I couldn't be more excited to do this interview and to have yet another Michael Pace heater out to the world. Michael was one of the first artists to get behind UPstar. Music and our friendship blossomed right away. Back in March, in the heart of COVID-19, UPstar. Music held a virtual concert series that was 10 days long and had sets from 65 artists. That was the first time I really got to have a conversation with Michael. Even before the concert series, I was a big time fan of his single "Your Cowboy" and had that shit on replay forever. I always joked with him about new music, and that wish is now a reality with his new single "Gettin' Here" which was released on October 16th. Once again, Country Music gets a dose of Michael Pace and his endless potential.
Get To Know Michael
"Grew up in suburban Massachusetts and worked in a lumber yard and a farm on my street. I have a weird upbringing dude. Like basically, I grew up in the least country place in the United States.This is how I got into Country Music… My dad was a chef - which was awesome - and my mom was almost as good. When I was kid, they taught me and my brothers to cook at a pretty young age, 'cause they were tired of us always asking for food’. There was always music playing in the kitchen. Even now when I meal prep, I have to have the record player out or something. My mom was a huge Randy Travis fan, she had a few Garth cds, but she liked country music more just for the ambiance of it. My dad listened to the stereotypical ‘dad music’ like Jimmy Buffett, Billy Joel and ACDC. I really got into music through that. I went to a boarding school starting in 8th grade and was there all the way up until I graduated. I was a part of the poetry club, and senior year I was the editor of the poetry magazine... which might be the nerdiest thing you can do. The entire time I was in school I was always writing, but never played an instrument. Around Sophomore year I got put on probation by my fraternity because my GPA dipped. During that month I couldn't do much so I went and got a pawn shop guitar and taught myself how to play. When I got bored of playing the same songs over and over again, I took to the poetry side of things. I kind of just started writing and singing my own songs. That turned into singing for the Sorority's and the boys and whoever.
The story on how I got to Nashville is funny. So my buddy Taylor Baynum from Southern Justis - we went to college together - is the one who got me to actually move to Nashville. Throughout college we always told each other we wanted to write and hangout and have a couple beers. Junior year I got better as a musician, gained some confidence and began to play open-mic nights and local gigs at bars. Eventually, Taylor asked me if I wanted to chase music after college and I responded with "I mean I haven't really thought about it, but I really enjoy it so why not keep it going". Senior year, we were a little drunk and Taylor presented the idea of moving to Nashville. I thought he meant to visit and I was like "hell yeah", but he literally meant to move there. A few beers in, you aren't really thinking everything out. Well, a few weeks later I was in a group chat with Taylor and his buddy Nate Justis (the other part of Southern Justis) and they started looking at buying a house and talking plans to move. I was like "hold up...", but the rest was history and it's my home now."
A nightmare and a day dream: having comfort that's toxic is better than spending your nights alone... we've all been there...
I know that everyone reading this has once felt the complicated feelings of fighting, being alone and being in the arms again of a person who isn't good for you. Winding up hurt again is better than spending the night in bed alone. Michael Pace puts words to these frustrating life choices, that for some reason we wind up doing over and over again. A powerful and demanding voice, intertwined with a familiar story line we have all lived, is a recipe for success. Mr. Pace has hit the nail on the head with this one. A calm tonality with sparks of emotion flyin' with each verse. I have not been able to get this stone cold jam out of my head. Y'all need to take a listen.
Inspiration Behind "Gettin' Here"
Written By: Michael Pace, Produced By: Grady Saxman
"So I do this thing where I go 2 to 3 weeks without writing because I hate writing a song without inspiration. Going into a write without any clue what to write is the most mind numbing, hit my head against the wall feeling for me... and I was like I'm not fucking doing that. I do a lot of writing by myself - it's just easy for me to work my way through a song if I'm the only person in my head. I still do co-writes and shit like that, but it's just easier for me. It was about 6 months after Jordan Davis released his Home State album, I was working my way through that and was really into his song Going 'Round. It's about the guy breaking up with the girl and along the lines of wanting a second chance but rumors are flying around, shit like that and I loved that chord progression and tonality in the song. So I messed around with the chord progression. I don't really know how I got the name "Gettin' Here" and the plot but it was one of those nights where it's 2 am, I was just throwing out lines one after another and they started lining up. I like playing songs out in public 5 or 6 times before deciding to release it in order to gage people's reactions. I’ve only played “Gettin Here” twice since COVID hit, but I believed it was a sturdy song and took my chances. I've had this song finished for 6-7 months now and the more I listen to it, the more I learn about it. I wrote ”Getting Here” and yet it is still happening."
Q & A With Michael Pace:
Q: Who are your biggest influences you incorporate into your songwriting and stage presence?
A: "I love that question. So my writing and performing style are two different things. My writing style is very Texas and it has some attitude, but a somber tone as well. There is a lot of Randy Rogers, a little Waylon Jennings... honestly, it depends on the mood I'm in. I've written songs that are a little more Cody Jinks vibes, some that are more Parker McCollum, but it always circles back to that Texas Country sound. I love that earthier, more mature perspective in my songs. It's so hard for me to write a party song, because all I think about is me being hungover and that's not a good time. Then you get to the performing side of things and buddy... I put on a fucking rock concert. I'm there to have a good time! I put so much energy into my shows. The day I get a wireless microphone, it's game over - I'll be jumping all over the stage."
Q: If you could go back 5-10 years and give some advice to your younger self, what would it be?
A: "I’d go back 10 years, because that put me around high school. When I was in high school, I was a bit of a home-body. Like I would socialize, but as soon as I was inside that was it for me. So my advice would be to get out of my fucking room. Go out have more fun.. Don't be alone. It took me a while to get out of my shell, and even still I'm like that. I'm working on being more approachable. If I know you I will talk to you about anything, but if I don't ... no way."
Q: What was that "light bulb" moment for you when you knew music could be a reality?
A: "So in college, that's when I started doing music. I wasn't playing shows at that point. People started to ask me when I was going to put a new cover up on Youtube and that got me thinking. Senior year, I was in the greek community and every year we had "Greek's Got Talent". This one girl wanted me to do a duet with her and people were excited to see me actually perform. Apparently, on the same day, there was a scheduled senior bar crawl. Don't know why that was a good idea. The last stop on the crawl was a bar I would always go to on Sunday's. The owners asked me to play for $300 and as a college kid, of course I wanted to do that. So I ditched the talent show and the girl wasn't too happy at the time, but afterwards she understood. I guess that when people got word that I was playing at the bar - it was so last minute - many started leaving "Greek's Got Talent" to come see me. That was very eye opening."
Q: If you could host a concert with any artist, any genre, dead or alive who would they be and why?
A: "My dream concert... My first pick (easily) is CCR, Creedence Clearwater Revival which has been one of my favorite bands since the beginning of time. Just like John Fogerty with his voice and writing style and all the classics like Fortunate Son and Have You Seen the Rain? and shit like that... I would kill to see them in their prime. Number 2 would be Stevie Ray Vaugh. I’m a huge Stevie Ray Vaughn guy. I have one of his tour shirts and I always wear it when I perform, but obviously I’ve never seen him play. Now for a little modern country, gotta say Morgan Wallen and then take a complete left turn and throw in Green Day. When I was in middle school, I was in a punk band and we were massive fans of Green Day and The Ramones."
If you are just discovering Michael Pace, check out his other songs on Apple Music or Spotify.