If there’s one thing you have to be, other than talented, to be on The Voice – it’s smart as hell because you have to understand the actual process when it comes to the cascade of rounds they put those contestants through.
Blind auditions, knockouts, steals, live shows, Hunger Games. It’s all so much, but it was just enough for season 10 hopeful Mike Schiavo. He made it through and landed on Team Adam, and while his journey didn’t last until the end on the ratings giant – he was able to continue on in music after the cameras were off him.
Not even a year after he went from an audition to the live show, he was off and onto making his own music. Come December 2016 his self-titled EP was out and the world had more of him to love. We talked a little about the record, The Voice and where he’ll be next in a wonderful exchange…
Kendra: Did you watch The Voice and have any sort of strategy in your head before you auditioned?
Mike Schiavo: I was a HUGE fan of the show when it started season one till probably around three or four. I even remember watching the first season and going to the store to get the winner Javier Colon’s album afterwards. I got a bit busy with life and school so I didn’t watch as much after those seasons but when I found out I was going to audition for Season 10, I made sure to watch and pay attention to season nine. I didn’t have much of a strategy in mind going into it, I just knew that song choice was a massively important aspect of it so a lot of thought went into that.
Kendra: Back in the day I remember when contestants on shows like these were held in bunkers and away from the world, but now with social media they are out and about during the whole process. Do you think artists there was a beneficial factor to that mystique back when, or are artists better off being social the whole time?
Mike: Back then it may not have been as important like in the beginning days of Idol and all that but in today’s world I think it is very important for the artists to have access to social media and be able to be out there. We are now in a generation where the entertainment industry is so incredibly influenced by social media and online presence. Whether we as artists like it or not, it is a necessity especially when on a major TV show like The Voice where so much promotion of the artists takes place on Facebook or Twitter.
Kendra: Stepping away from The Voice now. You dropped your debut in December. Where did that urban pop sound come from because you originally got inspired to do music from the King of Rock and Roll…
Mike: Yes! So excited that these songs are finally out there. That’s a great question that people don’t ask very often. Well, when you think back to Elvis’ time yes we know him as the king of rock n roll, but he was a soul singer. He was one of the first artists of his kind. Even so I did grow up on rock n roll listening to him, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and plenty other artists in that area of music. They were the ones who inspired me to pick up an instrument and put me on my path. Along that path I was introduced to all other types of music and found myself fascinated by pop music with the catchy melodies and a lot of R&B/Soul was so fun to sing and so emotional. So my sound is just a culmination of all the hundreds of artists I’ve listened to whether their influence was less in the area of sound and more in the essence of becoming my own artist because of them.
Kendra: One of my favorite songs on the album happens to be “Outside The Lines.” With that, what is one aspect of your life that you’ll always color outside the lines when it comes down to it?
Mike: Thanks I’m so glad you like that one! Besides the re-recorded acoustic version of “Collide,” that’s the oldest song on there. I’ve had that one written for a few years now and finally got it out. As an artist I will always be looking to push boundaries and go outside the lines. I think every artist feels that way or should. It’s the only way to truly better yourself and learn something new. Yeah it’s still fun to put out the same kind of music over and over because you love it, but the groundbreaking projects are the ones where the artist takes a risk or does something different no matter what anybody else thinks. so currently, that is an area I’ll be exploring outside the lines.
Kendra: Still very young, you have a lot of life and experiences coming your way. Off the top of your head – what’s the next thing you want to accomplish when it comes to your career in music?
Mike: That’s tough, there’s so much on my list of goals. I know i just put out an EP but something i have never done that I look forward to doing is experimenting some more with my sound and putting together enough songs that I’m confident enough in to release as a full length record. I’m always so self conscious about my writing and it slows my process a bit so I feel lucky to like five songs enough to release them, but I’ve been growing and getting more comfortable in my skin as a writer and i feel I have began to truly and my sound so I can’t wait to start the process of my next release. Which will hopefully be a full length album!
Kendra: Will fans be seeing you on tour in 2017?
Mike: I am hoping so! There are no solid plans in place at the moment but i am really hoping to hit the road again in the first half of this year. I went on my first tour this past summer and absolutely loved it. Now that I have brand new music out, it’ll be even more fun to get out there and play the songs for some new audiences.
Kendra: You obviously picked a great audition song, BUT what other songs were on your mind when you were going in for the blind audition round? Can you give us a mixtape of five others that were options?
Mike: Another great one I have never been asked about! Wow I barely remember it feels so long ago and I feel like I landed on “Talking Body” pretty quickly. There were a few others i was rehearsing and thinking of but I was doing those pretty straight forward, where I took Talking body and did something completely different with it. From what I can remember, these were 5 songs i was considering for the audition: