Out musician and all-around cute guy MikeMRF (real name Mike Flanagan) is one of the rare examples of what is good in the music industry today.
His expertise behind the piano, that he pairs with the vocal styling of his pals Lisa Bello and Justin Waithe, has put him at the forefront of the world of jazz.
Mike has achieved quite a lot in his short career. He’s earned praise for his LGBT anthem “Be Strong” that was once again used for World Pride 2019 in New York City back in June.
His song “Mob Music” won The John Lennon Songwriting Contest award for hip-hop in 2017. The NYC mainstay has also earned a couple of OUTMusic Awards and has charted high on the iTunes Jazz Albums chart with his effort Yasko Sensei,
Now MikeMRF is back with new music that is nothing short of wonderful to listen to. He talks about his latest effort in our exclusive with him and so much more (like his love of Lizzo and hairy guys). Take a look.
It’s been a while since we last chatted. How was your summer?
I know! I’ve missed you. Summer was great. I spent a lot of time performing in Provincetown, Massachusetts with a bunch of different artists – all of whom are fantastic.
What has been the biggest update in your life professionally over the past year?
I have been teaching songwriting as an Adjunct Professor at NYU. It has been an incredible experience and it’s such a cool place to be. Also, 3 of my new songs form the forthcoming album are in a new show called 30 The Series, being shot in Houston and released on Amazon Prime. I’ve also been doing some work as an actor. Just extra work right now, but I would like to take that further into more leading roles.
I know you have new music coming out for the masses to enjoy. Can you tell us more about it?
Yes! My new album, Mob Music 2. We are so close to having it ready for release. We are just putting some finishing touches on it, but the first 3 singles (“Tip Jar”, “Clean House”, “Where Do We Go”) are out and can be streamed or downloaded right now.
How does it differ from your last efforts? Do you have a favorite track off it?
Well, I produced the last album, Mob Music, all on my own and it’s an acoustic record. For this album, I recruited my favorite drummer to produce the record with me so this project has a much more pop-mainstream vibe.
I’m excited for everyone to hear it. As for my favorite track, I would have to say it’s a tie: I have a fun song called “Wedding Day” that takes a total twist in the second verse. I’m looking forward to seeing the reception to that one. Also, I collaborated with a Puerto Rican Artist, Iisma El, and we recorded a song 1/2 in English, 1/2 in Spanish, called “Me Completas”. That might be my actual favorite.
So many artists, like Lil Nas X, have been effortlessly coming out of the closet. What are your thoughts on how society has been so much more accepting of us in recent years?
It does seem like we live in a time where if it’s popular and getting millions of views/hits, people jump on board. For me, I would like to see more same sex pronouns in mainstream music. Juuuuust to push the bar a little bit further. I feel like it’s still very much hetero or neutral.
Is the “Panini” singer someone you would like to work with or are there any other new artists you have your eye on?
Oh, I totally would. I love that he did so many remixes. It’s fun to see a bunch of different artists approach the same song/concept. It would also be fun to do something with Lizzo. I have a song on this new album called “Tip Jar” which is right up her alley (if I may be so bold).
Gotta ask: single? dating? What kind of guys do you go for?
Don’t hate me – but I am pretty much married to this album and have been for the last 9 months. I am SO beyond ready to have it finished and released so I can focus on other things. But – as far as guys I got eyes for, I will say the bigger and hairier the better. Also, guys that value their health (on every level) and like to laugh. Self-awareness and accountability are important, too.
What is the game plan moving forward for you?
It’s hard to think past this current release, but creatively I would like to collaborate and write for/with others for a while. Eventually I would like to write a project where I can use my own voice. I don’t exactly like my voice, but I’m determined to find a way to utilize it as an instrument as a part of the bigger picture of the song/piece.
Learn more about MikeMRF by going to his page here.