Michael Bernard Fitzgerald
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Michael Bernard Fitzgerald

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Michael Bernard Fitzgerald
Interview by: Surf Rock Music

On his social networking sites, MBF (as he is often called), says, "My name is Michael Bernard Fitzgerald. I sing and write songs. I'm a dog man with a good plan and two hands." That makes Fitzgerald sound delightfully down-to-earth and accessible. True to the description, he really is. What his modesty doesn't allow him to say is that he's also an exceptionally talented composer and musician, a splendid live performer, and a willingly generous steward of music.

Fitzgerald is a constant performer, finding himself booked in venues both in his native Canada and the USA. We wouldn't be surprised to find he's performing live on the International Space Station! Additionally, his work is being discovered by art lovers everywhere. In 2007 he was given the title of Most Promising Songwriter by The Calgary Folk Festival and, in 2008, he won X92.9 FM radio station's Xposure Contest which led to a spot on stage at Virgin Fest. Later, he accompanied a convoy of forty musicians and artists through Alberta on the These Proportions Are Epic tour. Fitzgerald has also taken the stage multiple times at Calgary's Grand Theatre. MBF gets around!

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SRM: Tell us about your album, Yes. What was the inspiration behind it and the song lyrics?

MBF: I love the word yes, it is an entrance, exclamation and an assertion all in one word. The songs were written in the studio over my many visits to LA spanning of two years, so I was personally coming from a variety of head spaces over that time period. I think the lyrics have love, a little social commentary and poetry throughout.

SRM: What is your musical background and how much time have you spent making yourself into a musician?

MBF: I was given my first guitar when I was seven years old and I was never all that serious about learning how to play it; definitely a procrastinator between guitar lessons. I eventually was less interested in learning other peoples songs, and started writing some of my own. What I do now has been a gradual evolution from those first songs.

SRM: Tell us about your history. How did it all begin and what impetus drove you to this profession?

MBF: I just started doing it. I started writing and soon after that I wanted to play shows. The shows started getting better, more people got involved and I've stuck with it ever since. I'm very thankful that I get to play music for a living.

SRM: What groups and/or solo artists are your main influences?

MBF: While making Yes I was listening to Paul Simon and the Boss primarily. I am always influenced by so many artists though, Funk Brothers, Tribe, Feist, Seger and so many more.

SRM: How did you come to the decision to frequently employ acoustic instruments instead of limiting your sound to electric instruments?

MBF: Partly because I love acoustic guitars and partly because I don't know how to operate the electric ones.

SRM: How much time and effort do you put into rehearsals?

MBF: I don't rehearse often. We will usually prep the week leading up to a tour.

SRM: What instruments and FX do you use to get your sound and do you have any favorites?

MBF: Lately we've been using one guitar, one drum and four voices on stage.

SRM: How do you prepare for gigs, what do you take with you, and do you have a road crew?

MBF: Most days preparation entails us putting clothes on and driving to the venue. Our gear fits in four cases and we are the crew.

SRM: What was your most exciting experience as a live performer?

MBF: There have been so many exciting times playing live. It is hands down my favorite thing to do. We just played three shows last week with Michael Franti and playing with him and Spearhead has been amazing and exciting. They are an wonderful group of people, looking forward to playing with them again next week.

SRM: Who are the musicians you perform and record with and how do you choose them?

MBF: I recorded Yes with Jon Levine and Brian West who are both musicians and producers. So many talented people tracked on the record. Live as a four piece I play with Andrew Ball, Katie Stanton and Jessica Wilson. When we want to party we add Russell Broom (guitar), Michael Choi (bass) Michael Little (Keys) and Fabian Egger (drums).

I met all of these people randomly and I'm thankful for that. Right place at the right time.

SRM: You are well known for your involvement in the musical scene as a whole. How do you manage your career along with the added time constraints of advancing the art of music?

MBF: I'm not sure how much advancing the art of music I do but I try to be a nice, giving person. I thankfully work with some amazing people, and I try to help in any way that I can.

SRM: What are your future plans? Where do you see yourself in another five years?

MBF: - Surf Rock Music


We’ve recently had the opportunity to review the new album “Yes” by Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, and I have to say at the top of this review that I’m giving it two thumbs up.

If you’ve never heard of Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, he’s an indie singer/songwriter from Calgary, Canada who spent most of his childhood outdoors with his family…. Camping, biking and hiking. Due to that outdoorsy childhood, it was an easy transition for Michael to hit the road as a teenager. After high school, Michael headed to Australia with $4,000 in his pocket, his iPod and his camera. He stayed there for four years, working on a boat and waiting tables at a piano bar. Not too bad for a kid with no plan.

His sound is very transparent and feels somewhat vulnerable. The new CD, “Yes,” kicks off with the track Man Overboard, which has a great beat and catchy chorus. He got the idea for this track when he was singing Billy Joel’s song, “We Didn’t Start The Fire,” which has that same choppy, rhythmic feel to it.

Michael doesn’t seem to have a problem when it comes to writers block, either. Many of his tracks were written in the amount of time it takes to sing them, which is certainly a gift. He’s got a sound that is a mix between Jason Mraz and Jack Johnson, I picture him playing guitar many a night barefoot, with his flip flops very nearby. Though I’ve never had the privilege to see Michael play (yet), I can imagine that his show is a very laid back, spiritual experience.

Another track that stood out to me was “Firecracker,” which has a jazzy, somewhat swing feel to it. That being said, many of the tracks on “Yes” will get your fingers snapping and your toes a-tappin!

Definitely head on over to iTunes TODAY to pick up “Yes,” you will NOT be disappointed!

Catch Michael Bernard Fitzgerald on an eight-day tour with Michael Franti & Spearhead, so grab some tickets and go check out the show!

Tour Dates w/ Michael Franti & Spearhead

September 20th – The Fillmore Silver Spring, Silver Spring, MD
September 21st – Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA
September 22nd – The State Theater, Ithaca, NY
September 29th – The Burton Cummings Theatre, Winnipeg, MB
September 30th – Conexus Arts Centre, Regina, SK
October 1st – Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, Calgary, AB
October 2nd – Winspear Centre, Edmonton, AB
October 4th – Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver, BC
Stream “Yes” here:



Ready to purchase “Yes?” Head on over to iTunes and pick it up today!

Take a look at the official video for the track “Firecracker”



Keep up to date on all things Michael Bernard Fitzgerald at the following links:

Facebook | @ilovembf - indieminded.com


Discography

"Yes": August 27, 2013
"Firecracker EP:" June/ 2013
Live from The MacEwan Ballroom: March 23, 2013
The Love LP: 2009

Photos

Bio

Canada-born singer and guitarist Michael Bernard Fitzgerald can break hearts playing solo with an acoustic guitar and
loop pedal, and command large venues with a full band. His kind, approachable disposition gives way to an
undeniable confidence onstage…he tours regularly from coast to coast throughout North America. His new album
YES will be released August 27, 2013 as the follow-up effort to the Firecracker EP, released digitally in spring of 2013.