Mike Cali
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Mike Cali

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
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For some musicians, the path to a melodious career seems inevitable from a relatively young age. For others, like burgeoning singer/songwriter Michael Cali, their talent is stumbled upon like a fork in the road. By day, Michael chooses the sensible path of a stable career shielded by a cubicle, but by night his alter ego leads him to the small stages around Pittsburgh - wooing unsuspecting audiences with just the warmth in his vocals and an acoustic guitar.

A self-taught guitarist from New Jersey, Michael learned his way around a six-string by covering the work of some of his greatest creative influences: Bruce Springsteen, Ray LaMontagne and Amos Lee. Five years later, Michael integrates the same brand of soulful versatility into his music like that of his inspirational predecessors. Although relatively new to the music scene in Pittsburgh, Michael’s indisputable talents have led him to open for some of the most well-known names in the indie music cohort; including Tyrone Wells, Matt Duke, Jay Nash and Tony Lucca.

While speaking of artists that stimulate his creativity, Michael mused, “I'm enamored by the traveling musician - the artist that lives situations, makes them relatable and travels from place to place sharing their work organically in small venues, all while being entertaining. Doesn’t it seem like such a natural and obvious process?”

Michael’s performance at Club Café in support of Duke, Lucca and Nash this past November was the ideal balance of original material and cover songs – allowing the audience to better navigate their way through the complexities of his vocals, as his voice carried the song more often than his guitar. Opening his set with Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire” while playfully incorporating Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are” was an intriguing display of the range of genres his own work would surely embrace.

The highlight of his performance, however, came in the form of one of his personal works entitled, “Lonely as Me.” The laid-back guitar melody, reminiscent of a breezy summer afternoon, contrasts sharply against the gloomy despondency heard in the lyrics. Michael sings of another Friday evening spent on “Carson Street,” distracted by the neon lights and pretty girls that aren’t quite rousing enough to free his mind of a love lost. Michael asks his former flame, “Are you killing time with another lover or are you as lonely as me?”

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For some musicians, the path to a melodious career seems inevitable from a relatively young age. For others, like burgeoning singer/songwriter Michael Cali, their talent is stumbled upon like a fork in the road. By day, Michael chooses the sensible path of a stable career shielded by a cubicle, but by night his alter ego leads him to the small stages around Pittsburgh - wooing unsuspecting audiences with just the warmth in his vocals and an acoustic guitar.

A self-taught guitarist from New Jersey, Michael learned his way around a six-string by covering the work of some of his greatest creative influences: Bruce Springsteen, Ray LaMontagne and Amos Lee. Five years later, Michael integrates the same brand of soulful versatility into his music like that of his inspirational predecessors. Although relatively new to the music scene in Pittsburgh, Michael’s indisputable talents have led him to open for some of the most well-known names in the indie music cohort; including Tyrone Wells, Matt Duke, Jay Nash and Tony Lucca.

While speaking of artists that stimulate his creativity, Michael mused, “I'm enamored by the traveling musician - the artist that lives situations, makes them relatable and travels from place to place sharing their work organically in small venues, all while being entertaining. Doesn’t it seem like such a natural and obvious process?”

Michael’s performance at Club Café in support of Duke, Lucca and Nash this past November was the ideal balance of original material and cover songs – allowing the audience to better navigate their way through the complexities of his vocals, as his voice carried the song more often than his guitar. Opening his set with Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire” while playfully incorporating Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are” was an intriguing display of the range of genres his own work would surely embrace.

The highlight of his performance, however, came in the form of one of his personal works entitled, “Lonely as Me.” The laid-back guitar melody, reminiscent of a breezy summer afternoon, contrasts sharply against the gloomy despondency heard in the lyrics. Michael sings of another Friday evening spent on “Carson Street,” distracted by the neon lights and pretty girls that aren’t quite rousing enough to free his mind of a love lost. Michael asks his former flame, “Are you killing time with another lover or are you as lonely as me?”
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Although timid in his stage presence, the zealous musicianship Michael displays during his performances is soaked in potential. The timbre of his vocals conveys a feeling of genuine intimacy, allowing his listeners to relate personally to his music simply through his voice.

In one of his first efforts written towards the end of his college career, “Thinking About the Future,” Michael poses a slew of rhetorical questions concerning the likelihood of his aspirations actualizing themselves. Regardless of the uncertainty he depicts, Michael finds solace in his music. “It was one of my first songs and definitely not one of my proudest works, but I sure as hell mean every word in that chorus. "I wanna be easy going, I want to feel meant to be, I wanna live my life passionately." Pursuing music lets me do that.”

Michael has performed throughout Pittsburgh and its suburbs with at most times only an amp and his guitar; never allowing the size of the venue nor the extent of the audience to deter him from sharing his music with anyone willing to listen. Fortunately, as his talents continue to flourish so does his following. As a female audience member so eloquently put it following his Club Café gig, “Every man should have a little Mike Cali in them.”

Pittsburghers unfamiliar with his work will have the opportunity to join the ranks of Michael’s supporters this Friday the 14th. He will be performing at the Smiling Moose on East Carson Street, in support of another Pittsburgh-based act, Boulevard of the Allies. The doors for the 21 and over show will open at 7 p.m. with a $5 ticket price. Until the release of his debut EP, a taste of Michael’s music can be found on his Facebook.
- Pittsburgh Indie Music Examiner


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

A self-taught guitarist from New Jersey, Michael learned his way around a six-string by covering the work of some of his greatest creative influences: Bruce Springsteen, Ray LaMontagne and Amos Lee. Five years later, Michael integrates the same brand of soulful versatility into his music like that of his inspirational predecessors. Although relatively new to the music scene in Pittsburgh, Michael’s indisputable talents have led him to open for some of the most well-known names in the indie music cohort; including Tyrone Wells, Matt Duke, Jay Nash and Tony Lucca.

While speaking of artists that stimulate his creativity, Michael mused, “I'm enamored by the traveling musician - the artist that lives situations, makes them relatable and travels from place to place sharing their work organically in small venues, all while being entertaining. Doesn’t it seem like such a natural and obvious process?”