fbpx
MIKEY WAYNE

RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW MIKEY WAYNE, WHAT HAPPENED?

Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

For those who are just discovering you, can you introduce yourself as a musician in a few words?

To introduce myself as a musician, I should first introduce myself as a person because the two are directly related. I was born in Palmdale, California (just north of Los Angeles) and grew up there until my family moved to Decatur, Alabama (a small town in North Alabama) around my middle school years. What a culture shock that was! I like to call myself a CaliBamian these days because it sums up my mixture of personality which comes out in my music. 

I begged my parents for a guitar for Christmas many years in a row. They finally bought me one when I was about eight years old. Naturally, like any kid growing up in California, I barely touched the thing because I also had a love for skateboards, BMX, and dirt bikes that kept me pretty occupied outside. It wasn’t until we moved to Alabama that I picked up the guitar because there wasn’t much to do in that small town. I learned quickly by teaching myself all of my favorite guitar riffs that were in Guitar World magazine each month. In school, I took band class and was a percussionist/ drummer, eventually working my way up to drumline captain. High school was when I discovered my voice and started taking singing more seriously as I started fronting bands. 

Was there a specific song or artist that steered you into a music path?

Oh, you better strap in for this one! Wow, so many, but I’ll narrow it down to the highlights!. Growing up, there was a bit of a soundtrack to my life. My parents were big music fans and every memory that I have seems to be tied to a specific song or artist. One of the first memories of music that I have is hanging in the garage with my dad while he worked on his dirtbike. I was probably around 3-4 years old. He would listen to Pink Floyd, Zeppelin, Metallica, Van Halen, etc… I remember hearing the soaring melodies of Pink Floyd and the intensity of metallica, being captivated by them, and just somehow knew that’s what I wanted to do. My first concert was Grand Funk Railroad at the California State Fair when I was probably no older than eight. I remember the energy in the air, the sound of the crowd, and the line of people trying to get backstage. Yet again, I was hooked and knew that was my calling. I discovered Def Leppard a little later and they really blew my mind! To this day, Def Leppard is my favorite band and was the spark for me to become really good at writing ballads. 

My mom listened to country music and loved to line dance. We’d go to the dance halls on family nights and I’d have such a blast getting out on the dance floor in my snakeskin boots! I paid attention to the lyrical content of country music in those moments and really fell in love with storytelling within a song. Garth Brooks and Brooks & Dunn were a massive influence on that front. I also had an obsession with Elvis Presley growing up. I envisioned myself being a larger than life character just like he was. 

Where do you feel you currently sit within the music industry? 

Currently, I feel that I am poised to pounce in the industry. I’ve always wanted to be one of those artists that is making moves in the background then pops out in a big way. I love it when people in the industry say, “where the hell did this guy come from?” I feel that I am getting close to that moment where everything blows wide open. I am the opener for a national tour, performing for thousands of people every night, releasing a steady stream of new music, turning serious numbers, and doing it all independently. Slow and steady wins the race in my book!  

What’s the best advice you ever gotten or would extend when it comes to the music industry? 

This isn’t necessarily industry related, but more artist/songwriting related. The best advice I ever received was from my producer, Rogers Masson. He told me that if I can make a song sound like a hit with just my voice and an acoustic guitar, then I have something truly special. Currently, taking that advice is coming to fruition since I’m on an acoustic tour, performing in front of thousands of people, with nothing but my voice and an acoustic guitar. The crowd loves it and the songs hit home with them. 

Let’s play. Tell us two truths and a lie about you.

  1. I went on my first tour when I was thirteen playing guitar in a pop punk band.
  2. I got my first tattoo recently of a burning tour bus because our bus actually caught on fire.
  3. I raced SCORE Class 11 in the Baja 1000 in a borrowed VW Bug and most definitely didn’t finish. 

Do you ever worry about people taking things the wrong way or cancel culture these days?

I don’t necessarily worry about it because I’m not a very polarizing person, but of course it crosses your mind from time to time and is something to be aware of. I think my message is very clear in my songs that I am here to unite, love, inspire, and understand the human experience. 

Do you believe in any conspiracy theories out there? Or do you have a favorite one?

When you are around as many stagehands as I am on the road, you hear a lot of conspiracy theories. It’s somehow a thing in the stagehand culture. One that has me fascinated recently is the idea that the sinking of the Titanic wasn’t an accident and was actually planned for insurance purposes. It’s an interesting read whether you believe in those things or not. 

Let’s get real, what was the worst experience you ever had on stage?

First one that pops to mind, and probably the funniest, was this bar in Florence, Alabama I played with my old band in college. The stage was on a balcony in the back of the building and you were looking down on the audience. Directly below the stage/balcony were the bathrooms (important detail). This was a steamy, hot, humid night in Alabama and this venue did not really have air conditioning. Well, the sewage pipe to the bathrooms below the balcony burst and brown sewage water went EVERYWHERE!! So, heat rises, I am performing on a hot balcony, and we get hit with this steamy smell of raw sewage. Everyone threw up and ran out of the building. And, when I say everyone, I mean everyone!

Let’s brag a little… What makes you stand out as a band/artist?

Honestly, I think my superpower is my personality. I can make friends with a brick wall, so getting onstage in front of thousands of people and making them feel like we are hanging out in my living room comes naturally to me. I think it’s an instinct that I’ve always had and it’s been sharpened by all my past years of touring clubs and college parties. Learning how to turn a cold audience into fans is an art.  I genuinely love getting to meet new people and I’m lucky enough to make thousands of new friends every night! 

Another superpower of mine is my energy level onstage. I literally can not stand still which gives the audience a good show. Again, this comes from all the years of touring clubs and college parties with my old rock bands where we were in the audience’s face the entire show. Our truck driver (T-Bone) on tour currently has nicknamed me “Happy Feet ” because I can’t stand still on stage haha. 

I hear you have new music coming out, what can you tell us about your new single “Coming Home”?

“Coming Home” is about owning your flaws as a human in a relationship. It’s about recognizing when you make mistakes and committing to show up every day to be a better person. 

What was the recording process like?

This particular recording process for the Echo Mountain Sessions was a rewarding new experience for me in terms of personal growth. The countless recording sessions I’ve done in my life have always been with a full band. The full band process requires a lot of time, a lot of tracks, and it’s ok to make mistakes because you can go back and fix it easily, etc.. Every song off of the Echo Mountain Sessions is the exact opposite of a full band. It was just me, my voice, and my guitar in front of about six microphones. I did everything live top to bottom. If I made a mistake, I had to start back from the top of the song. You can’t edit six microphones that are all somewhat bleeding into each other to create a killer mix. Are the tracks perfect? Of course not! But they are full of real human emotion and that’s what I wanted to capture. It was a fun challenge that I’ll do again one day.  No need to fear though, plenty of full band tracks coming your way in the near future. 

What was the biggest learning curve in writing your most recent songs?

I usually write from a very personal place. Channeling my real heartfelt emotions about a situation into a song while also not letting those past emotions dictate my mood on the current day has been interesting. There is an emotional on/off switch I’ve had to find. 

Would you change anything now that it’s finished?

To an artist, it’s hard to say when a piece of art is finished. So, naturally, there’s always something you can change. The key is to know when to stop and let the world hear it for all of its perfect imperfections. You can always save the shoulda, coulda, woulda for the next round of songs! 

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world before we go?

I say this every night onstage near the end of my show, so it’s fitting that I put it at the end of this interview… “Surround yourself with good people, take care of those people, put a little good out in the world, and you just might get a little good back!”

FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM // WEBSITE

MORE RGM INTERVIEWS HERE

THE RGM PODCAST