For our very first #featuredartistfriday, I would like to introduce you to an incredible young artist, Michael Hitchcock. Thank you, Michael, for being willing to answer our questions. I love getting to know these different artists, and Michael has some really unique perspectives. Not to mention, that he’s a very talented musician and song writer. He is currently working hard on a new album, and has a bright future ahead of him. If it’s anything like his first album, “Vol. 1”, you can expect heartfelt music with thoughtful lyrics, and soulful blues guitar.
1. What’s your name(s)? How old Are you? Married? Kids? Where are you from? Where did you grow up?
My name is Michael Hitchcock. I’m 20 years old and born and raised in Augusta, GA.
2. When/how were you introduced to music?
I started playing guitar at a very young age and developed through both classical and contemporary training (mostly self taught). I taught myself piano when I hit high school and started singing around the same time.
3. What were you doing before pursuing your music as a career?
Working on farms or with various land management companies. I am actually a wildlife major at UGA but music is my number 1 priority.
4. What made you decide to pursue your music career?
I started playing live when I was 16 and I never wanted to do anything else again (though I have had jobs along the way). It’s not about the money but what music makes you feel. And the best part about it is that I get to share that feeling by performing.
On Your Music:
1. Who are some of your biggest influences, or your musical heroes?
It’s hard to find a place to start. Hearing Eddie Vedder sing was definitely a driving influence for me to start doing the same, and trying to emulate artists from John Mayer and Dave Matthews to Old raspy blues singers (aka Muddy Waters) has allowed me to build a dynamic vocal range. My favorite guitarist is Stevie Ray Vaughn but that opinion is not unique at all. Regardless, he was the best. I find that when I hold my acoustic guitars, I play an older style of blues mixed with some Joe Bonamassa 12 bar influence, or the complete opposite and play something pretty and sustaining. I can’t take full credit for all of that, though. Playing a Martin lets you dig when you want and sing when you need. At the top of my “musical heroes” list, however, would have to be Jason Isbell. In my opinion, no one on this earth writes like him because most musicians haven’t truly seen what he has. And the man can shred. I tend to find myself comparing most songs to his (which makes my own writing particularly challenging).
2. Do you write your own music? Collaborate with others? Do you have a preference between the two?
I absolutely love writing music. And in my experience, writing with others only adds to the fun. However, I don’t have a preference because music needs to come naturally. That can happen in a group or when I’m all by myself.
3. What kinds of things do you write about? What inspires you?
I write about my life or any stories that I feel need to be told. For example, my song 1AM has 4 verses and each represent where I was as a person in the 4 years of high school (emotionally and spiritually). However, most songs don’t need to be so deep. One of my personal favorites is called “Glen” and its about a man I picked up on my way to Athens. He had been hiking forever and seemed harmless enough. I’m so glad I did because the conversations we had gave me a good song with a simple bluesy feel. I hope he hears that song one day. Finally, if I’m needing inspiration, I’ll listen to my favorite albums. One specific example comes to mind when I first heard Jason Isbell’s “Nashville Sound” record that came out last year. He has a song titled “The Last of my Kind” and it hit me, “You’re not the Last.” I ran with that and wrote about how there are still those out there who listen to and play good music and struggle daily. It’s not a contradiction to his song at all, but rather an observation and hopefully a message to people like him that says, well, you’re not the last.
Side note: people often think music has to directly relate to the writers life. That’s not always true and some things simply shouldn’t be overthought. Sometimes a random idea about something that has nothing to do with me comes to mind, and I see where it takes me. Good music is good music. Simple as that.
4. How would you describe your style of music?
Blues/singer-songwriter. Rock and roll mixed in all around but that kind of goes without saying. I like messing around with all different styles so it can be hard to pin down a specific genre.
5. Do you have people that play with you? Do you have a band?
I have a band that is based in Athens, GA called “Hitch & Run.” Jessica Thompson (lead guitar and vocals), Justin Thompson (drums), Spencer Robinson (bass), and sometimes Mitchell Davidson (keys) all play with me. Fantastic musicians who fully understand what it means to jam.
6. Do you produce your own music, or do you have a studio that works with you?
My first album, Vol. 1 (which is more like a 7 song EP) was produced by Deke Wiggens in Augusta. I met Deke when he played lead for me at Southbound (a cool little bar and music venue in the middle of town). He has his own studio and we spent a summer in there playing around with some of the stuff I had written and it turned out pretty well if I do say so myself. My second album is for the most part complete and I have been in touch with some people in Nashville about the best way and times to lay down those tracks. I do not produce my own music because I’m simply not good with that side of things. Having a good producer can be like having another member of the band. They hear things that I can’t and more often than not, add really helpful advice.
7. How can people listen to or purchase your music, and how could they learn about shows coming up, and other news concerning your music?
You can find my music on practically any music media platform (Spotify, Apple Music, etc) under my name and “Vol. 1” (stay tuned for more releases). You can also follow my personal music page on facebook (@MSHitchcock) and you can find my band on facebook if you search “Hitch & Run.” My instagram is @michael_hitch and Hitch and Run’s is @hitch_n_run. We post for all of our shows and I do the same for my solo gigs.
8. Any closing remarks that you would like to share with your supporters/listeners?
Thanks to all of you who listen and enjoy my music already. I hope those who haven’t give it a listen because at the end of the day all I really want is to share what I’ve made and love.