INTERVIEW: Michael Coleman

How would you classify your music?

The music that See Your Shadow Songwriting creates could pretty much be anything, so sometimes it can be hard to classify, and we have many different styles and genres in our total catalog.  However, we recently rebranded ourselves to make our sole focus contemporary and modern country with a throwback to the story telling of old school country.  That is my personal favorite style of music. I always say it stems from me watching Hee Haw when I was growing up.  The style is kind of a merging of the old and new as the industry demands a more esoteric pop sound, while die hard country fans demand something they can connect with on a deeper emotional level that makes them listen not simply hear it.

Who are some of your top 5 musical influences?

See Your Shadow has been influenced by so many, that is a good question.  You know there are so many talented musicians and singers that nobody has ever heard of because they never were famous, and I have worked with several extremely talented people who I have just been in awe of.  With that said, I would have to say my top five musical influences are (1) the Motown writing team of Holland/Dozier/Holland. That team crafted a sound for an entire label practically single-handedly and just churned out one song after the other after the other like a factory.  (2) Paul Simon, the music of Paul Simon and Simon and Garfunkel started taking me and my writing to another whole different intellectual level.  The simplicity and the poetry of it resonated with me when I was very young and has stayed with me.  (3) Loretta Lynn.  I love the honesty of her work and it just really takes me back to a time when singers sang about their lives and shared, how real she is as a person just comes through and, you feel it. (4) Dianne Warren.  As a song writer she is just the tops and what makes me admirer her even more is the struggle it took for her to get to where she is.  (5) The writing team of Gamble and Huff.  What an incredible talent and ability to take a vision and bring it to life.  Of course, there are others, but those would be at the top as far as people that have inspired and influenced.

What do you want fans to take from your music?

What I would like fans to take away from our music is the ability to allow themselves to feel.  The music we create encompasses a wide range of emotions and is very human.  It doesn’t necessarily need to be a ballad either to evoke that emotion.  We like to give the fans of our music a total senses experience.

How’s the music scene in your locale?

See Your Shadow is relatively new to the Phoenix area, so we really have not been able to immerse ourselves like we did back in our native locale, Columbus, Ohio.  Right when we were getting ready to start making ourselves seen in our new home, the Covid-19 crises hit and we had to go on lock down. I believe there is a thriving independent music scene here based on the ReverbNation Chart and once we are able go and explore more live shows, we welcome collaborating with the local talent.

What is the best concert you have been to? What do you like most about playing live?

I’ll take the second part of the question first, we rarely play live gigs since we are a studio based entity, but there have been a few occasions like when we were asked to be the anchor at inaugural season the Concerts at the Statehouse series in Columbus, Ohio and when we were asked to perform at the NAGAAA Softball World Series and what I liked best about both of those was the fact that it allowed the talented vocalist and musicians that are in our network to take center stage and gave them opportunities that they would not have otherwise had. I love being a conduit for talent.

The best concert I have been to is one that is dear and true to my heart for a few reasons and that would be Diana Ross at the Wynn.  I lost my mom last year and Diana was one of her all time favorite artists and I was able to score front row seats, but I wasn’t able to take my mom with me because she died a few weeks before the show, so the show just took on new meaning.

Is there a song on your latest CD release here that stands out as your personal favorite, and why?

Oh jeez this is a toughie as I am proud of all the pieces from the latest body of work, but it is probably a tie between, “I Will Tell Jesus You Said Hello” and a song called “My Worth.”  Both pack that one, two punch.  “I Will Tell Jesus You Said Hello”, I have just always loved that piece from the minute it was penned and when I reimagined it as a duet that just took the song to another level, I mean it is just a gorgeous piece. Now on the total flip side is “My Worth” which is an instrumental. I mean, hard rocking, southern outlaw country that needs no words to carry it, although I will probably end up writing something to the track later, but that piece just lets the musicianship shine through.  We probably will release that song as that will be a first for country radio, and See Your Shadow always likes to be on the cutting edge and do things that have never been done before.

How have you evolved as an artist over the last year?

We’ve grown and evolved a lot over the last year.  The main way we have grown is we have completely revamped our sound and narrowed our focus.  See Your Shadow used to write and produce all different types of music which is why our catalog is so diverse. Now we are solely focusing on country and the different elements of country. Getting back to our roots so to speak.  I’ve been going over songs that were written many years ago, but just sat on the shelf and I started breathing new life into the material. We launched our new flagship website and totally changed our brand.  I think that it is important as an artist that one continues to grow, but the trick is to remain true to who you are at the same time and not get caught up in industry trends. Sometimes that can be difficult.

If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, have a drink with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be?

OMG! So many. I would love to meet Loretta Lynn. She has been eluding me.  I was supposed to go to a show at her house a few yeas back and right before the show she got sick and had to cancel and it gets better, right after that the one year I have commitments and can’t go to CMA Country Christmas, who makes a surprise special appearance, none other than Loretta Lynn.

I would love to get drunk with Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, Chris Stapleton and the boys from Old Dominion, they just seem like they would be a lot of fun to be drunk with.

What’s next for you?

What is coming down the turnpike is we will release another single from the current body of work.  What that will be has not been decided just yet and later in the year possibly a Christmas song and some traveling.  All the travel plans had to be put on hold because of Covid-19 so it will be great to get that back on the books.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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