Michael O. is no stranger to the spotlight. He has been dubbed “The Next Millennial Music Sensation” and for good reason.
Ever since he broke out on the hit television show The Sing-Off, performing as part of a large ensemble group. It didn’t take long to see that he stood out from the pack.
And now that he’s solo, the ‘On My Way’ crooner has been on a steady rise in the music industry over the past few years and he has been busy working steadily on new music to give his fans more of himself.
We got a chance to break the ice with Michael O. and find out some of what makes him tick as an artist.
So, who is Michael O.?
Michael O. is a guy who’s always hungry. I’m always driven for bettering my craft and for making better music each and every time I’m in the studio.
Where are you from?
I’m from Portland, Maine but I now live in L.A.
What or who are some of your musical influences?
I had a really awesome upbringing. My mom has a great ear for music and played a lot of music from different genres. Everything from Queen, Biggie, Stevie Wonder, Fela Kuti, Prince, Beegees, Fugees, The Temptations, just to name a few.
I also have an eclectic taste in music, and I can find inspiration from artists such as Wizkid, Runtown, Vince Staples, Ella Fitzgerald, Kanye, and others.
If you were to take our readers on a tour of where you’re from, what would we see?
Portland is a small town, super chill. But it’s a dope vibe. Good food and good people.
What experiences can you share with us that led you down this path of chasing your dreams?
There are so many. My first memories of music were of watching the world premiere of Michael Jackson’s Remember the Time music video. To see someone so passionate about music, and making really dope videos was really inspiring.
How did you get started performing? What roped you in, figuratively speaking?
It started when I did a solo in 1st grade. I think the song was Ms. Murphy’s Chowder. From there, I was hooked to music.
I see that you were part of a large ensemble group “The Dartmouth Aires”. How has it been going from being a part of a group, especially one of that size, to now being solo?
The Aires taught me a lot about music, constructing harmony, and it was an awesome learning experience being a part of that group.
Do you still work with those guys or plan to?
I still talk to a lot of the guys from the group, and they will remain lifelong homies.
Michael O. – “Your Way”
How was your time on The Sing-Off? And what was it like gaining experience and advice from some of music’s legends such as Boyz II Men?
The Sing-Off changed my life. The Sing-Off made me realize that making music was my career path. I thought I was going to go into banking after college, but doing The Sing-Off my senior year was incredible.
It was a boot camp into performing, singing live, and giving your best effort. And, it was competition. I’m very competitive by nature, and it was fun to really see how good we could get.
You were really popular on the show. I mean, I saw how the ladies were screaming your name on the show (laughs). How hard was it to stay grounded with that newfound fame?
It was not hard to stay grounded. And the music business is a fight, and a hustle, so that keeps you grounded automatically. My goal was and has always been to get better artistically and make great art.
How do you come up with the ideas for your songs? Is there a particular method to the “madness”?
There is no method to the madness. For me, I love writing from an honest perspective, so I like writing about what I’m going through, or what I wish to go through.
Take us through your thought process of how you go about creating your music?
Completing a full song can vary at times. My song, ‘On My Own’ took three years to complete, while my other song, ‘Your Way’, took three hours.
And, I get inspiration in different ways. Sometimes I get melodies or get inspired by a moment in my life, or even in the shower.
Michael O. – “On my Own”
What artist(s) out now, if you were to compare yourself to someone, would you compare yourself to?
I would compare myself, to myself. I’m running my race and trying not to look left or right.
That’s understandable. So, who would you at least want to work with?
There are so many people I’d want to work with. From Rick Rubin, Diplo, Timbaland, Missy Elliot, Wizkid, and more.
What’s your favorite thing about being an artist?
My favorite thing about being an artist is learning that my art is a reflection of my life and that growth in both is really important. I’m constantly evolving, and growing, and learning, and my art is a reflection of that. I’m finding and leaning into my true authentic self.
What’re your future plans? What are you currently working on?
I released two new songs I’m really excited about. Check out ‘On My Own’ and ‘Your Way’ on all platforms.