Manchester-born singer-songwriter, Mike Watson, storms back from the break-up of his band with a passionate and fiery solo career. With the release of his latest single ‘Black and Blue’ out earlier this month, we chatted with him to see what is in store next for this rising star.
How did music play a part in your upbringing?
I grew up in a very musical family. My Dad gave me a guitar as soon as I was big enough to hold one, and my Grandmas both sang in choirs. So music was everywhere. Must have been painful for them to hear me struggling with the guitar in those early days, as I was very, very bad…
What motivated you to continue to create music after the band spilt up?
It was my decision to leave the band and concentrate on the music I enjoyed most. The band was an amazing experience and I learnt a lot from it, but I was never 100% onboard with the music and I knew to be completely happy musically I’d have to go. Was tough to leave the safety net we had, but I’m glad I took the jump.
How is a solo career different from being in a band?
There are parts I enjoy more and parts I miss. I miss the comrade we had when travelling together etc, and there was a sense of ‘we’re all in this together’ when times got tough. But not having control over how I looked or what I sang was tough to live with. I’d also say there’s more pressure being a solo artist, as if I’m sick or my voice is rough I can’t rely on my mates to help me out.
Do you miss it at all or is there more freedom to create what you want to produce?
There are parts I miss, but the overriding factor in why I left was I wanted to be me.
You clearly have a strong Youtube community, how did you build this fanbase?
It’s taken a fair old time, just like anything worthwhile. But the thing that really kicked it off was when we started to cover songs from New Music Friday the day they came out. Some of the artists even started to retweet and share them such as Anne-Marie and Martin Solveig which was nice to see!
How would you describe your style of music to someone who has not heard of you before?
That’s a tough one. Essentially pop somewhere between The Weeknd, Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes…that help? Ha. The first two singles were more upbeat, but this last one ‘Black and Blue’ is more down tempo and dark. I guess whether you like it is up to you, but I’m proud of what’s come out.
What is the message behind your new single ‘Black and Blue’?
Black and Blue means a lot to me. It’s about having to break up and part ways with someone you still really care about. It’s a horrible situation to be in, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do for the best in the end. It’s been really nice even in the few weeks its been out to receive comments saying the songs helped others get through something similar.
You are set to release your debut EP in 2019, what can fans expect from it?
I’m very excited about it. Some of it I’ve written already and I’m going to be biased and say you’ll like it… but I can definitely say the tracks on there will be my best yet. Melodically, lyrically, production will all be ramped up again and I think there’s a little bit for everyone on it! Some darker down-tempo vibes, and some upbeat ‘bangers’ as my Grandad calls them….
Lastly, can fans expect to see you touring in 2019?
I’m planning to tour in the second half of next year, once the EP is released. Dates will be released via my socials so keep your eye out! Let’s just hope I’m fighting fit as I don’t have any band mates to now back me up 😉