll play his record straight through.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
It would be a childhood dream to open up for Billy Joel, John Mayer or The Dave Matthews Band.
I wouldn't need a rider. Actually, maybe, just some paper towels in case I throw up from being so nervous playing in front of those legends.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Have a support system - people who care and love you and will be there for you no matter what.
IN THIS PHOTO: Brooke Williams
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Yeah. I wrote a cool song with this artist Brooke Williams. She's releasing a record soon. I like her sound a lot!
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Yeah. I always find some time to unwind and distract myself which is important because life as a musician isn't always the most stable. I have a really supportive wife and two really cute cats that do a great job at making me laugh and put my music mind to rest.
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).
How about Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys
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