“I feel like Top 40 is kind of the ‘Fast Food’ of music. The greatest amount of people will be exposed to it, but it lacks the quality of other avenues because it has to be so vague, generalized, and universally relatable.” – Michael Shynes
It’s always refreshing to hear wise words from Minnesota musicians.
Twin Cities-based, small town-raised Michael Shynes will be releasing his second full-length album with a performance at the Dakota Jazz Club Friday night.
At the Dakota, the Little Falls native will be backed by full band of special guests, including Dan Rodriguez, Adam Dodge, Nathanael Henry Raway and Angela Betsey. Guest singers will include Molly Burke, Kelsey Bitney, and Shannon Joy Anderson.
The new album, titled “When Here and Now Becomes There and Then,” is a tribute to Shynes’ late friend — ad agency found John Olson. The album features 15 songs and you can pre-order it here.
“(I’m) very excited to share this body of 15 songs I’ve put together,” Shynes says on his website. “It’s always that temporary feeling of relief before feeling the pull of putting another batch of songs together. So I’ve learned to savor these moments, rather than constantly shifting toward the future. ”
Shynes does look forward to a warmer Minnesota, however – as we all do.
Get tickets to the 11 p.m. show by calling the box office at 612-332-5299 and make sure to check out the in-depth interview below (and listen to his single, “Firefly”).
What’s your main message as a musician? In other words, what would you like your potential/current fans to take away from your music/lyrics?
I would say that it often varies, and doesn’t really start with the intention of being a concrete message. My goal is generally to create something artistic or almost cinematic based from my own personal experience. Since my last album cycle, I lost my dad to a rare autoimmune disease, experienced the true gravity of heartbreak and found true love while starting a family of my own. So there was plenty to draw from in terms of inspiration. For me, sorting out my feelings in a musical medium has always been easier than processing it directly. So, I guess I treat music like therapy, and then assume that if I am able to reach myself, it will also reach others who are struggling in the same or similar capacities. I don’t believe the world to be so disconnected that my problems are entirely unique. So I guess my message is specific to those who find value in the songs, and it is to let them know that they aren’t alone in what they’re currently experiencing.
Tell me a little more about your music and what shaped you as a musician/singer.
My songs are shaped by the music of my youth, like many others I’m sure. Specifically songs that were able to alter my emotional state and make me feel that good kind of sadness. The kind that you almost crave because it takes you somewhere profound. I started out listening to a lot of 90s Alternative Rock like The Goo Goo Dolls, Gin Blossoms, Duncan Sheik, and Soul Asylum. This caused me to fall in love with the acoustic guitar, and alternate melodic turnings.
In terms of what shaped me as a person, it was constant support from my parents, and the knowledge that they would continue supporting me regardless of what I chose as a career path, that enabled me to feel a calm in what I was doing. And the loss of my Father has really shaped where I’m heading now. I am searching for meaning and depth in music more, as opposed to aspirations of fame and fortune.
Describe the new album and what it means to you.
The album is called “When Here and Now Becomes There and Then” and the words were taken from a lyric written by John Olson, a Twin Cities fixture. He ran and founded Olson Advertising, one of the biggest marketing firms in Minnesota. He was diagnosed with cancer a couple years back, and his survival of the disease inspired him to chase musical dreams that had lay dormant for years. He wrote and recorded an album at Blackbird Studios in Nashville, and had just begun performing live and chasing the dream before the cancer returned, and took his life a few months back. Before his passing I had asked him if I could use the lyric for the title of my album, and being the kind and genuine soul he was, he instantly obliged.
The new album is more niche and focused than my last effort. I feel like Top 40 is kind of the “Fast Food” of music. The greatest amount of people will be exposed to it, but it lacks the quality of other avenues because it has to be so vague, generalized, and universally relatable. So I guess I decided I wanted to speak more in depth to a smaller number of people, as opposed to watering things down to reach a larger audience. So this album is a collection of stories and in depth emotional states. It means everything to me, because I believe it be the most authentic form of myself. Who I am in music is more honest than I can ever be in everyday life.
What should people expect to see at the Dakota Friday?
From past Dakota performances, what seems to stand out to listeners is the vocal performance. The musicians that back me are incredible, but everything seems to funnel back toward the words and melodies. I’m very excited that my favorite Minnesota based singer and musician will be backing me up on guitar. I was such a fan of Dan Rodriguez before we met. Now we are playing shows together and jamming on each others songs all the time. This is the best band I’ve ever had, and I believe those who come out to the show will feel something as they listen to these songs and arrangements. My goal is to shy away from the live show mentality and try to offer more of an experience. So my hope would be that people feel they were witnesses to something special, with the pure assessment of what that means being up to them.
Lastly, what’s next for Michael Shynes?
In terms of what’s next, I was consistently miserable when I constantly contemplated that myself. When I let go of the notion of being future-oriented, that’s when things started to really move and progress for me career-wise. I opened for several National acts and played all over the country this year, which was a thrill. But my goals have always been music centric. They are what bring me true joy. So I would say that I want to continue writing and growing as an artist. The rest will take care of itself. My heart is in the Midwest, so I want to continue to expand and grow a following here. And continue to spend time with the people that have shaped my life. They keep me grounded and where I need to be.
Check out Shynes’ single below.
More Michael Shynes
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