Micah Bentley: New Music Singer Songwriter Interview: "Micah Bentley on the Journey"
September/28/2012 09:23 AM
“Micah Bentley on the Journey”
Interview by Nicole Hanratty
September 28, 2012
This Feature Friday Life of a Rock Star™ brings you new music from Bentley and an interview with lead singer songwriter Micah Bentley. His voice and music caught our attention and after interviewing him, we can’t help but believe he is headed for great things… See for yourself.
Monday, September 17, 2012
Nicole: Hi, Micah!
Micah: Hey, how are you?
Nicole: I’m fine, how are you?
Micah: Doing well.
Nicole: Are you on the East Coast right now?
Micah: No, I’m actually back in Phoenix right now. I just got back this weekend.
Nicole: Good. You’ve been busy. You want to tell me what’s been going on?
Micah: Yeah, really exciting stuff. Basically, got to release my new album called “Prone To Wander” on iTunes, and a lot of really cool fun things came from that, like not only just the release but I got some great response in the industry from a bunch of different people. So one thing that came about was the producer, his name’s David Bendeth--he did Paramore and a bunch of other people--he got a hold of some of my songs from that album and just really liked it. He just kind of randomly came up on the song, and he was instantly [saying], “I want to work with this guy.” He contacted my manager and got everything going…about four to five months of us talking weekly, and I just started writing like crazy. We’ve done a bunch of songs together that we both like that I had written, and this last--this was like two weeks ago now--he told me to come out, so I came out to do a track and three songs.
Bentley “Let There Be Light” clip YouTube music videos:
Nicole: Have those songs been released?
Micah: No. Actually one song is one off of my album, [“Prone to Wander”] it’s called “1985.” We re-tracked that song. I re-sang it and did all that. Then the other three songs are all brand new songs. The plan is actually for me to go back out there within the next month or two and we’re going to do a whole album.
Micah: Yeah, yeah, I’m really excited. Working with him has been just insane. He’s obviously a very experienced and successful producer. He’s been really inspiring me and just helping me really kind of hone in on my musical direction. He just really brought a lot of creativity out of me. I just feel that this new stuff is the best stuff I’ve done yet. He’s really helped me focus on my sound.
Nicole: How did you get started singing? What is your background?
Micah: Let’s see, I’ve been in music all my life. My dad was a church music pastor growing up, so my family’s been musical. My sister is a singer, too. She went to college for singing, and so I just kind of grew up playing music, and singing. Then my first guitar teacher--probably when I was in like fifth or sixth grade I started taking guitar lessons--he, instead of focusing on learning how to like shred and do guitar solos, he taught me about songwriting. That’s, I’d say when I was like basically ten or eleven and when I first started writing my own songs. It just kind of grew throughout high school. All through high school I was in different bands, and did that, improving my songwriting, and that translated into today where I’ve gotten the opportunity to work with tons of different songwriters, and producers and people of that nature, and I feel like I’ve come a long way from back then, you know?
Nicole: Are your lyrics based more on your personal experiences? Or are they sort of from your outside influences?
Micah: I’d say it’s mostly personal experience, but I definitely, there are certain songs that I write where I’m kind of taking an outside perspective of something. Every song I write is definitely an emotion or an experience that I’m going through or have gone through in the past.
Nicole: Is there a song on “Prone To Wander” with which you’re most connected?
Micah: Yeah. There’s a couple. That song “1985” that I’m redoing with David Bendeth, that’s definitely a really personal song that I just felt really strong about. Then the other one off the album is called “This World.” That one I put a lot of… I have a lot of experience poured into that song. And then the third one I would say that I connected with the most is “Defeated.” Each song on that album definitely had a lot of emotional experience, but I’d say those three were kind of the most. They stuck out to me as ones that really told a certain story or something that I’ve been through.
Nicole: Is there a story behind the “1985” song that you want to share?
Micah: “1985” is about being lost, sometimes that emotion of being lost in a certain like, your purpose of life, or what you’re doing with your life. I feel everyone kind of, maybe at some point, has that feeling of just wondering; what am I doing with my life? Have I done anything significant with my life yet? And how can I do something significant with my life? That’s kind of what that song was based on. It was just that feeling of, kind of just the moment of worry or panic almost just, “crap, like I really don’t feel like I’ve amounted to what I thought I would yet,” or whatnot. Even if you have, you still might feel that emotion or that fear. You know?
Nicole: How do you deal with that fear in your life?
Micah: Now, even though I was feeling that emotion and that fear, I still, I know that I have a purpose in my life and that it’s always been to play music. Even though at times I get frustrated or have that fear, in the end I deal with it just by knowing that I do have a purpose in my life. That I’m still on the journey, we all are, and we’ll all eventually get there.
Nicole: Do you have any tours coming up? Or any shows coming up?
Micah: Right now I haven’t booked anything yet for the next couple of months because of recording. That’s my whole focus right now is going to be going back out to New Jersey and finish the album, but in the meantime I’m in the stages of acquiring some tours for hopefully early 2013. I’m hoping to start touring again. That’s the plan.
Nicole: Did you graduate college? Did you go to college? What is your educational background?
Micah: I didn’t graduate college. I did two years in community college studying music theory and music business. Then I had the opportunity to join the band that I was in previously called A Change of Pace. I left college to go on tour with them.
Nicole: I’m curious, because it sounds like you’ve gone about your career in a very traditional sense, I’m wondering how you feel about the difference between working the way you’re working through and finding your place in the music world versus the overnight sensation of someone on the X Factor or American Idol.
Micah: That’s definitely, it’s a hard thing because the music industry is so different and there are a lot of those shows where people are almost--after a couple of months of being on the show--all of the sudden that’s kind of how they define their success is whether they succeed on that show or not. I just feel, I don’t know, I guess maybe I’m more traditional and general in the way that I still want to be a rock band. I still want to tour and gain fans. I feel the fan base from doing it the traditional way is a little more stable. People are more supportive because they feel like they have been with you along the way through when they saw you on tour back in the day. Or they got your first album and now they’re excited for the next one. I don’t know, I just think that, the fans, at least my fan base has always really connected with the way I’ve gone about it by watching me develop. Each album and each thing I do is a little different from the one before, but it seems to have improved though at the same time.
Nicole: Do you have certain bands that influence you?
Micah: Yeah. Man, there’re all kinds of bands that I listen to, or influenced me I mean. I guess I was always super influenced by like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Then more modern day acts that influenced me are Kings of Leon, and Coldplay. Even some newer bands like Foster the People, and Of Monsters and Men. All those are artists that I admire and kind of helped influence me. One of my favorite bands since I was in high school to today is from Arizona; they’re called Jimmy Eat World. They’ve always been a huge influence on me. So, yeah.
Nicole: Do you think where you grew up affects what you think your association is in the music world? Or the bands you associate with, as you said, Jimmy Eat World came from Arizona. Do you think that is a stronger connection for you?
Micah: When I first discovered Jimmy Eat World I didn’t even know they were from Arizona. Then obviously once I found out that made it even cooler. For the most part, I mean, I try to stay current with bands from every part of the world. Where I’m from definitely I think has effected like even the band that I was in, A Change of Pace, I feel like the fact that we were from Phoenix, Arizona, allowed us to succeed in certain ways that we might not have if we were from one of the bigger music towns like L.A. or New York, or Nashville or something. I just feel like being from Phoenix kind of helps you stand out a little bit more.
Nicole: The small town connection is great. Do you have a favorite song right now that’s on your playlist?
Micah: Mmm? (laughs) Let’s see.
Nicole: It’s always an ‘on the spot’ question.
Micah: Yes, it is. It’s always changing for me too, like I’d always kind of rediscover an old song that I used to listen to and listen to some new songs. There was something I was listening to nonstop when I was in New Jersey. There’s a band that I love. They’re actually, well Nate [Reuss], he’s the singer of Fun. I love that new song, “Some Nights.” I think that song is absolutely brilliant, and I think Nate and the rest of those guys, they’re just a brilliant band, and I love what they’re doing right now with pop music. I love that right now on the radio you can turn it on and even though you still hear a lot of the same stuff, like the dance music and stuff like that, you’ll also hear some Mumford and Sons, and then you’ll hear Fun. and then some other indie artists that succeeded, like Gotye, or any of those guys, but then I just love how, I kind of like where radio is going right now. It’s a little more diverse, but yeah, that new, Fun. single, “Some Nights” is awesome.
[Nate Reuss was also recently feat. on P!nk’s new album “The Truth About Love” on the song “Just Give Me a Reason”]
Nicole: “Some Nights” almost has a folk sound to it, wouldn’t you say?
Micah: Yes. Yeah, definitely, I used to be a huge fan of Nate’s old band, The Format. They have sung, actually in my neck of the woods, the Glendale, Arizona area. I’ve just always been a fan of Nate and everything he’s done. I’m super stoked to see his success right now.
Nicole: So you are friendly with him? Or you know him?
Micah: I used to play shows, I’ve opened for The Format a number of times, and I’ve talked with Nate before. He’s a really cool guy, so.
Nicole: Micah is there a charity that is important to you? Or you donate your time to that you’d like to highlight in your interview?
Micah: I’ve always supported and I’ve done some shows for Invisible Children. So I love that… They help with children’s slavery across the world, mostly in Africa. There’s a couple actually. My sister is super involved with an organization in Uganda called African Hearts. They go over there and they help a lot of the young boys in Africa. They teach them leadership skills and stuff like that. I always support her and I am actually planning on going with her the next time she goes out there. There’s a few but those are at least two that I definitely am all about.
Nicole: I’ve been listening to your music. I can hear your sound. It’s really great. I’m excited to see your album and what comes out in the next month from you.
Micah: Awesome. I appreciate it.
Nicole: I hope you’ll keep me updated as the music comes out…
Micah: Absolutely. I appreciate the time and you taking the time to interview me.
Donate to Invisible Children
Donate to African Hearts
For more information on Micah Bentley visit http://www.micahbentley.com/
Like Bentley on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bentleyband
“Prone to Wander”
Available for sale on Amazon music and iTunes
Released: May 22, 2012
℗ 2012 Micah Bentley
SONG OF THE WEEK:
(Green Day “¡Uno!” on iTunes)
Released: Sep 18, 2012
℗ 2012 Reprise Records
Song of the Week: Green Day “Oh Love”
Green Day “¡Uno!” Album
September 27, 2012
Green Day blew up the stage at iHeart Radio music festival where the band’s energy and music brought the audience alive. They played one massive hit after another and killed it. And while it ended with a relatively minor arguably punk-band appropriate melt down, one broken guitar and a Billy Joe Armstrong rehab check-in, (where we wish him a super speedy recovery so he can come out on tour), the Green Day live performance at the iHeart Radio concert was a highlight of the evening. READ Song of the Week: Green Day "Oh Love" iHeart Radio concert photos, "Uno" album review love & YouTube music video