ARTIST NAME: Mike Bauer
SONG TITLE: Is It Too Late
ALBUM TITLE: Financial Aid, Vol. 3
GENRE: Soul/R&B, 50s Doo-wop.
So far, 2019 has been a busy year for Mike Bauer. Releasing four new singles (Good Things, Sky So Blue, Window Watching, Wild), and two new music videos (Good Things, Window Watching), Bauer and his backing band are turning heads.
Recently playing to a sold-out crowd at The Troubadour, one of Los Angeles’s most storied and historic venues, Bauer and his ten-piece ensemble continue to show-off their musicianship and songwriting.
Writing mostly with producer, Adam Berg, or, Berg (The Decoders, Maejor), Bauer has a genre-bending style that is all his own and a vocal range to match.
Occasionally co-writing with the legendary Richard Rudolph, whose credits include Minnie Riperton, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Stevie Wonder has only refined that style.
“As the band seamlessly transitions genres during their set, it is clear that, individually, each band member is very talented in their own right. When playing together, the band’s synergistic harmonies take on a life of their own, and Mike Bauer is the conductor who brings it all together. From classy funk that makes even the most aloof Angelino want to dance, to soulful R&B that Phil Spector could not have done a better job producing… This is feel-good music done right; the antithesis to mindless radio pop where the only lyrics include a repetitious chorus. Even their moody songs are upbeat, leaving listeners with a lingering satisfaction.”
– Ryan Stabile, LA Examiner
Tell us your view on old and new school music in terms of preference.
I tend to admire the older models of songwriting and recording more than the modern ones. The musicianship in the pre-digital recording era was absolutely bananas. There were no multiple takes, no auto-tune, no midi. Most things were live-tracked and always played on real instruments.
While I love the clarity of the new school in terms of recording and playback, I really admire that old sound. It’s something I really try to fuse when creating and always use live instruments with live musicians when possible.
Tell us your most memorable day as an artist.
Stepping on stage at the Troubadour for the first time with some of my best friends on 04/20/2019 to a sold-out crowd. Just… wow.
Share your press releases and reviews with us.
“Los Angeles-based, independent singer-songwriter Mike Bauer recently shared his R&B tinged, soulful summer music video “Sweet Sunday” after the strong online reaction from “Mother of Exiles,” his artistic response to the political climate and immigration orders issued by the Trump Administration.
The latter has surpassed 220k views on YouTube since its premiere in May.
Both releases, co-written by Bauer and Grammy-nominated producer Adam Berg…
“The LA-based, independent singer-songwriter Mike Bauer has released his official music video single “Sweet Sunday,” a downright groovy, feel-good anthem – that bursts with sunny instrumentation, R&B tinged vocals, and a seriously-smooth sax solo.
The emerging songwriter, who also serves as a Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney by day, has been dropping well-produced, visually-stunning music videos often, and each release has been met with great acclaim.”
– Ground Sounds
“During my hunt for new music, I have tried many websites that allow artists to share their music with the world. I usually spend most of my day on Soundcloud because that is usually where most people send me their music. I also go on AudioMack because they have a great stream of recently released music (not just what’s popular at the moment).
One day I decided to try Reverbnation again, which usually has good music, but I find either people don’t use it as much anymore or maybe I am not searching right. After checking a bunch of random playlists, I clicked on the R&B/Soul section and then Soul/Pop playlist. There he was. The first song was Mike Bauer’s Sugar (it still is I just checked). I floated away on the cloud that was Mike Bauer’s voice. It was so smooth and essentially timeless.”
– Hope Love Media
“Looking to ‘create an old school Motown vibe with a modern twist’ for the third installment of his ‘Financial Aid’ series, Los Angeles based singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Mike Bauer sets a rueful mood with the organ accents and blues-tinged guitar licks of his single, ‘Sugar’, the smooth soul tone and falsetto hues of his voice offering a self-aware admission that he is unable to handle the vulnerability and commitment required to love, ‘I’m selfish, why can’t you see, that I only want to be in love with me’.”
“Bauer has a signature style that borrows from artists like R. Kelly, Maxwell, and Michael Jackson just to name a few. His timing is spot on and his vocal range is dangerous… I would recommend this CD to anyone looking for a taste of fresh contemporary pop with a touch of the old Michael Jackson swagger.”
Tell us how you protect your singing voice.
The voice is a muscle, so I just try to work it out as much as possible and never over-strain.
Tell us the major reason you are into music.
It’s my outlet and my solace. How I process and feel things. Sometimes, I overthink creating and performing because it is such a vulnerable state. It’s openly sharing your soul, knowing you will be analyzed and critiqued in the process.
Discuss creativity and originality in music.
I don’t believe anything is truly original. Everything we do is borrowed and learned from our surroundings and experiences, including sound.
Creativity occurs when it is re-interpreted by the songwriter.
In my younger years, I think I tried hard to sound like the voices I admired.
Now, I focus more on solidifying my own voice and perspective while still acknowledging the root influences.
There’s a certain level of loneliness and insecurity in songwriting that is less painful when you realize how many others have gone through the same experience of processing emotions while writing.
Tell us your plans pertaining to music.
To write and record the best quality music with an underlying message that I possibly can, with the best quality humans I can find to create with.
Tell us the secret of success.
I’ll let you know when I feel like I’ve attained success!
Tell us how you get started as a musician.
I was just always around it and could always sing. My grandfather tapped and sang on the Lawrence Welk Show back in the 50s:
My father sang with the Falconaires Jazz Band in the USAF, and my sister is a professional cellist who has performed with everyone from Adele to Andrea Bocelli.
I started writing my first songs in Kindergarten. Though, I’ve always somewhat been tentative about my music career as I have seen so many not reach their own goals. I felt it was important to get an education while learning and shaping my musicianship as well.
Tell us what makes you happy and sad about this project.
I am very proud of the work I have put out to this point, including this single “Is It Too Late.”
I wanted to create something honest, something timeless. I am sad it isn’t more widely heard, or the video is widely seen. Music is always more fun the more it is shared.
Tell us your point of view on rape and sexual harassment, and how to eradicate it.
As a prosecutor for Los Angeles County and the son of a woman who had her own experiences with both domestic violence and sexual abuse, I have a very deep understanding of the after-effects of such crimes on a personal and professional level.
In terms of completely eradicating these issues, I don’t believe that is possible. If humans co-exist there will be those that victimize others. However, I do believe that with education and teaching more empathetic principles beyond traditional academics, I do see a substantial drop in instances of rape and sexual harassment possible.
In order to understand these issues, we need to be able to converse openly with both abusers and victims, without judgment and without malice. Only then can we understand the cause of such crimes, and their subsequent effects.
If you haven’t ever volunteered at a woman’s shelter, listened to a victim or abuser, you cannot possibly relate. As such, I wish individuals were more active in seeking to understand these issues before making opinions on anyone else’s experience.
List the people that assisted in making this song.
Daniel Krieger produced and engineered the song. He also played electric guitar on the track. Kenny Ford, Jr. played bass. Jeff Lewis on Keys/Organ. Priska Lim sang all the amazing backgrounds with her gorgeous voice. Don Houston was on drums. I wrote the topline/chords/lyrics.
The video was directed by Nanea Miyata, and it is by far my favorite music video I have made thus far.
Tell us how you get financial support to run your music career.
My own pocket. This is why I am habitually broke! I am very adamant about making sure I compensate the people I work with as much as I can.
As an independent artist, it can be expensive to create, especially if you are wanting to remain fair and equitable with all that you work with. That is extremely important to me.
Tell us the genre of your music and the reason for choosing this genre.
I am a genre-bender for sure. The best way I can describe my music is if Soul walked into an R&B bar and ordered some Funk with a side of Jazz and that order was then delivered by a blue-eyed white boy backed by the best damn humans/musicians he could find.
Tell us if you prefer to write your own songs or you prefer to write with professional songwriters.
I prefer to write with others because you will always learn something while writing together with someone else. It’s also such a unique and shared experience each time that all involved get to look back on and remember the creating process. I love that.
Tell us if you prefer to produce your songs or you prefer to work with reputable producers.
Often, I write with Adam Berg (who is an exceptional producer). Sometimes we argue quite a bit about the production… Sometimes his approach wins the day, sometimes mine. Either way, our goal is always the same… To write and produce a damn good song.
Tell us the story behind this song.
In my 20s I was in a long-term relationship and it was at its end. Like most people in their first long-term relationship, I was still very much learning who I was and how to be a good partner.
This song was written after the break-up as an acknowledgment of the things I did that led to the break-up and things I wish I had done better. The question “Is It Too Late?” Well, it was… She is now happily married with two beautiful children and I am so happy/proud of her. I still neglect the dishes…
Tell us the project you will pursue to make society better.
I hope I am already doing it, every day. I serve my community as Deputy District Attorney. This means my primary responsibility is to protect the community through the fair and ethical pursuit of justice and the safeguarding of crime victims’ rights. That can mean taking a case to trial and all the way to verdict, or, at times dismissing cases that cannot be proved.
I also hope I am making society better with the music I release. I intentionally avoid writing about superficial topics, materiality, and negative messaging.
I try to write about meaningful experiences and am careful with the prose I use to communicate ideas. I want to always be able to look back at something I wrote and share it with pride.