It’s been four years since Michael Lowman dropped his debut album and now, he’s finally made his comeback. With the release of his new album ‘PopRadio’, Michael takes a few sonic and professional risks. As the title suggests, the star plays in a more pop space than on his previous record and he has released this record independently. This week, Michael chats to us about the new album, his impressive collaborations and the decision to release independently.
Congrats on PopRadio! Talk to us a bit about the sonic direction you took on this album and how it’s different from your 2013 release ‘Crayon Boxes’?
Sonically its apples and pears, disguised as bigger apples. It’s a Michael Lowman record. There will always be a signature artistic essence that sets me a part from the rest, be that my breathy ’still finding myself’ vocals or my bad ass guitar playing, it’s still me: brutal honesty, raw discovery and a knack for jumping into the deepest part of every ocean – every damn time. The best way I can describe this record is exploration: both musical and personal.
It’s been almost four years since your last record. Why the wait?
A couple reasons – again both musical and personal. I was never going to rush into another album like Crayon Boxes. I was always going to explore the limits to what I’m capable of. That’s just how I’m built. I see these first few releases as my ‘paying dues’ period – an abundance of learning and failing to a certain extent. I know what would be successful now, I could easily go the EDM route and have more people turn up to a show, but to what end? I don’t ever want to box myself in, and I realise that’s making it difficult for myself now, but with what I’ve got planned, you’re going to look back on this interview and realise there was a whole lot of method to my madness.
This time, you created the project yourself – without the help of a record label. What was the most challenging part of the creation process?
Honestly? The most challenging part of the creation process was my own idea of the always unattainable goal of perfection. I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to that, though I’m coming to realise that it’s both a good and bad thing.
Why name the album ‘PopRadio’?
PopRadio is the title that just happened to attach itself to the album. It was one of the many organic moments that occurred while creating the album. When I see the title ‘PopRadio’, I see pink 80s neon and I hear the synthy, hip-hop goodness that the record is all about. I couldn’t have named it anything else.
You’ve collaborated with some incredible artists. What drew you to working with these particular names?
My own curiosity drew me to these artists, for sure. Ross Jack is a good friend of mine and we always wanted to do something together. Karlien was a shot in the dark. I knew I had to have a brilliant female vocal for that track ‘MixTape’ and I was beyond thrilled when she loved the idea as much as I did! The Khuli Chana feature was out of nowhere: he walked into studio, we met, I played him the track ‘Power&Glory’ and he flipped out! By the end of the next day we had finalised all but the slightest elements to the song. It is the most organic thing to have happen to me in music. The final feature kind of just happened as well. Lelo is the girl who sang backing vocals on the record. Her voice is so incredible that the first time I heard her on one of my songs I knew I had to write a song for the both of us. ‘Stand Up & Feel the Love’ is that song.
Where did the inspiration for ‘Power & Glory’ come from?
‘Power & Glory’ is, if we break it down, a blues song. I wrote it on acoustic guitar and play it as a blues number when not performing it with Khuli. One of my favorite bars in Cape Town is called ‘The Power And The Glory’ – they spin Marvin Gaye records all day long, it’s fantastic! I came up with the main melody for my song while sitting in that bar… hence the name of the song. I love it! It’s hard hitting, old school sounding rock/blues-hiphop with some fire verses from my man Khuli Chana. Easily one of my favourite songs off the album. It’s a little cheeky too.
You’ve been releasing some gaming videos on YouTube as well recently. Tell us more about that.
I have, yes! Like I said, I’m just a geek at heart. I’ve been passionate about video games my entire life. It goes back to playing racing car sims with my dad growing up, always a great memory of him for me. Anyway, I’ve decide to integrate my love for gaming with my passion for music. I’ve started filming “Let’s Play” videos – for all my playaz out there, you know what I’m talking about – and I couldn’t be happier with it! It’s early days, but if you’re into video games with epic story content, then head on over to my YouTube channel (youtube.com/michaellowmanmusic) and check it out! I’m still finding my feet, but it’s about the journey. That being said, there will still be a ton of music content on the channel as well, so if you’re with me for the music, don’t worry… that’s still my main focus.
Now that the album is out, what else can we expect from you over the next few months?
With the album out, I’ve turned my attentions to the live show. I’m putting together a kick-ass set. I just want to create my own vibe on stage – a unique Michael Lowman energy that will transport us all to another place for an hour or two. I can’t wait to sing for y’all!!
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