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Karl Michael: “Music is love in search of a word”

Some pieces of advice I wish someone told me when I first started would be to stay in the studio and write as much as you can. Even if you’re in the studio and you don’t feel up to it, you can still learn and find inspiration from somewhere. I write my songs from emotion […]

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Some pieces of advice I wish someone told me when I first started would be to stay in the studio and write as much as you can. Even if you’re in the studio and you don’t feel up to it, you can still learn and find inspiration from somewhere. I write my songs from emotion and I do suffer from down days, but being in the room with other inspiring writers and being a human sponge and absorbing everything makes me a better songwriter. Also, I would say to prioritize your mental health. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you need it. Your music will only reflect on how you are feeling.


As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Karl Michael.

Over the course of his remarkable career, Karl Michael has collaborated with some of the biggest names in music and penned massive hits for plenty of other artists, but now, the British-born singer and songwriter is finally ready to step out on his own this year. Recorded with all-star producers Jon Levine (Dua Lipa, The Struts, Alessia Cara) and Scott Spock (Rihanna, Britney Spears, Avril Lavigne), Michael’s extraordinary new solo material showcases his prodigious gifts as both a craftsman and a performer, mixing addictive hooks and slick, mesmerizing arrangements with soaring vocals and deep, probing lyrics. Written in his adopted hometown of Nashville, the songs are mature, philosophical slices of R&B-tinged pop that hint at everything from James Arthur and Musiq Soulchild to Maroon 5 and Sam Smith as they reflect on the emotional rollercoaster of Michael’s personal and professional life. Each track could be a radio smash on its own, but taken as a collection, they reveal the evolution of an artist who continues to grow stronger and more intuitive with each and every song he writes.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I was born in England but moved to Ireland at the age of 1. I then moved back to England when I was about 11 or 12. From 12 to 17, I lived in Northampton then from 17 to 19 I lived in Nottingham. Then I moved to London and now I reside in Nashville. Safe to say, I moved around a lot. It wasn’t easy, but I met so many amazing people.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

When I was at a friend’s house party when I was 15, I heard a song and it did something to me. Since that night, I knew that music was my path.

Then a few years down the road, I was working construction on a job site and overheard a song I had written for another artist play on the speakers. I knew at that moment that I needed to get out of there. It was at that moment that I planned my trip to Nashville.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

The day that I wrote with Bruno Mars, I met Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David. Benny Blanco was also there and I had no idea who any of them were (Apart from Bruno but he wasn’t a huge star at the time.) It was one of those crazy “What just happened?!” moments.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I think the funniest mistake I’ve made was when I was 19, I got on stage and sang completely out of key because I drank about 7 coronas. It was a little embarrassing. Now, I only drink 1 before stage.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I just released my first single as a solo artist, “Beautiful Creature,” and there is more new music to come this year! Apart from working on my own project, I’ve had the pleasure of working with new acts such as YUNGBLUD, James Smith and many more. I’m always looking for concepts and new acts to work with. I’ll always be a songwriter first, whether it’s for me or for someone else.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

Spending most of my time in London, I grew up in an incredibly multicultural place and I love it. From my experience living in America, I think it’s important to see how other countries live. You start to notice the things that we take for granted, but I’m not a political person and like to keep my opinions to myself.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Some pieces of advice I wish someone told me when I first started would be to stay in the studio and write as much as you can. Even if you’re in the studio and you don’t feel up to it, you can still learn and find inspiration from somewhere. I write my songs from emotion and I do suffer from down days, but being in the room with other inspiring writers and being a human sponge and absorbing everything makes me a better songwriter. Also, I would say to prioritize your mental health. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you need it. Your music will only reflect on how you are feeling.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I think it’s really important to choose the days that you work and write music. As I said before, I have down days like everyone and if it’s just me and a personal friend writing, I tend to take the day off because no one wants to work with negative energy. Mental health is really important and makes for a better songwriter in my eyes. The advice I give to someone starting out: look after yourself and the music will look after you.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

There are a couple of charities that I want to get involved in when the time is right. I’d love a charity for kids that have been through trauma and abuse in life. This is something I feel strongly about. Also, I would love to help with cancer research. Too many people suffer and lose friends and family members to cancer. I want to help those people. And like I said before, mental health is a big priority for me. I would love to be able to help others through their struggle.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Honestly, there are so many people that have gotten me to where I am. My publisher, Janice Brock, has stuck with me through thick and thin. I’ve learned so much from this woman and her strength and intelligence to this day still inspire me. I only ever want to make her proud. She has let me live in her house and helped me get a job on a construction site to pay for more flights out to Nashville. I will be working with Janice for the rest of my life.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

When I was 18, I was on a bus on my way to a job that I hated and I found a small piece of paper that was left on the seat and it said “Music is love in search of a word.” This quote really stuck with me and I now have it tattooed on my chest.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I would love to hang out with Johnny Depp! As a kid, I loved his movies and still do! I find him super intriguing and think that he would be a fucking cool guy.

How can our readers follow you online?

You guys can follow me on all socials and my website — @itskarlmichael.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

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