Mike Bauer is a talented Songwriter and vocalist from Los Angeles and is our latest Sonicbids competition winner. Despite Mike working extremely hard towards his California Bar Exam alongside his music, we were really happy when he agreed to be interviewed by Song Revelation. Read on to find out about Mike’s musical background, what he’s been working on for the last 12 months and his current career highlights.
Q: What are you called?
Oh, this is an easy one, my name is Mike Bauer. I put all of my creativity into writing so when it came time to come up with a stage name, I just went with the one my parents gave me.
Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?
As for myself, I am a happy easy-going, whistle while I work sorta guy. As for my music, honest experiences disguised with pop, soul and some underlying jazz connotations.
Q: What is your musical background?
I grew up surrounded by music. My grandfather used to tap dance and sing on the Lawrence Welk show (Larry Dean), my father was a big band singer, and my sister (Alisha Bauer) is an incredible professional cellist who has played with everyone from Bruno Mars to Andrea Bocelli. Naturally, I gravitated towards music, starting with voice, trumpet in 4th grade, piano in junior high, guitar and bass in college, and basically any other instrument I can get my hands on and fool around with.
Q: How have the last 12 months been for you?
CHAOS!!! In the last 12 months, I started my last year of law school, worked for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, competed in several national Trial Advocacy competitions, recorded my very first Ep (aptly titled “Financial Aid, Vol. 1” in tribute to my many law school loans), played at SXSW in Austin, TX for the first time, graduated from law school, and started studying for the bar (which is what I am currently doing).
Q: Who inspires you musically?
I love great vocalists. I grew up listening to standards so, Sarah Vaughn, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald (mmm I love her voice!), Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, FRANK OF COURSE!!! Miles Davis, I still have “Kind of Blue” on constant rotation (flamenco sketches is perfection), Sting is ridiculous… Just to name a few!
Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?
Now, I love Arcade Fire, Sigur Ros, Bon Iver, the Portland Cello Project, Thao (she’s so sexy the way she feels the music), Bruno Mars and Jason Mraz (most versatile male voices out there right now), and I’ve been listening a lot to my friend Kawehi, she’s super talented. I love super talented people.
Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?
I love collaborating with other artists. It really pushes your boundaries because no two musicians are alike and have the same influences. I’d love to harmonize with Boyz II Men, play shows with Jason Mraz because he so quirky, and recently I’ve met great artists like Johnny Strat, Kawehi, and Joe Flatt who would be awesome to work with or play with, not only because they are incredibly talented, but because you can also tell they are good people.
Q: What songs are on your iPod at the moment?
Oh man, that thing is full. It’s pretty eclectic, I range from Robin Thicke to Yo-Yo Ma and everything in between.
Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?
The first thing I do is come up with a mood. Often times my circumstances or current state of mind will be the predominate influence on said mood. From there, I begin structuring a chord progression that mirrors that mood and start determining what my chorus progressions would be along with my verse progressions or bridge progressions. From there, I begin thinking of subject matter that will also embody the mood and begin humming out the melodies for the chorus and verses respectively (I ALWAYS start with the chorus). Finally, when that is all worked out and I have my mood set, my progression that mirrors the mood structured, my melody for all components are ironed out, I begin crafting the lyrics to fit the syncopation of my melody and bring my mood to life lyrically. That is my base and from there I begin adding components and instrumentation.
Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?
BOTH! If you don’t have a good melody, the lyrics get lost, if you don’t have good lyrics, the melody means nothing. You gotta have both!
Q: Where are you based?
I live in Los Angeles, CA, but I came from Colorado! Sometimes I really miss the open fields and the mountains… But then I remember it never snows in LA and is almost always 75 degrees. I’ll take it.
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
It’s surreal… It can be pretty superficial here and the traffic is certainly nuts, but its picturesque and you are literally surrounded by the best and brightest of every industry. Whether it be law or music, there are so many wonderfully talented people you can learn from here.
Q: What are you currently working on?
Currently, I have my guitar locked up until I finish the California Bar exam which is July 24 – 26. After that, I plan on finishing “Financial Aid, Vol. 2” which is half way done, and then beginning work on the third and final Ep “Financial Aid, Vol. 3.” Why the three Eps you ask?!? Well, I figured from a practicality stand point, as new artists, it’s better to generate a buzz with each Ep release, then to just release one Lp and have only one bite at the buzz apple if you will. Additionally, it’s a fun little homage to my other life as a recent law school grad as law school consisted of three years, thus, three different years for student loans, hence the three volume Ep for each year to help pay back those loans! It’s perfectly cheesy yet fun.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
Playing SXSW was pretty awesome. Though I must say, I am so not a punk rocker or indie rocker so I felt a little out of place. Fortunately, the sponsors and the crowd were incredibly welcoming. Also, finally releasing my music so people can actually get it. Shameless iTunes plug where you can buy my Ep!!! One of the coolest things came when I was studying in a coffee shop for finals this last semester. I was sitting there beating community property into my brain when suddenly, a familiar song came on over the coffee shop’s Spotify radio, “While We Are Here” from my first Ep that I had just released. It made me pretty giddy, I won’t deny it. I instantly started watching those around me to see if they were being hypnotized by my melodic riffs, but alas, there was only the occasional toe tap, no hypnotic effects.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in over the next 12 months?
PASS THE CALIFORNIA BAR EXAM!!!! Then release two more four song Eps!!! If Conan invited me to play on his show, that would be okay too.
Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?
Man, I’ve been getting some fantastic opportunities for gigs recently but I’ve had to reluctantly pass due to my bar study schedule. Once I am free from this monster, I will get back out there and you can check my facebook page which will have all my gig updates once I get back out there.
Q: What do you do to relax?
I know it is probably a little feminine to say this, but I don’t care…. BUBBLE BATHS! I love me some bubble baths, with candles, bubbles (preferable the old school standby “Mr. Bubbles”), some good music, with a nice tall glass of Macallan 12 or 18, neat, no rocks.
Q: Where would your favourite holiday (vacation) be and why?
Any beach with see through ocean water. I love warm weather, sand between my toes, and good company. There is just something about a secluded beach on a tropical isle, with a beach towel and a perfectly warm yet slightly breezy day… Sigh.
Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for new or aspiring musicians what would it be?
No one is going to come find you!!! You have to find yourself and then be your own advocate. All the talent in the world is nothing without effort, honing your craft and putting something together like an Ep or a demo that illustrates that craft. I used to think “hey, I can sing, if I just keep playing gigs someone will find me.” You might get some interest but if you have nothing to give them that they will remember you by, or something they can already build on, forget it… They will find someone who does.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?
If you’ve made it to this final Q & A, thank you so very much! Thank you for taking the time to get to know me, thank you for listening to any of my music if you have, and thank you to Song Revelation for giving independent artists a platform to meet wonderful readers and music lovers like yourself… Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
Editor’s Note: Mike Bauer’s original music and great voice brings a great ambience, and laid-back vibe wherever it’s played. We’re looking forward to Mike’s album and after checking out Mike’s tunes, sure you are too.
If you’d like to learn more about or contact Mike Bauer just follow the links below:
twitter link: https://twitter.com/#!/MikeBauerMusic
facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/mbauermusic
soundcloud link: http://soundcloud.com/mike-bauer-music
music player embeds: http://vibedeck.com/mikebauer