Chad Michael is an independent hip-hop and R&B artist from Tuscon, Arizona. He is a rapper, singer and songwriter. After earning his Bachelor’s degree in English from Western New Mexico University in 2014, Chad packed his life up into his Toyota 4Runner and drove west to sunny Los Angeles, California. Leaving everything behind, he started off in LA with no connections or contacts in the music industry. Having only begun recording in 2012, Chad is constantly developing not only his artistic craft but his knowledge of the music industry as well. As a committed independent artist, he has taught himself techniques in audio engineering, production, marketing and web development while simultaneously writing and recording his music. Chad’s style continues to evolve, relying on a wealth of inspiration. His lyrics are reminiscent of some of Chicago and Brooklyn’s most conscious hip hop acts. A great deal of Chad’s music follows similar themes: lust, anxiety, mistrust and melancholy are often juxtaposed with a growing confidence in his ability to persevere and change the world through music. He does his best to impart these lessons through his music, but also acknowledges that he is only human and may not always follow his own advice. Chad Michael is here to stay, committed to constant improvement in both himself and his music, writing from the heart for both himself and the collective consciousness.
BuzzMusic presents Chad Michael’s EP, “Rain III”. Preceded by “Rain I” and “Rain II”, “Rain III” is the finale to the trilogy that continues his personal story as an independent artist in southern California. The EP is a journey through five polished songs that are deep and intellectual and widely varied in mood, texture and techniques. Themes of the artist’s personal life clearly shine through the EP, ranging from lust, anxiety, social awareness and dedicated perseverance. The EP’s opening track, “Diamonds”, begins with an ethereal, airy and dream-like introduction, which transitions (after the lyric “wake up!”) into a rhythmically pounding rap. The verse is confident, powerful and delivered with dizzying speed. The chorus by contrast is mellow and lulls one into a sense of bliss, the falsetto tones soothing every nerve in the body. This track is a perfect mix of moods, with the incredible speed and rhythm of the verses, and the dream-like quality of the introduction and chorus. At just over three minutes, “Diamonds” is a short yet impressive showcase of skill and versatility.“The Aura” is the second song of “Rain III”, which also has a music video that was released in February featuring downtown Los Angeles. Similarly to the first track, the introduction is calming and ethereal. The use of guitar might seem unconventional, but is very tastefully introduced, and worth noting that Chad himself plays guitar on this track. The verses are delivered with relative ease, with a confidence that is indicative of a talented wordsmith. The chorus is a welcome return to something that sounds familiar yet fresh. The haunting lyric near the end of the song, “can you find your way home?” leaves this song hanging on a lingering question.
“4th Ave” is a homage to Chad’s hometown of Tucson, Arizona. This song, as in “The Aura”, is laden with lyrical themes such as growth and perseverance. This song is the first of the EP to feature a more aggressive beat from the beginning, which persists constantly through the whole track, with the same rhythmic and poetic qualities of the lyrics continuing to shine through.
Following “4th Ave” is the title track of this EP, “Rain III”. Beginning with a rich sounding guitar, this song has the most melancholy mood of the lot. The beat is slower, and the lyrics are delivered with an urgency that speaks of a passionate internal struggle and inner strength. There is an airy and celestial quality and mood to the arrangement and production, and as a contrast to his earlier intense rhythmic raps, this song really showcases Chad Michael’s more contemplative and softer side. “Garden” finishes up this 5 song EP with a hopeful and dynamic shift from the doom and gloom of the album to a more positive message. With the first lyric, “It sounds like a garden, so you let it grow”, the mood is immediately set in a much more positive light than the preceding song. The beat is uplifting, and the mood and delivery of the vocals are peaceful in contrast with the heavy mood of “Rain III”, yet Chad Michael has no problem maintaining energy and momentum with his vocals. “Garden” is a ray of sunlight, exploring the concepts of new territory and possibility, maintaining the verbal skill and range listeners have come to expect from Chad Michael.
“Rain III” is an action packed EP, with each of the 5 songs showcasing Chad Michael’s wide array of talents. The rapping itself is skillful, rhythmic, and memorable. What’s astounding is the amount of lyrical and thematic content that this artist is able to put into a single song. In just a few minutes, he is able to transport you through an emotional journey through time and space. Themes like perseverance, self-doubt and self-confidence, and a personal pilgrimage in the pursuit of happiness are sincerely presented throughout the EP. This reveals a depth of character in this young artist that we hope to see more of, and provides the listener something that almost anyone can relate to on some level. “Rain III” is an example of an excellent EP, so check it out and experience the journey that it has to offer!
Be sure to check out Chad Michael's EP "Rain III" on Spotify, and remember to scroll below to get to know the artist better through their personalized interview!
Hey Chad! Thanks so much for catching up with us. Can you start by briefly describing your background and how you first developed an interest in making your own music?
Thanks for taking the time y'all! I think a lot of my early inspiration owes to the fact that I grew up playing basketball, and when I started playing on traveling teams early on in high school, I was introduced to a lot of new experiences culturally, including a lot of hip-hop and rap music that I had never been exposed to before. The rawness, the passion, and the sounds themselves definitely opened up a brand new world for me, and over the next few years I really took a deep dive into the culture and history of hip-hop across the country. I've been playing guitar since I was 16, and I've always written poetry as well. When I was 21 I wrote and recorded a verse for the first time, kind of as a fun side project, but it really felt amazing and natural. The people around me also immediately told me that I was on to something special, so I bought a microphone, started writing a lot of songs, and just went for it after that. I felt a real connection to the kind of music I was making, even if it was extremely raw. I've been practicing, improving, and learning ever since, and that fire I felt has never left.
Growing up in Tucson, what was the music scene there like?
I never thought to explore it much. When I was growing up, downtown was a lot of boarded-up buildings and failing businesses. There were concerts from bands and groups passing by, but in terms of artists really coming from the city, I didn't know of any. Tucson is a college town, big on sports and outdoors events and pursuits, and that really was the focus in my childhood. As I got a little older, the city started to put a lot of money into making downtown somewhere to be - clubs, restaurants, night life - and the music scene started to take baby steps. I felt when I started making music that I had to leave Arizona to pursue my goals. I really didn't feel like there were enough opportunities or community support for me to truly grow, and that's a huge reason I moved to LA. But recently, I've noticed a definite grassroots movement in hip-hop in Tucson. There are some talented artists coming up now, and it seems like they're all trying to support each other, which is cool to see. The city actually just had its first hip-hop festival this month - I'm hoping to be a part of it next year. Its always been my goal to come back to Arizona and use these experiences to help build us all up.
Would you mind walking us through your writing process?
Definitely! I never put deadlines on my writing. Sometimes, a verse will take a month to finish, sometimes I can write one in an afternoon. It all really depends on what I'm trying to say, and if I'm all the way ready to say it yet. My verses and songs take me on these paths of understanding, and they create stories that at times I'm not sure what the resolution is. It starts with the instrumental usually, finding the base by which I want to write to. When the music itself strikes me is when I know I need to write over it. I write random lyrics and keep them in a folder on my phone, and sometimes when I need some inspiration I'll pull a couple of those lines out and add them to my verse, but I mostly start from scratch every time. I also write songs on paper now, in pen. There are scribbles and cross-outs all over the place, but for me it keeps all of my thoughts in order, and if I can't actually delete ideas, then I might be able to come back to them more easily later. These notebooks are really like road maps through my process and inspirations, and sometimes just looking through them all is motivation enough for something brand new.
A lot of your music speaks about your personal journey through the music industry. What prompted your brave decision to pack up your 4Runner and move to Los Angeles?
I didn't want to be normal. I grew up in a place where I could've easily found a good-paying job and settled down with the whole classic American life thing. I'm not saying that isn't good enough - for a lot of people, that life is a dream and an accomplishment in itself, but for whatever reason I've always felt like I had something special to offer this world, and through my music is how I found that passion. I believe in myself, my abilities to push boundaries and to make more of my life than anyone expects. I knew this move would shock my system and force me to open up to new possibilities and situations, and that is exactly what it's done. My experiences here could never have happened at home. There's too much comfortability for me to have really grown into the person I'm becoming now. I needed to be uncomfortable to grow, and I think that goes for all of us, in any =thing we are aspiring to do or become. I hope my music speaks to that for anyone dealing with uncertainty or difficulty in their lives.
What can we expect to see from Chad Michael in the future?
I can't wait to get on stage more. I'm trying to do as many live shows as I can find this year, get in front of new people, and spend more time collaborating with some amazing and talented artists. I'm also starting to lay the framework for my first studio album. I don't have much more news on that at the moment, just know that its firmly on my horizon and something I can't wait to accomplish. I'm focused on whatever's next, and I'm moving towards it.
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