Michael is a composer, songwriter, educator and producer.
June 24, 2020: New Contemporary Jazz/Funk Album Opus 2 Arrives July 24
As a student recording engineer for live concerts at East Carolina University in the late 80s and 90s, I had heard/recorded a ton of excellent jazz recitals/concerts, so it rubbed off in a major way. I composed a suite of instrumental jazz-influenced tracks, recorded on a Korg 01/W synthesizer. Not knowing what to do with them, they were filed away on a floppy disk. Fast-forward to 2020. With lots of time staying at home in these days of COVID-19, I’ve been going through the 600+ pieces in the Dixon “Vault” for long-forgotten recordings and found these 8 pieces. I also found “Moon”, a big band original with vocals. I had cataloged these recordings under the Op. 2 designation, as I did with all my compositions during college. So it seemed fitting I’d use that as the album title.
The sequences on the Korg still played (I still have that synth) but some of the performances had mistakes or dated sounds. So I decided to go full-Frankenstein on them! I transferred portions of each work into my digital audio workstation. I then recorded some new parts to replace what I didn’t transfer. So what you’ll hear is my 2020 self performing with my 1992 self! All of the recordings will have some of the 1992 original performances blended with performances from this year. I then spent 2 months mastering the 9 tracks to ensure they have that 2020 polish. I hope you enjoy Opus 2.
April 11, 2020: Almost Free song & music video
I wanted to write an uplifting song dedicated to everyone in quarantine, to those suffering from COVID-19, to our wonderful health care people, and to those who are isolated from loved ones and friends. The words came easy and the melodies flowed thereafter. As we celebrate Easter this weekend, I hope this song provides encouragement, strength and hope as we all do our part to end this pandemic. Let’s hope we’re Almost Free.
March 3, 2020: Having some fun with Whisper Pop
It’s all the rage, apparently. This faint, drowsy singing style is the latest fad that comes across as intimate pop music, so I wanted to have a go at creating my own. Sleepy Song is a tongue-in-cheek, on-purpose cringe-worthy “poke” at whisper pop.
Sept. 12, 2019: Rediscover some of my late 80s tracks: 1990 EP
1990 EP is a small collection of five pop songs written near the end of the 80s, with the recording dated in 1990 while I was in college. The songs were first recorded on an 8-track reel-to-reel tape deck and mastered down to 1/4″ a reel-to-reel tape that I had stored away and finally got around to digitizing.
It’s a true time capsule, yet still feels like yesterday. Think Color Me Badd, a little S.O.S. Band, and Madonna’s Vogue in places. You’ll hear naïve 80s lyrics, synth-based sax solos, my insecure 24-year old vocals strategically held back in the mix and swimming in reverb, my “a-ha falsetto” that has long since left me, boy band-like harmony painfully recorded track by track, vintage synths, a few Linn drum fills and a Roland TR-909 drum machine holding it all together. Take a listen to my once-secret contribution to the late 80s if you dare, featuring dance pop, pop/R&B ballad, and a slow jam with some white boy old school rap! One footnote: “River’s Edge” got radio play in Greenville, NC, as it was written about walking along the Tar River.
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You will hear elements of soundtrack, new age and electronic music, a tiny homage to Vangelis, and chill bump moments throughout. Read the full story and notes on each track.
September 3, 2018: New single/lyric video
As school starts for many children this time of year along with the chance for making new friends, I wanted to share a new song based on a real-life friendship between my daughter and her best friend in NC. No matter who you are, there is someone out there that “gets” you. I hope everyone finds that special friend to share life with over the years. Here’s the lyric video for “Perfect Friends”.
June 15, 2018: Issues album released!
Michael’s new album released on June 15, featuring new songs, some with a slight electronic 80s vibe. The album dabbles in various genres and a few songs (Ego, Take in the View) were inspired by our current president. Missing the World sends a message to smartphone addicted teens, and When We Could See for Miles paints a picture of concern for our planet. Early 80s taps Michael’s memories growing up in the 80s and Passage 21 is about a fictional watering hole. There’s something for everyone!