The real beauty of music doesn’t reside in its melodies, rhythms, or lyrics. It lives in what the listeners feel while they listen to it. Emotional, intense, and powerful, Michael Coleman, founder, and director of See Your Shadow Songwriting (SYS), is one of those artists who know the importance of the message their music delivers. Today, at Planet Singer, we have the great pleasure of discovering more about SYS with an exclusive interview!
Hi Michael, it is such a pleasure having you with us today at Planet Singer. You are the founder and director of SYS, See Your Shadow Songwriting, an exciting project that sees other talented artists joining you in this musical journey. Let’s start from the beginning; how did you discover your love for music?
So great talking with you, and this is a good question. My love for music and the arts in general actually started when I was a kid. We always had all different kinds of music playing throughout the house when I was growing up, and I think it was being exposed to the variety that really got me to appreciate the different styles and genres.
What are your main influences?
The interesting thing is that most people know who sing their favorite songs, but hardly anybody knows who writes and produces them. So, my influences stem from those that are writers. Some of my biggest influences are the Motown writing team of Holland/Dozier/Holland and, of course, the writing and production team of Gamble and Huff. They just were responsible for so many great songs, just one after the other after the other. So innovative.
Your songs are much more than Country Music; they are inspiring and moving. Can you tell us more about the SYS project?
SYS is unique in the fact that the songs we create are the stars. Most focus on who is singing or performing the work, and when you do that, you have the potential to take away from the material itself because you are more focused on what does this person look like, how old are they, what are they wearing, etc., when you take that out of the equation all you have to stand on is the work itself. SYS gives opportunities for our performers to perform on some great songs without worrying about the superficiality of show business. Talent knows no age, weight, or size, so we have a collaborative network of many talented people who have the passion for what they do. One of the women on our latest record, the female empowerment anthem, “I Know My Worth,” is 72 years old.
I love your song “I Will Tell Jesus You Said Hello,” it is such a powerful track. What’s the story behind it?
I’m really glad you like that one. That is one of my favorites as well. The interesting thing about that piece is shopping it around Nashville; I was told it could not be a hit because it was a duet, and it ended up being our breakout. Many people think it’s my personal story because the song is about a couple that loses a child. I don’t have any children, and when I wrote that song, I had never been married, but the song is more about finding hope and healing during the midst of tragedy, which is what is wrapped up in the chorus, the healing. I could have plugged any set of circumstances into the verses, but when I imagined the song as a duet, I thought it would be appropriate to tell the story of a couple.
Your songwriting skills are incredible. Can you reveal your artistic process when it comes to creating your music?
Oh, thanks. There really is no rhyme or reason for my process. I am very unorthodox when it comes to how I bring things to life. For example, when I wrote the NAGAAA Softball World Series theme song, I taped it out on the dashboard of the car when I was on a road trip. Every project has a unique story, but many projects have started being brought to life after a few drinks.
What inspires you?
See Your Shadow explores what I call the human experience. People and their stories provide us the backdrop of our work. That is why it is so important to constantly be looking and listening to your surroundings as you never know where your next song is coming from.
Among the song of your discography, is there a special one?
This is a tough one; I always tend to say that our latest record is always my favorite, but looking back, the one piece that is probably a standout and has made me infamous is our LGBTQA dance track about oral sex, “Rug Burn,” it is just a fun piece on so many levels.
If you could collaborate with one or more of your idols, who would you like to share the stage with?
OMG. This is a tough one. Collaborating and sharing the stage, of course, are two different things. I would love to collaborate on a project with the legendary Quincy Jones; he is the pinnacle when it comes to producers. As far as sharing the stage, I think it would be fun to have the See Your Shadow Network of Stars share the stage with Garth Brooks.
What are your plans for the future?
Well, we have some new things coming down the turnpike; we will be releasing another single later on in the summer in conjunction with launching our television division and writing the screenplay to our holiday record, “Christmas on Cellblock 9”. It’s an exciting time.
Michael, it was such a pleasure chatting with you and having the chance to discover more about your music. Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?
Thanks so much. I enjoyed myself. What I would like to say to your readers is to live as there is a difference between being alive and living so live, and I encourage folks to reach out to me; I love making new friends.
Check the links below, discover more about Michael Coleman’s SYS, and don’t forget to add his tracks to your favorite playlists!
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