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It’s hard to remember much about the person I was in high school, especially while I’ve been on this tour de self-resurrection. I always try to progress, as if the person I was yesterday wasn’t good enough. And today I’m forced to reflect on a time almost a decade ago, remembering a rendition of myself that for so long I was ashamed to own.
That makes this walk down memory lane both challenging and thought-provoking.
I’m sitting in Starbucks when in walks singer/songwriter Mike Scheffler, who goes by the stage name Michael Lane. He doesn’t look much different than he did ten years ago, even though I don’t think we spoke a word to each other back in high school.
I remember he was a good football player and that many people took a liking to his personality. I never made the effort to see what all the hype was about, too stuck in my obstinate ways and altogether convinced that my fortunes would change simply because time would pass.
Two years later we shared a few laughs during a volleyball tournament, but you take that afternoon away, and not much remains.
Fast forward seven years, and geez, life sneaks up on you quick. I’m supposed to be writing new content for the magazine I write for, but because no one is in my ear barking orders, that task has been de-prioritized on the to-do list.
I’m aimlessly scrolling through Instagram one day when inspiration strikes. It’s Scheffler, and he’s promoting his brand. I’m one of those artists who believes inspiration is as much given as it is created. I mean, I was just pondering how ineffective my search for new content has been, and then Scheffler, an artist currently operating out of Minneapolis, appears on my screen.
Here’s something funny: I actually don’t like interviewing musicians. It’s nothing to do with Scheffler, and it’s nothing to do with musicians. It’s just, for me, I have no idea how music actually works. I’m that guy who plays whatever YouTube recommends when I go to the gym. I also believe writing a book is easier than coming up with enough lyrics to create an album.
I can tell you what music I like, but in terms of what industry-types constitute as quality, that answer is elusive. Yet when I put on Scheffler’s single, “Paradise”, I know it’s good. Not because I purport expertise in music, but because it’s calmingly refreshing, and when he talks about making love to his best girl for a few hours after getting high, I can relate to that.
And so I continue to relate, replaying his song at least six times while I ride my bike up to St. Cloud to visit an old friend. The next day my friend and I are going to ride further north to my favorite city in Minnesota, a town of 60,000 called Alexandria. And then after a hotel stay preceded by an appropriate level of debauchery, at least in comparison to the amount we engaged in back in our respective heydays, we are going to ride back.
The constant will be Scheffler’s music blaring through my headphones, because while cycling has brought me an iota of glory, putting my head down while 30 mph gusts of wind crash into my face isn’t my idea of a good time. I need something to get me through the turbulence.
I also want to confirm Scheffler’s work is indeed music to my ears, and not just a catchy pop song I will begin to hate after the second listen, much like Ed Sheeran’s stuff.
I know, I know. This is where my credibility as a guy writing about music goes away, but seriously, I don’t like Ed Sheeran’s music.
I’m not saying the guy isn’t a good artist. It’s just that when I hear his overplayed diatribes about how much love hurts, I get turned off. But Scheffler’s work isn’t like Ed’s.
And once Scheffler orders his coffee and sits down, all the background noise seems to fade away. It’s just me and Mike.
“Pretty much in the studio,” Scheffler begins when I ask him of what his production process currently looks like. “I’ve been working on some technical skills, as far as creating content. I have always been able to tell stories.”
His ability to depict life in a creative medium began at a young age. “My mom got me into music,” he says. “And then I just fell in love with it in college. I looked at that as the initial step in gaining a fanbase.”
He leans forward in his chair as he ponders his next words. For Scheffler, our meeting is not about showmanship. He doesn’t feel the need to overstate his current position.
“You put me in a real life setting, I’m very introverted. But if you put me on a stage, it’s a completely different thing.”
***to be continued***
To listen to Mike Scheffler’s music, click here