As the story goes with many creatives, one medium isn’t always enough. That definitely rings true for musician Mychael Gabriel, who meanders between composing, writing, producing, engineering, and playing multiple instruments. Building the foundation of his career on the element of surprise, Gabriel’s music is full of tricks.
Crafting up an expansive oeuvre, Gabriel has lent his producing chops to some music industry mavericks including Snoop Dogg, John Legend, and St. Vincent – to name a few. His latest offering is album GENESIS, an exploration of the human experience, in all of its highs, and all of its lows. Genre-bending, and string-twanging all at once, the track “Sunday Afternoon” emerges as especially touching. Tender while true, grounded pianos and tentative strings lay the foundation for Gabriel’s words to pierce the heart.
A man of many talents, the artist went on to direct the music video for “Sunday Afternoon”. A surreal, artful consideration of intimate relationships, Gabriel encounters a veiled woman amidst the autumnal leaves. Gabriel emerges as an artist in his own lane, with fully fleshed out concepts – not just songs. We had the pleasure of chatting to the artist, at taking a peek into the inner workings of his mind.
To read our interview with Mychael Gabriel, head below…
Hey Mychael! Where are we speaking to you from?
Hey Wonderland Peeps! I am currently in my hometown of Minneapolis.
What did you have for breakfast?
Breakfast burrito… or rather burritos (plural).
What are some of the artists on your current rotation?
When I’m not listening to something for a project I’m working on… lately I’m bouncing between classics from the Motown era, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Prince, current acts would include Eric Gales, Tame Impala, and Jacob Collier… I’m kinda all over the place.
Do you remember the first song you ever made? Did you play it for anyone?
I wrote a song called “I Wanna Be Big” when I was three or four. Truly a stroke of genius that my mom probably captured on her tape recorder all those years ago. *laughs*
Congratulations on your new single “Sunday Afternoon”! Can you talk us through the process behind making the track?
Sitting at the piano in my living room one afternoon, I started writing a love song. The first verse had a beautifully sappy vibe to the lyrics… so I decided to contort the whole thing in the second verse. By the end of the song, there is a trace of ‘hope’, but nothing is fully resolved. Relationships evolve – I wanted the lyrics to reflect that in the story. I wrote the whole song that afternoon and the vocals you hear on the final track are the original rough vocals I recorded sitting at my piano that day. I later went to re-track the vocals with a higher quality mic, but I loved the vibe and the emotion from the original. It was perfectly imperfect.
The accompanying music video is very evocative. How involved are you in the production process?
Thank you! I directed that video. There is a heavy involvement on my part for each video I put out. It’s all a part of the creative process to me and I love it. The video is the culmination of the artistic vision that began with the music. To create something from nothing in the music, and then to literally see the vision come to life in the video – it’s a rush.
You play a range of instruments. How does your approach differ when playing each one?
My approach is eerily similar for each instrument actually. It all starts with “feeling.” I think “How do I want to feel in this moment? How do I want the listener to feel?” Then I start playing. I come from this school of thought: If you can hum it, you can sing, you can play it. You just have to have patience and practice being coordinated enough to express that through an instrument.
Who are some of your dream collaborators?
There is so much untapped talent out there. I’d love to team up with an undiscovered artist. Other names would include: Kavinsky, Michael McDonald, Adele, Thundercat, Marvel Studios.
If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
Something in film.
And lastly, what’s next for you? What would you like to achieve in 2023?
Touring, more music, more videos, more creativity.
To watch Mychael Gabriel’s “Sunday Afternoon”, head below…