Having music around me nearly 24/7 (including the Wiggles, via my two and half year old daughter), I sometimes get in a zone where sounds start to run together; voices seem the same, beats seem repetitive and I need to constantly switch from artist to artist in order to keep going. Then an email about Mikey Wax was sent to me, and after visiting his site, I just knew I hit something pure and original. I had his songs on loop for the rest of the day and not once did I get distracted – Wax had my undivided attention.
I’m not the only one either – Wax is receiving a LOT of attention these days. For starters, his debut 2008 release, “Change Again” rose to #46 on the Top 100 iTunes Pop chart in US, UK, Canada and Australia. That was right out of the gate! Not many people can claim that much credibility on their first attempt! Wax says, “’Change Again’ is my baby. I spent nearly two years recording that album. ’Change Again’ is everything I wanted to be but couldn’t fully attain at the place I was in as a musician and person.” It was “Change Again” that best illustrated what was instilled in Wax at a very young age, back when Wax was already building his repertoire of pop and rock music standards.
Growing up on Long Island, Wax says, “I played the piano, and it was pretty much standard to know every Billy Joel song. I knew all the Beatles songs by the time I was ten, which I owe a thank you to my older brother Evan for constantly playing around the house.” It took a little while for Wax to find his niche in the industry, but in college he found his place and purpose for music. “The first time I remember thinking I was onto something was when I wrote ‘Last Great Song’ as a freshman in college, and all my friends in the dorm kept requesting to hear the song. It was a real song, with people singing the lyrics back to me. It let me know that I could potentially write songs that lots of people would want to hear. As far as my overall career, I saw a big jump when the music video for my song ’In Case I Go Again’ was featured on the homepage of YouTube last summer getting almost half a million hits in a week.”
The experience and confidence Wax gained from “Change Again” allowed “The Traveler” – his latest release – to develop into something much more powerful than he ever anticipated. “‘The Traveler’ was an idea I had to record six songs I wrote where the lyrics contained different places and concepts/stories behind those destinations. I think in the record I supposedly traveled to California, Israel, Berlin, Peru, Alabama, and maybe one or two more…oh and the moon,” Wax kids. “At the time, only Alabama was true, but I guess the EP was more about wanting to live, learn more, see more, feeling both independent and grown up.”
Wax goes on to say that like most true artists, inspiration for his sound can arrive out of nowhere, something reflected on “The Traveler”. “The inspiration came from my first real year of touring and being on the road…all the faces I had met, and people I had the chance to play for. I really wanted to make an album that had more of a 70’s singer/songwriter style, and I think I captured that best in the song “Birmingham”.
Inspiration for this young artist has kept him busy. Even as “The Traveler” is being pushed out right now, Wax has no plans of slowing down. He’s currently working on his second full length album with producer Warren Huart who has previously worked with The Fray and Augustana. “I want my next record to build upon what I’ve done so far by adding a little more pop and up-tempo songs, and I think Warren and I are going to make an awesome album together!”
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in covering music, the real ones are the ones that do it because they can’t imagine not doing it. A true musician accepts their calling and uses that voice as fuel to create something memorable. There’s a passion, a drive involved that other art forms seem to come up short. I think Wax says it best, “I’d like to hope my shows make you feel something inside, even if I’m not perfect, I hope that passion shines through.”
For more information visit www.MikeyWax.com