Atlanta based musician and actor Michael Malarkey might be currently causing a stir with his role as Enzo in famous TV series The Vampire Diaries, but right now, his grand musical abilities and passion for songwriting shine through as Michael is about to play a sold out show at Wilton’s Music Hall in London. His charismatic first single Through The Night And Back Again is taken from his debut EP Feed The Flames which captures Michael’s honest, engaging story-telling and haunting vocals. MGMB speaks to the multitalented artist about his music, influences and plans for 2015.
Music Gets Me By is happy to introduce you to Florida based singer-songwriter Kristopher James, who creates interest with his captivating music loaded with soft, acoustic guitar tunes and stunning vocals, leaving you under its spell and forming a dazzling atmosphere all around.
In our following interview, we’ve discussed Kristopher’s involvement with music, songwriting, performing live and hopes for the future.
Could you describe the journey of you getting involved with music and what has been your main influence to start performing as a solo artist?
I started music on a lie. Told some friends I played drums … They booked a show and I had to learn quick. Since then, after learning the guitar and figure out I might be able to sing in key, it’s me trying to figure out who I am, what I feel and how to write it down. Being ok with insecurities and being ok with singing them out.
If you had to pick just one of your tracks to impress a new potential fan, which one would it be and why?
Ha! That’s a hard question because I have a love/hate relationship with them. “My Heart Wasn’t Ready” is a song I still listen to and enjoy. I like the range and emotion of the song itself, and the space between the notes are just as tense as the emotion.
What’s the best atmosphere for you to work on your songs?
7:30pm in my living room after putting my son to sleep. Sitting alone on the hardwood floor trying to fill the room with something.
Do you remember writing your first ever song and the inspiration behind it?
Haha!! Yes! It was called “Fallen Fallacies Fail”. I was a big fan of alliteration. Literally the whole song was filled with alliteration. If there’s a cut somewhere, I’d hide it or hire someone to take it out.
How about your very first experience playing in front of a live audience? What was it like?
Standing on a stage by myself and singing songs I wrote was nerve wracking. Everything from “am I in key” to “why the hell would anyone want to listen to these songs” went through my head. But in the end, I didn’t pee myself, pass out or throw up, so it was ok.
What song of yours do you love to perform the most?
“Regrettably Said”. It feels like the song is a progressive crescendo and it leaves room for whatever emotion is present when I sing. Loud, strong notes or soft, falsetto notes … I really enjoy not knowing how it will feel.
What type of music did you listen to while growing up and how has your music taste evolved over the years?
Everything from Smashing Pumpkins and Sonic Youth to Rancid and Bad Religion. The angst of my youth has matured, I think.
If you could record a track with anyone in the world, either dead or alive, who would it be?
Alive – Tom Waits, Bob Dylan or Paul McCartney.
Dead – Jeff Buckley, Elliot Smith or Lou Reed.
As an artist, is there anything special you hope to be able to accomplish with your music?
I had someone ask me that same question and at the time I couldn’t answer it. If all that happens with whatever I write is a drink and a song, then I’m content. If somehow, for some reason, people want to hear what I write, I’ll still take a drink and sing a song.
I’m attempting to finish a full album catalog.
Possibly look at more collaboration and studio time. Besides that, just singing and drinking with friends like you.
8th March 2012 – An Acoustic Performance by Justin Furstenfeld/Blue October at Dingwalls, London
When you love a musician/band whose music and words save your days and it’s there for you whenever you feel happy, sad, angry or hopeless, you always wish you’d have a chance to see them live one day.
And Blue October‘s music has been there for me in many situations. It’s been one of my greatest wishes to see this band live but I was never lucky before, until I found out they were going to do an acoustic tour over here in UK. I got tickets and realized that some dreams do come true.
I was going to see one of my music heroes Justin Furstenfeld live. Man, whose honesty and emotions touched me and helped me to express and let out many feelings through his music.
I had to pinch myself a few times to realize that the day has come. I was on my way to see Justin’s acoustic performance at Dingwalls in London.
There was a long queue outside the venue when we got there. It was great to be among other passionate fans of this amazing band.
The venue was nice, small and intimate. We got near the front and I was really excited at this point and I still could not believe I was there.
The first support act was an English musician called Dan Shears who played a few folk tracks and sang really beautifully. He made the audience laugh with his funny liners between the songs. Check him out on Facebook!
The second support act was an American singer/songwriter Tori Vasquez who’s been supporting Blue October’s Justin and Ryan through the acoustic tour here in UK. She blew us away with her stunning voice and great songs. This girls is so talented. We got her EP later on and she signed it for us and told us how much she loved playing over here. Check out Tori’s music on her Facebook page!
During one of Tori’s songs called Let it go, Justin surprisingly appeared on stage and sang the song with her. That was a very special and amazing moment. The audience went kinda crazy!
As we all waited impatiently for Justin to finally come on stage and perform, the moment has come and he appeared, joined by Ryan who plays the violin and piano in the band. I was really happy to see Ryan as I always admired his killer violin skills which bring the originality to Blue October’s music.
Starting with very powerful performance of Come In Closer, I stood there speechless and overwhelmed. As I looked around, I saw people with tears in their eyes. We could feel every single emotion coming from Justin’s performance. It was so real. Incredible.
During Into The Ocean, the whole audience joined in by singing the famous lyrics: I want to swim away but don’t know how, sometimes it feels just like I’m falling in the ocean…
One of the songs I hoped to hear that night was one of my personal favorites, Hate Me. This song means a lot to me and being able to see Justin playing and singing an acoustic version of it was much more than I imagined. I sang and felt every word. One of the greatest wow moments I’ve experienced.
Let it go, The 21st or Graceful Dancing… you could just break down by the beautifulness and emotion of it all. Especially when Justin started to talk about his daughter, how much he misses her while he’s away and that he loves and needs to sing about her to us when he’s not with her.
That’s when the most emotional moment came as he sang The Feel Again (Stay) with tears falling down his face. It was really heartbreaking to watch, but also so beautiful to see how much he loves his little baby girl Blue.
There was some laugh involved too as Justin told us a story about how he and Ryan started to play music together or simply just making jokes with the audience.
My other favorite performance of the night was The Worry List; while singing ‘Take me off your worry list, it’ll be better that way and I’m doin’ fine and I’ve got plenty of friends around…’ Justin kept shouting ‘thank you!’ to the audience.
Finishing with another gorgeous song about his daughter, Blue Does, Justin left the stage and Ryan did us a treat by playing a stunning violin piece at the end.
Justin surprised the audience by coming out and shaking some peoples hands before going backstage for good.
I still think about this night and feel extremely grateful for being able to be there. I don’t know if I ever see this band live again, I really hope so, but even if I didn’t, the memory and feeling I took from this night is something nobody will take away from me. Ever.
Here is couple of videos taken on the night by red12381