By Linda Spielman
Talented, truthful, honest, spirited, grounded,
sincere, introspective and light hearted are just a few words to describe
singer/songwriter Michael Tolcher. With some of today's music, we are pleasantly
digressing back to the true nuts and bolts of quality song writing and
live performances with such artists as Dave Matthews & John Mayer.
Michael Tolcher is also one of these stellar artists who is carving out
his own niche and identity, while winning over audiences worldwide. Maybe
it's his Southern charm and persona, and yet at times somewhat jaded view
of people, life and the world that make Michael Tolcher such a refreshing
artist to see and hear. His writing doesn't express things through rose
colored glasses. However, it quite possibly ignites a fire in the human
spirit by putting a sensitive and positive spin on things that allows the
listeners to be hopeful, happy and dance.
Sitting backstage at a recent show to
chat about his debut release "I Am", touring and life in general, I found
myself feeling as though I was catching up with an old friend. Michael
Tolcher's personality is magnetic, which effortlessly parlays itself into
his music. As he relaxes sitting a top a table in the lounge area backstage
swinging his legs, he speaks honestly and passionately about his influences
& experiences that have brought him to this point in his life and musical
"Once, when I was 16, this homeless guy,
who I refer to as a street prophet, asked me what I was going to do with
my life? I responded that I wanted to get into business. He got right up
in my face and calmly but with so much passion said, you are going to have
to grow fangs boy. He was so close that he spit in my face when he said
it. He made sure it was a message I would never forget. That was some of
the best advice I've gotten in dealing with life, and also using it when
getting into the music business," Tolcher recalls.
Taking that piece of advice into adulthood
and into the industry has enabled Tolcher to see things a bit more realistically
as a newcomer on the scene with a successful debut CD, yet never compromising
his sincerity and passion as a person and songwriter.
You could and easily compare Michael Tolcher
to the John Mayers, Dave Matthews and Gavin DeGraws of the music world.
And in some respect, his music holds up with the best of his musical peers.
But, there is something more to Tolcher's music. Tolcher takes chunky organic
rock/pop vibes and successfully incorporates distinct elements of R &
B, soul and urban grooves. For Tolcher blending these genres into his music
is a natural progression since urban music was a mainstay of the singer/songwriter's
youth, as well as a driving force for him today.
As a songwriter, Tolcher has a few goals
in mind for his listeners that he hopes they come away with from his music
provoke some sort of positive social awareness, move people to dance, get
loose and have fun. When he writes, he lets the songs take on their own
personalities and lets the combination of his music influences mold the
songs. He explains it this way, "Bakers bake cakes, pies, muffins
and truffles. As a writer, I want to be able to play all the styles of
music I enjoy and create songs that reflect my many influences."
Michael Tolcher has a pretty good grasp
on what is important in his career. Somehow envisioning him at this point,
as he sits across from me munching on an avocado as anything other than
a musician is hard to imagine. Although, at one time, Tolcher's dreams
and aspirations had him hopeful of being an Olympic athlete. Sidelined
by a leg injury, we now find Michael Tolcher very comfortable with his
second calling in life. He is comfortable with the direction his life has
taken, and has managed to stay extremely grounded; but yet not afraid to
Maybe, some of his outlook and passion
Tolcher emits is from his true humility to learn from others and gain knowledge
from them. During his days as a fledgling musician playing at the Atlanta
Federal Penitentiary, Tolcher befriended a man who would help mentor, guide
and support Tolcher's song writing. Inmate, Dr. Mutulu Shakur (Tupac Shakur"s
father), notes how impressed he was from the beginning with Tolcher's music
and gift of words. "In his music we are presented with the raw, clever
rejection of the forces of NORM, without belligerence. The truth and depth
of this artist inspires--begs us for a time of total honesty."
Michael Tolcher derives all his songs,
like most writers from life experiences, growth, pursuit of happiness and
contemplation. "I've been told that my songs are either spiritual or sexual.
To me that is a compliment on both fronts," Tolcher notes. "My philosophy
is that the human spirit is currently a bit suppressed," Tolcher further
adds. "It's being distracted by our way of life. My intention is to spark
that spirit and inspire it to act."
Tolcher"s debut CD, "I Am" has thrust
him into the spotlight of the touring circuit with the likes of Hanson,
Maroon 5, The Clarks, Gavin DeGraw, Howie Day and his own headlining gigs.
Collectively, the array of production people on this CD reads like a who's
who of popular music. The song, "Sooner or Later" was chosen as the theme
song for the show 'Life As We Know It'. Obviously, Tolcher is doing something
right with the list of great songs that he selected for "I Am". Tracks
like "Mission Responsible"& "Miracle" challenge us the listener to
break free from our self absorbed world, enlighten us to take responsibility
for our actions and make us realize what we do does effect others and the
world around us. The R&B and funk influence is personified in "No One
Above" & "Kiss and Tell" are infectious, toe-tapping, hip swaying songs
that prove you can write cool ass lyrics and pair them up with a great
groove. My personal favorite song, despite the major TV show endorsement
is "Sooner or Later". It's catchy, fun and radio format friendly, yet still
yielding a positive message.
"I Am" is a bit of a serious record, lyrically.
However, Michael Tolcher subtly brings his message across with rock, pop
and funk. Although he has a lot to say, you won't find Michael Tolcher's
music preachy. Just being in his company for a short time, you immediately
see his playful side. Even preparing to go on stage, doing his pre-show
vocal warm ups, he is dancing around and joking with his band members.
That person and persona are one in the same. That charisma, seductive charm
and playfulness comes across while he is on stage. One cannot help but
become engrossed in his songs with that kind of stage presence. He also
isn't afraid to mix it up a bit, having been known to break down a few
verses of "Whoop There It Is" or "MMMM Bop". What's also nice about seeing
Tolcher live is the element of surprise in hearing songs from "I Am" done
with arrangements different from that on the CD. Michael Tolcher's shows
are always fun and have a party-like atmosphere to them.
Tolcher best describes the title of the
CD as well as how it reflects him as a person. "I Am" means that as an
individual I exist in a way that is influential, and it's powerful, and
that I am as a source. I am. I exist. I'm a source of whatever work we
are as people-energy light, feeling, in my case sings. And also being the
title of the record, the record is what I am. It's a description of what
Michael Tolcher is one of those people
whether he was a singer or salesman, people would naturally gravitate towards
him. He has a lot to say, which "I Am" focuses on. He can make you think
as well as make you smile. Whether he is on stage, or backstage doing an
interview his ability to make people feel comfortable is effortless. Thus,
the way he writes songs is effortless.
Michael Tolcher has come a long way from
singing his first song at the age of four in the church choir. His talent,
message, music and personality is something that is a welcomed addition
to the music community.
a friend about this article
Want More ?
What Do You Think?
Fanspeak removed due to spam and abuse