Michael Bernard Fitzgerald
MY final interview of the day…
is with the Canadian artist Michael Bernard Fitzgerald. He has been discussing his latest single, I’ll Be the Lighter, and how it came together. I ask him whether more material will arrive down the lines and which artists compel and inspire him – he recommends an artist to keep an eye out for.
Fitzgerald reveals a few albums that mean a lot to him and tells me how his latest work differs to that of his previous efforts; why songwriters like Paul Simon and Bruce Springsteen are important – he ends the interview by selecting a track from an artist local to him.
Hi, Michael. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m great - how are you? Been with close friends and family for the last week, so no complaints there.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m a singer-songwriter from Calgary, AB (Canada). Been touring and recording internationally for the last decade. I look up to writers like (Paul) Simon and (Bruce) Springsteen. I write Pop songs that sound Alternative and sometimes a bit Folk-y.
I’ll Be the Lighter is your new single. Can you reveal its origins and story?
I’ll Be the Lighter is a love song. It’s about knowing all the intimate details about someone and being committed to the ride, no matter what. My favourite moments on a motorcycle are when it’s her and me on a two-lane highway. It’s about looking to start a fire that’ll never burn out.
I believe you are working on a new record alongside producer Dennis Herring. What can you tell us regarding themes and stories you explore?
I love exploring the concept of hope. I’ve got a thing for love songs as well. But, first and foremost, it’s about hope.
How do you feel your latest work compares alongside I Wanna Make It With You and YES? Do you think you have changed certain parts of your songwriting?
Definitely. I think you can’t help but shift over time. I still collaborate with the same people often but my perspective has definitely shifted as has the way I come at writing the songs and singing them.
Do you recall the artists you grew up listening to? Which musicians inspired you to write your own stuff?
I’ll never forget watching Paul Simon’s Concert in the Park on V.H.S. I remember being completely blown away. I’m not sure which artists got me into songwriting but there are so many that keep me inspired to write.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
I’d love to release this record, tour and write.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
I don’t know that I can cite a specific time, but my favourite moments are the ones I haven’t planned for - the magic moments while playing; the ones that happen to fall in to place.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Graceland – Paul Simon
Prisoner – Ryan Adams
For Emma, Forever Ago – Bon Iver
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
There are so many. I’d love to get back out and do some more Bryan Adams dates; open for Springsteen on his Broadway run or play some dates supporting HAIM.
As for a rider…we don’t need much. Just need a few minutes to play.
Can we see you on tour soon? Might you come to the U.K. at some stage?
I’ll come back to the U.K. on a moment’s notice. Would love to be there more often.
Is being on the road one of the best parts of being in music? Do you feel songs you recorded in the studio come alive and explore new territory when played to a crowd?
Playing has always been my favourite part. Songs always 'find themselves' live.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Always make an effort to keep it fun.
IN THIS PHOTO: Leif Vollebekk
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
I like another Canadian artist called Leif Vollebekk – he has a record out called Twin Solitude.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I do get some downtime. This last week has been spent outside - swimming and biking with friends and family.
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).
There’s another artist from my home province that has a song out that I think it wonderful. She’s a Country artist called Tenille Townes and her song is called Jersey on the Wall – I’m Just Asking
I like such a random assortment of music - and her song has been on-repeat at home.
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