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MikeyGeorge - MNZ Interview: Background Noise 008: MikeyGeorge

30 Jul 2023 // An interview by Gaby Ivanov-Giraldo

R&B singer and producer MikeyGeorge has hit our headlines this month, taking some time with Muzic.NZ to answer meaningful questions about music, career shifts, young influences and keeping our chin up despite the obstacles. His creative process started out humble, and by having genuine goals and aspirations regarding music, Mikey George continues to mold and create a solid name for himself as an artist. Coming in hot this August will be the showcasing of his new single, where he also gives thanks to his collaborators and partisans along the way. 

At what age did you get into music, and what was the first instrument you ever played? 

Right from Primary School I’ve gravitated towards music and the performing arts. My dad and my brother were my influences during my foundational years as both are talented drummers and musicians. With this, I naturally followed suit and picked up drums as my first instruments. Wasn’t until much later that I started teaching myself to sing (both at school and at home).

Which artists influenced you the most music wise?

My main inspiration (and I’m more than sure for many other young Maori and Pasifika kids) was William Singe. Bear in mind, being the age of 19 and had never recorded my voice, let alone attempted making music, I saw a few of his covers and my curiosity was sparked then. I remember seeing a thumbnail of one of his covers and saw myself in there. My thoughts at that moment were “Wait, if he can do it then why don’t I give it a shot?” That’s really where my journey as an individual artist started. From his covers I was introduced to the world of Hip Hop & R&B. Taking inspiration from the likes of H.E.R, Ella Mai, Bryson Tiller, PartyNextDoor, Summer Walker & Drake. Along the way I’ve been equally inspired by the local talent in New Zealand like Sam V, Mikey Mays, Kennyon Brown, Donnell Lewis but the list goes on, there’s so much talent here!

Also shout out to the brothers Brandon Lyng, Caco & Abhi (insanely talented artists/producers). We collaborated in a group named A4Forty in a time where I was still building my musical foundations. These collaborations we did are a highlight in my journey so far, and I wouldn’t be where I am currently without these experiences, so shout out to the boys haha. 

You’ve got a new single on the way in the first week of August… Tell us about this! What was your creative process, and how did you come to the collaboration stage? 

Yeah, I’m super excited to get this one out! This was just a case of one of my best mates Brandon Lyng showcasing some of his beats he’s been working on. Funnily enough we met each other in line for William Singe’s Auckland show in 2017, started chatting about music and we’ve been closely collaborating ever since! He’d already laid down a crazy unorthodox hook for the beat, so it was just a matter of carving out melodies and verse ideas for both of us.

Lyrically, we’re both drawing from our experiences of relationships and love, and how times change these experiences in different ways than you’d previously anticipate. So, it's more or less a notion to that. It’s a moody, R&B style track and I can’t wait for it to be released!

What are the main ways you choose to network, expose, or advertise your music? 

Mainly through social media like Instagram, TikTok. I’m a bit of a hermit when it comes to getting outside and performing, but I’m looking forward to getting out and performing more.

I’ve got some food for thought on the world of social media… Do you think there are enough platforms at the moment for musicians to use, or do you think we could benefit from something new to TikTok, Instagram and Facebook? 

I think social media currently is such a powerful tool to market yourself, there’s so many chances and opportunities to get recognised amongst the masses. Currently, I feel like there’s plenty of platforms to utilise, I think it’s more of a case of pushing yourself more onto those platforms i.e., more content.

In my experience, the well-recognised Tall Poppy Syndrome here in NZ has been a hurdle to marketing myself as an artist, and I know I’m not alone in that either. I feel like we’re making progress, but there’s still work to be done there, so I think perseverance and consistency is key.

I absolutely loved your cover of Snooze by SZA earlier this year. It so happened to be on Valentine’s Day, when our hometown got absolutely wrecked by a cyclone. Tell me, what helped you through this strange time period mentally? 

Yeah, it’s extremely sad to hear how many people have been affected by the flooding in such a small window of time. Fortunately, myself and my family & friends haven’t been impacted by the floods for which I’m extremely grateful. However, equally scary for all of us. In one of the floods earlier this year, I got stuck on the motorway right behind where it flooded near AUT North Shore for about 3 hours and had to drive through high water levels to get home (my phone had died and I was low on gas, which didn’t help haha sorry mum). Thankfully, I came out okay, but mentally driving home there were definitely thoughts of “Ooo okay I could be in trouble here.” My thoughts are with those families affected and hope things have been getting better.

I understand you’re deeply passionate about the community and mental health spaces here in Tamaki Makaurau. What inspired this journey, and are there any life journeys you’d want to share with our budding artists that created this purpose in you? 

For me, I’ve always had a passion for helping people. I’m a self-confessed people pleaser at heart haha. Having worked in the service industry my whole life, I feel like I’m now heading in the right direction career wise to align myself more with these skills and beliefs that I have. Also, with experiences surrounding mental health issues within friends and family too, this has made me realise that this is something that I can utilise more for the people that need it most. Following your heart seems to be the best way forward, it only took me ‘til this age to learn haha.

I think your song Stay The Night is gorgeous, romantic and well-produced. Could you give us a hint at the story in this song’s lyrics? 

Thank you so much! This track was heavily inspired by my relationship and during the foundational (rose tinted glasses) stage. More or less it’s a story about when you’re both starting to let your guards down, catching all them feels, and start practicing vulnerability with each other. We were both eagerly excited to spend time together, but also not wanting to put all our cards on the table too early. The line “Hindsight is twenty twenty and I’m running blind” hints to where you’re aware of the risks of love and new beginnings but taking a leap anyway. Gotta shoot your shot I guess, cause now I can say I’m happier than ever haha.

What about In My Mind? That one’s got a compelling, slowed down R&B beat that really sticks in your head. Not to mention your voice which is mesmerising. When did you produce this one, and what inspired it?

I produced this one earlier in the year, just after Christmas and New Years I believe. This track was inspired by my partner, who is gorgeous, sweet and has such a caring nature. Essentially, it’s about my internalised thoughts about how you stay up late thinking about them, and also thinking about how the future could be with this person, with a sprinkle of simping haha. All my songs are inspired by love, and I don’t think there can ever be too many love songs out there. R&B is so widely accepted and listened to, and it just so happens that this is my genre of choice, so it makes the writing and producing process so enjoyable.

I understand you’re on the path to a career change now. During this transitional process I’m sure you’ve reconnected with music in many ways. Are there any last thoughts you’d like to leave us with, about the future and what you look forward to as an individual?

All I can say is I’m so excited for the future. I’ve had a lot of twists and turns in both my music and career journey and things are slowly starting to align themselves to who I am. If you’re an aspiring artist who wants to get into music, or just continue their musical journey then just keep chasing it. I started from a dodgy music producing software with a very basic mic, and although there are PLENTY of cringey moments through the creative process, you owe it to that person at the start to keep chasing that goal. There’s plenty of gems along the way that you won’t anticipate, but those moments are what keep us inspired, proud and hungry.

 

About MikeyGeorge

Hailing from the North Shore of Auckland, 23 year old, MikeyGeorge is a chill up-and-comer
whose self-produced wavey beats and sultry vocals are deeply rooted in soulful R&B.

With two collaborative mixtapes and three singles already under his belt in just the last year, MikeyGeorge has found much success in his lane. Even garnering a co-sign from NZ heavyweight, Mikey Mayz.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for MikeyGeorge

Releases

There are no releases to display for MikeyGeorge.

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