In life we are presented with countless decisions to make. We agonize over them on a consistent basis because we want to be certain that the right ones are made. However, nothing is guaranteed as we all know because of the risks involved in the process.
John Michael knows this all too well.
The gifted R & B singer/songwriter has had his fare share of choices presented to him. The Virginia native, who has been crafting music since he was sixteen, was once a standout student athlete. He had several scholarship offers to pursue gridiron glory at major colleges but opted for the music business. John took odd job after odd job while in writing songs for artists he encountered on the internet. Along the way he would pen material for noted producers who worked with the likes of Wale, Rick Ross, Lloyd and JaySean.
“I wouldn’t have had any shot in the industry without the digital age. I’d get music requests over the internet and write songs that way”, Michael elaborated in describing his now two-year climb through the music industry. “I kind of liken my story to The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe as to where we’re these kids and we fell into things with regard to entering the music industry. I had no idea my manager wanted to put me out on stage. It’s a nice validating feeling when you’re in the developmental stages of things, then opening for other artists and all the risks involved pay off.”
The description of Michael’s road through the business may come off a bit selcouth to some who read this. Yet it’s anything but that. For example take the eighth track on his debut album “Sophisticated” – which was dropped on September 24th of this year. The song entitled “Just a Man” may be one of the least urbane three word song titles in music history but the dual message isn’t.
“The message on the surface may be about the relationship between a man and a woman. Basically at that time I was on the verge of making either the biggest mistake of my life or entering the biggest success of my life”, Michael shared with regard to the crossroad he was facing in his life.
The song was written a few days before a meeting with his manager in Los Angeles and according to John it summed up all his struggles to head out west. He was broke and in danger of losing his home. A tale many can relate to in the music industry regardless of genre and walk of life. The path taken could’ve sent him down an ugly venture but fortunately it did not.
As for “Just a Man” it like many of the tracks on John’s album has been well received. It was recently featured on VH1’s Black Ink. The song is currently on heavy rotation at radio station KJLH which is owned by Stevie Wonder at the behest of his daughter Aisha Moore. “We were having a lunch at the station and she listened to my EP. She heard it, fell in love with it immediately and insisted on playing it”, John beamed.
With regard to other singles released from the album “Sophisticated Lady” featuring legendary hip-hop emcee Talib Kweli peaked at number nineteen on the R & B charts earlier this year. The most recent single “Arrive” has currently been picked up on Sirius XM and terrestrial radio stations throughout the country. Of the album as a whole Michael says the chief compliment he receives is comparisons to the early 90s sounds of Donnell Jones and Jodeci.
“I didn’t really intend on doing that”, Michael initially stated when it came to making his album. “I love that music. That’s what I grew up on. That’s my music. It’s only natural for me to write it like that. It’s necessary for singing to come back. I think it’s missing now. When you really sing and put soul into it you can feel the love, hate and hurt. People now are scared of it. We live in a time where people are afraid of that. But it’s coming back to that.”