There’s No Such Thing As Taking A Break
As for Michael McCluney [Big Mike], taking a hiatus is a no-go.
After splitting from R&B group “Day 26” around 2011, the melodic vocalist continued to make enticing songs.
For the last 9 years or-so, the South Carolina native worked on a series of singles, including his latest album, “Bonus Tracks,” which was emitted last year.
Big Mike just released a new EP called “Lay Around.” The ditty blends beautiful pieces of music and majestic ballads, to create a tale about romance and reciprocation.
“Lay Around" was produced by “First Contact," a group that was based out of Detroit, but they’re in Atlanta," said Mike.
“I had to do something for the people, now, because not everyone wants to turn-up. I had to do something where it can be with just you, and just your counterpart.
Ya’ll, can vibe, or maybe you've met someone new... you can vibe to a song, and not go crazy, or take it directly to the bedroom. You can be outdoors, chilling at the beach, or lounging. It’s a good feeling record," he said.
Recently, Big Mike performed at the BluNotes Café in Charlotte. He's currently a featured artist on the “Konnected Tour,” alongside Judah Priest. With many years of industry experience, Big Mike is able to utilize his expertise while on the excursion, as a judge that focuses on mentoring, as well as artist development, to help prepare soloist for success.
Mike said that he is just going with the flow, and that he’s thankful to be here, making music. He’s taking things day-by-day.
“Next year, I plan to do what I’m doing on a grander scale. I hope the brand is in a different place just to get more opportunities to Charlotte, to the kids I work with... Hopefully, next year, I’ll be able to start at the schools I want, and then we’ll be able to put kids in after-school programs."
In what ways do you work with children in our area?
Right now, I still have vocal lessons, and I dance with the kids at the studio.
What’s your muse? How are you able to bring intensity to the song “Lay Around?”
It’s not hard because I actually went through it. If I take on a record, I have to write into it. Ninety-percent of what I do, I’ve either written it, or I had a hand in writing it. It was something I went through in life. Very rarely, will I, take on a project that I’m not affiliated with at all. Any event that I do, I have a great imagination and I can put myself into those words—it’s just like being a great story teller.
In light of the recent tragedies sparking across the US, what are your thoughts on the black people versus the police?
I think it’s sad that it had to come down to this. It’s like we’ve taken fifty steps back. Everything that we’ve learned, that our ancestors taught us, our parents, and our generations before us, that paved the way to do things-- it’s like, null and void at this point.
There are still people out here who are killing. They are getting away with it, and it really has to stop.
I don’t feel like it’s as bad as it was then, because back then, it was really out of control; but I really thought that we were past this point, where you could kill a man and get away with murder. It’s happened too many times and I’m very happy that we are uniting as a people—people are coming together and voicing their opinion about it. It’s not right as a human being. #BlackLivesMatter, that’s the point of it. No one should be killed in the street, and nothing, be done about it.
I don’t condone any of the violence, but I am happy with the way things are going. People are peaceful in their protesting, and they are standing for what they believe in. You can’t ask for any more than that. People come off on this generation as though they take everything for granted, or they don’t have any accountability—it’s because everything has been given to them. At a time, right now, you will either need to put up or shut up because if you don’t step up, everything will be taken from you, and it could be your life or your kids life. You have to do something about it, and that makes me very happy.
Did you go out and protest?
When I came back in town on Sunday, I went straight downtown and did my part.
Were you shocked that an officer killed a man in Charlotte? Were you shocked about the riots and protest?
I was very shocked. I was out the night before. I left, and the next day when I woke up, I saw what was going on. I was like, “Wow.” I was taken aback from that point.
Do you think you’ll work on a project that influences something positive with regards to what happened in Charlotte?
I actually reached out to a couple of people, and that was one of the reasons I was out Sunday. They were working on a big unification concert. It was something to be a part of at one point. It was with Anthony Hamilton, Fantasia, Pastor John P. Kee—I was going to support them, and go out to the concert, and have a good time. It was all about giving to the city. Other than that, I would love to be part of the music aspect of it. That’s who I am—giving the musical part of it.
What is your driving force to keep doing music?
To be honest, it actually hit me the other day—it’s the people. It’s my passion and purpose to do this. When I see the fans, and people that actually come out to see me, they tell me their stories about how long they’ve been a fan, and how far they’ve traveled just to hear me to sing. I really appreciate it, and that’s what keeps me going.
They remind me that this is my purpose. This is what I was spared for, to be able to help people get through, help people smile, and help them to remember a time by bridging the gap between memories and music. Whatever it is, music is the biggest cope for whatever’s going on in life. Music helps in so many ways. Just to be blessed with the ability of wooing people, I take that with great responsibility, and I don’t take it for granted.
Do you have a favorite R&B artist like Fantasia for instance? What’s your favorite music?
I listen to everything. You’d be surprised at the music I listen to. My playlist is very broad. I listen to pop music, and a lot of doo-wop music. It just depends on how I’m feeling. I came up, out of the church, and for me the music is about a feeling. Depending on what I’m feeling, that’ll decide on what I’m listening to, and it doesn’t matter what artist it is. If its sounds good and it makes me feel some type of way, I latch on to that, and that’s what music is to me. It’s not about the face—it’s the message behind the music, and how you make me feel, with what you’re saying.
What’s your favorite song?
That’s too hard(laughter). That’s like saying I have a favorite moment or a favorite emotion that I feel all the time. I don’t. I don’t have an emotion that I feel all the time. It’s always something that’s constant and it’s always revolving.
Favorite get crunk song?
I like the new song by Kanye West called “Champions.” I like that song. I run that… It’s a local artist here, by the name of “V4,” and the song is called “Body Work.” I actually workout to that song too. There’s a lot of different songs that I listen to, my brother and his wife, Lashonda, her song. It’s called “Closer.” It’s another vibing song. I just like feel-good music.
Is your new song getting radio spins?
We just started the campaign in Charlotte. We’ve placed it into the hands of a few radio stations.
The video for "Lay Around," isn't released just yet, but you can follow Big Mike on social networks (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) @iambigmike, to stay up-to-date with that prodcution
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