Tell us your real names, country of birth, date of birth and childhood experience.

Mike and the Suspects are:

Mike Fortier Lead Vocals

Jorge Orendain Keyboards,backing vocals

Doug Friend Drums, backing vocals

Mike was born in Chicago, Illinois December 17th 1956. He graduated from Kenwood Academy High School, where he was trained vocally by Dr. Lena McLin alongside famed operatic Bass/Baritone Mark Rucker. Dr. McLin has also inspired and trained R.Kelly. The Kenwood choir won many awards and all-city choral competitions, helped by soloists like Mike and Mark. Mike is first and foremost a Rocker, but also an amazing Jazz and R&B singer. He counts among his influences Steve Perry, Robert Plant, Steven Tyler, Smoky Robinson and Al Jarreau. He formed Mike and the Suspects in 1975 after graduation, with Jorge Orendain, a Mexican national who attended Marmion Military Academy near Chicago and Doug Friend, a Canadian who left Montreal with his family and went to St. Rita Catholic high school in Chicago.

The band performed on the same bar gig and high school dance/prom circuit as legendary Chicago based bands REO Speedwagon and Styx and performed with them at festivals and concerts across the midwest. They had some midwest radio hits, and warmed up for Sly and the Family Stone, (Sly was late as usual, and so they came back and calmed the crowd by performing a 2nd set until Sly finally arrived). Aerosmith and Journey.

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Tell us about your genre, concept and idea behind your music video and the song.

Our genre is a soulful gumbo with rock and R&B in the pot (Mike’s family migrated north to Chicago from New Orleans) and lyrics with a positive message that is spiritual without being preachy. While “South Side Girl” was a hit in the 70’s, we want to create a renaissance of the song to a new generation and are pitching the song to the Chicago White Sox for play at Sox Park next season.

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Tell us everything that we need to know about you as a musician and the ups and downs you have faced in the music business.

As a musician, I believe sincerity is what comes across when I perform, as well as write original songs. I believe I might be a bigger star if I were better looking guy, but then the hair bands and MTV came along and how you looked became the most important thing. Our fans remained loyal, but the National Breakthrough never happened. Frustrated, we broke up in ’89. It was not pretty. Mike ran into Jorge again in 2014, and we decided we could not even remember what caused the breakup. So we called Doug and reformed. We decided to go on an extended tour of Mexico, since they knew and like our music because of Jorge.

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Tell us about other members of your band, music producer, crew or music video director, how the song was recorded and how the music video was shot.

Jorge Orendain loves classic and progressive rock, and counts Jon Lord and Gregg Rolie as influences. Doug, still Canadian, loves Neal Peart of Rush and the Tragically Hip. I serve as band producer, having studied mixing and recording techniques in Nashville. The album was recorded in Nashville by Steve Peffer (Alabama) who also contributed keyboard parts and brought in additional musicians to round out the sound. Our mix engineer is Daniel Lerner, Grammy winner for Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memory” album.

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Tell us how long you have been in the music industry, your experience and your future goal.

My future goal? I love challenges, so to achieve the level of success denied me earlier at my current age would be one.

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Tell us what inspires you to write, compose and sing.

I am inspired by my muse- I hear a melody in my head or a clever turn of phrase and turn it into a song.

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Tell us the secret behind making a hit song.

A hit song needs a great hook, something that sticks in the head, is simple and relatable to a mass audience. I aim to write a great song that is true to me and my band and our sound. I have found trying to write a hit song creates bad songs.

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Tell us the message you will like to pass to your fans out there.

The message is Mike and the Suspects are back and badder than ever.

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Tell the kind of advice you will give to an upcoming artist.

Upcoming artists, do what you do, what you believe in and want to say lyrically and musically. If you stay true to your vision, success will follow. It has to be honest and it has to be you.

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Elaborate on your music careers, albums, songs, tours, recognition or awards you might have obtained.

We had two regional hits back in the day, “South Side Girl” and “A Brighter Day”. We toured as backup band with Head East, played at Chicagofest with Shooting Star, and already mentioned Styx and REO.

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List Radio or TV Stations that are airing your songs and blogs that have featured you as well and send message to them via this platform.

“South Side Girl” is being played on WLUW 88.7 FM and streamed at www.radioonechicago.com on their Thursday night local artist’s showcase. It was also used on DaBears blog podcast https://soundcloud.com/dabearsblog/dbb-weekendshow-aug-23-2017

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Tell us how you write your lyrics, compose, sing and record in the studio.

I write lyrics from life experience. I mentioned New Orleans is my ancestral hometown; I am Creole and can, as we used to say, pass for white. So I got to experience racism from BOTH sides, my neighborhood was all black, and the catholic schools were mostly white. But I also got great music like Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf and Etta James and the post Beatles wave of rock bands coming on like ZZ Top, Aerosmith, Bad Company and Foreigner. So all that goes in to my writing.

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Name five biggest artists that you like.

My 5 artists Al Jarreau, Led Zeppelin, Sly and the Family Stone, Journey and Buddy Guy.

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Name the artists you have collaborated with before in your songs or artists you are willing to collaborate with in the future if you have the chance to do so.

I have written songs with many people, but all were members of my band at the time. In the future I would write with anyone.

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Give us the links to your website and your entire social network.

mikeandthsuspects.com

https://www.facebook.com/pg/MikeAndTheSuspects/about/?ref=page_internal

https://twitter.com/i/notifications

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Give us the links to your various stores for fans to buy your music.

You can buy our album at mikeandthesuspects.com I have not chosen between CD baby, Distrokid, or Tunescore for distribution yet. On my to-do list.

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Tell us about your happiest day and saddest day.

Happiest day was when I met my wife. Saddest day was when my father passed.

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Tell us how you will spend a million dollars.

If I had a million dollars- I would form a group of the best musicians I have played with, make an album and go on tour with proper promotion. Anything left, I will solve world hunger. Hey, a million is really not that much money anymore.


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