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Michael Tolcher 
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 career.
 
"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 be funny.
 
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 I am."
 
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.


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