A couple weeks ago, INterrupted spoke with Big Mike, the ceremonious singer of Day 26, at the TCB 54 Hundred Bar & Grill on Nivens Rd., in Charlotte, NC.
This, like many other interviews, was a treat…. Big Mike sang while the music played. He danced and twirled as though he were one of the “Temptations.” He socialized and laughed with authenticity. Big Mike wasn’t promoting anything other than his gentle spirit-- he was a calmness in the wake of a storm.
Big Mike made a bedazzling entrance onto television back in 2007 when Sean P Diddy Combs handpicked picked him, and other members of Day 26 during VH1’s Making the Band Season 4. The talented bunch went on to make several records together before splitting back in 2011. Each member, including Big Mike, worked on solo projects, which brings us to this moment…
Big Mike, in all of his impeccable modesty, released a sequence of singles from his latest mix-tape entitled “Bonus Tracks,” with “How Do I Go On” being my favorite song.
In “How Do I Go On,” Big Mike sings in celestial tones that’s allusive to the “Boys 2 Men” music. The track provokes emotion and desire through unfathomable passion—a deep sentiment that’s stretched through the depths of time in Angelique harmony.
So what all do you have going on? It’s a project that I put out. It’s a selection of music that my fans asked for. It’s about 7 songs. When I put out “How Do I Go On” as a single, they just kept wanting more. So, I gave that to them and I’m pushing that right now. I also have a new song called “Regret it.” The first single was letting people know where I come from because this is what I do. The next single is for people to dance to. I had to give them a club vibe. So, I gave them the best of both worlds. For me, I feel as though I don’t really have a genre. I don’t put myself in a box. Listening to my music, I have a lot of different things on it. I can slow it down or I can speed it up. I can give you pop, old-school or whatever it is you want.
As a solo artist, is your career what you thought it would be after being with Day 26?
It’s pretty much what I thought it was. A lot goes into not having a machine. That’s when you don’t have a big record label and you don’t have a lot of people doing those things for you. Not having a label is a different story for me now that I’m on my own. Everything is reliant on me. So, if something doesn’t get done, it’s my fault. I don’t have anyone to blame. It’s a lot of things that you wouldn’t know because of the label, and it’s a lot of things you learn, kinda like growing pains. But, I appreciate it because I can do what I want to do. I can do it my way, with no strings, or nobody holding me down. Whether it’s successful or not… but it will be successful.
How do you rate success?
Success is just doing what you love to do. Every day that I wake up, I just do what I love to do. I don’t have a bad thought about how I don’t want to do something on a daily basis. A lot people go to work miserable, every day. That’s not success. I don’t care about how much money you make, or power. If you aren’t happy, or you aren’t in your purpose, you aren’t successful.
Does style and image play a major role in your success? Well, now, yeah, it does. It plays a major role nowadays. That’s what entertainment is. Not only do you need a sound, more importantly, you need a look, the personality, and the things that people gravitate to—that’s more important than talent nowadays, or how they perceive it to be.
Do you want to be known as “Big Mike” the artist, or known as “Big Mike, formally of Day 26?”
Until I start putting out music that I have now, and until I can keep it going, that’s how people had to go off of me. I don’t mind that because Day 26 is where I started. Those are my brothers. If we had a show today, and we could work out to where everyone could be there, I would do it. There’s no love lost or anything like that, it’s just how it’s going right now. As far as the title, that’s how I started. That’s my platform. I would never go against that. I don’t mind when people say it. It will eventually wear off because of the music world speaks for itself. They’ll start seeing me solo, where I used to be in those places with Day 26, and then they’ll start saying Big Mike. I don’t mind because it gives people something to remember me by.
You mentioned the cd of sample favorites, do you have new music? I have the mix-tape with 7 songs of my own music. I have a single, “How Do I Go On,” which is like an acapella record. I had to mix my voice and create something different. You know, that’s something that people aren’t doing. My next single called “Regret it”—it’s more of a hip-hop kind of feel—more of what they are doing today.
Have you gotten a lot of feedback with the new singles? I have gotten a lot of feedback. People love it and people really vibe to it. It’s for the schools, colleges, and clubs. My age bracket is so wide that I want to do something for everyone. I just love doing music.
Do you recommend that people who are under labels, branch out and become independent artist, and what is the benefit to being an independent artist? I’ll say this… If you have the funds, it’s better to do it yourself, if you know what you’re doing. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you need to go and talk to someone. It can become very hectic. It takes a lot. It’s 24/7, no matter what. A lot of it is financial. You’re really beating the horse by trying to pay for this, pay for that, and promote everything. If you can pay for all that, I would suggest that you be an independent artist. If you know how to maneuver, work, and sell yourself as far as being an artist, then you really don’t need a label.
It’s important to get a good marketing team. It’s okay if you can market yourself, but at some point, you are going to need a good team. You can’t be successful without a team. It’s hard for independent artist because—well, it’s hard for independent artist like me, because it’s hard for me to let people do things for me… I don’t feel as though a person is going to do things the way I want it done. I want it to be done because it’s my thing. No matter how hard they go, I don’t think they’ll go as hard as I would, because it’s my project. It’s hard for me to delegate.
Would you like to work with anyone else? I would work with pretty much, anyone. I like working with different people. I would like to work with Pharrell. He’s my favorite artist. I’ve worked with many people, but he would be the one that I’d work with as far as a solo artist; him, and Mark Ronsom. He did “Uptown Funk.”
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