Interview with Michael Bernard Fitzgerald

Photo: Mark Maryanovich

Simplicity. With musicians trying to outdo one another by melding genres together, adding as many layers as they can to their songs, and trying to collaborate with every who’s who in music, it seems that simplicity is missing from the musical vocabulary of most current artists. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it sure does make it one hell of a breath of fresh air when someone comes along with something that’s a little more raw and honest and free of any agenda. That someone is Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, to be exact. Even the name of his upcoming debut album — entitled ‘Yes’ — is simple and easy to remember. And, to be honest, it’s one that should be remembered! The record is, quite frankly, a remarkable first release that showcases Fitzgerald’s talents and gives great insight into what he can become. As stated in his biography, MBF looks to “pursue his craft as honestly as possible — devoid of smoke and mirrors,” and as far as we can tell, he’s on the correct path to do just that.

The Calgary native, who wraps up his North American tour with Bobby Long on August 25, found some time while on the road to answer a few questions via email. Continue reading below for more on his stint in Australia, new album, and “most manly skill.”

You were in bands through high school, and then upon graduating went to Australia, right? What led you to go down under?

I was just looking to get far from home and closer to a beach.

Was your time in Australia what led you to continue with music, or have you always known you’d become a musician?

I think I always knew that I’d be on stage of some form. In Australia, I spent a lot of time playing an acoustic guitar, and I got hooked.

Your debut album, ‘Yes,’ is set to drop on August 27. Can you tell us a little bit about the recording process?

I made this record almost entirely as an independent musician. I’d fly down to LA to record with Jon and Brian whenever I could and we slowly pieced it together song by song. I loved making this record. We’d start studio days around 3 PM and finish around 3 AM.

It’s a very diverse album, with guitar-heavy songs in the same vein as a song by The Black Keys like “Man Overboard,” to piano and string-tinged ballads such as “I Will,” and then to the lighter summer singles like “Human.” Was there anything that majorly inspired your writing process that gave it such a diverse sound?

I have always been a diverse writer. Chalk it up to being a diverse listener throughout my life. During the creative process for ‘Yes’ I definitely pushed myself; Jon and Brian would push me to be a stronger writer as well. I’m very happy that the record is diverse.

Your current single is “Firecracker,” and it’s a very soulful and sexy song. Can you tell us about the song’s history?

We set out to write a fun song with a quick lyric. Definitely a fun song to play live.

Do you have your next single picked out? If yes, can you tell us what it is?

“Man Overboard” will lead the ‘Yes’ release. Another quick syllable song with strings and a big beat.

If there was one song off of ‘Yes’ that you would use to introduce yourself to fans, which would it be and why?

If I was to sit down one on one with someone to introduce them to the music, I would most likely play “Follow.” “Follow” is a heartfelt, upbeat love song and a good introduction to what I do.

You’re currently halfway through with your US tour with Bobby Long. Has there been any particularly crazy nights?

I am on my best behavior.

What are your plans for after this tour and through the rest of the year?

I’d love to finish off the year touring. With the record coming out it is time to go out and meet people on the road.

From what I can tell, you’re a very carefree and honest person, so my last question for you is: what is one fact that you’d like people to know about you?

I can back a trailer into a tight spot significantly better than most (including my tour manager Christian). It is, to date, my most manly skill.

Pick up Michael Bernard Fitzgerald’s new album, Yes.

For Fitzgerald’s upcoming tour dates, check out his Facebook page.