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Fritz Michel Comes to Terms That “We Are What We Are”

Singer-songwriter Fritz Michel has been eagerly awaiting the release of his debut EP, 'On The Rocks.' Like his vast audience, the anticipation comes with an eagerness that can't be beaten.

Like his previous singles, all of which accumulated thousands of hits on YouTube and Spotify, "We Are What We Are" embraces a pure pop sound similar to Belle & Sebastian, Badfinger, and Big Star. Holding onto a flair for harmonic melodies and certain lyrical largess, Fritz Michel finds himself taking a bold step forward in his emerging music career.

The lead single's music video captures our attention most when discussing the highly anticipated EP. "We Are What We Are" takes a rural approach to the storyline etched into this visual component. Commencing with time lapses that have us taking in the great outdoors, the detail laced into each scene unveils a story worth listening to.

Fritz Michel's eclectic embrace has us following the curiosity of the new resident at the countryside home basking in nature. With random occurrences that provoke more curiosity, a sense of belonging comes to life as more and more people with smiles on their faces appear and engage with the young femme catching her footing.

Through Fritz Michel's soothing timbres that take this slow tempo bop to the next level, we admire the expression that makes up our exploration path in "We Are What We Are." Each scene's abstract and poetic essence leaves us stunned and wondering when we can undergo the plot again. Lucky for us, Fritz Michel is full of surprises, and if "We Are What We Are" is anything like what we'll find within 'On The Rocks,' then viewers are in for a slice of creativity at its finest.

Welcome to BuzzMusic, Fritz Michel, and congratulations on the recent release of "We Are What We Are." With such an abstract music video to pair with this song, what can you tell us about the inspiration behind the video?

Thank you. We saw the video as a 21st Century riff on "The Wizard of Oz" with nods to both "Wicked" and 1978 super-soul musical The Wiz. Director Gavin Price and I share a background in experimental theater. We envisioned combining elements of dance and ensemble work along with location-specific found objects to tell the story. You will spot Dorothy's red shoes if you look carefully!

How does the music video for "We Are What We Are" speak to your work as an artist? Was this a departure for you or in line with your past video releases?

The Oz story reminds us that life really is about the journey and your traveling companions rather than the arrival. I've discovered lately that we are always a work-in-progress and lines up with my artistic ethos. I want the "We Are What We Are" video to play like an old-school MTV-style music video with its own narrative. Pulling a big cast together and choreographing the dances with Gavin was a big departure for me. That said, I'm a huge history buff, so pulling from the past always informs my work. I used 1930s Golden Age animation for the "Stardust" video. Found archival footage of divers and daredevils illustrates the "King of Corona" video. That song is also on the 'On The Rocks' EP.

You have just released a new single, "Suddenly You Love Me." What can you tell us about the song?

"ZAI, ZAI, ZAI, ZAI" (the lyric) says it all! "Suddenly You Love Me" was a big international hit in the late 1960s from a British Invasion band called The Tremeloes. French pop star Joe Dassin covered the same song as "Siffler sur la Colline" in 1969. Based on a 1968 Italian number called "Uno Tranquilo," "Zai, Zai, Zai" was covered in at least 15 different languages ranging from Malaysian to Romanian. I grew up in France listening to Joe Dassin, and French is my first language. I thought singing in French would prove an interesting creative challenge. The chord progression sounds a bit like some European folk song, and there's something timeless and mysterious in that melody. I wanted to keep the mod and dancehall vibe but modernize the sound without losing the fun swing. After exploring both the French and English lyrics, I think this one's got a singular jaunty international vibe that speaks to strange information-laden times! With this debut EP, On The Rocks, I'm introducing listeners to my journey and voice as a singer/songwriter, which began in earnest during the pandemic. As weeks of lockdown dragged on and I felt stranded in existential crisis, stepping out of my comfort zone creatively offered an escape. This batch of songs speaks to my memories of loss and hopes for healing. I try to write songs that I'd want to hear and then find stories in the color of our daily human vignettes. I pull from lots of influences, including jazz, classic rock, 80s New Wave, indie folk, and pop

What should we expect from your forthcoming EP, 'On The Rocks?'

I think the best songs are ones that listeners find relatable, so I'm hoping to connect with audiences and start a new conversation. Music, I think, fills some need for bliss and magic whether you are performing, composing, or listening. The dialogue between the artist and the audience drew me into acting, directing, and performing many years ago, so I think of this EP On The Rocks as a natural continuation. I've also had the great fortune to work with my amazing producers, Jason Cummings and Tosh Sheridan. Without their collaboration and musicianship, these songs would not exist.

What are you most excited for listeners to take away from this project?

I'm hoping that listeners and viewers (since I love making music videos as well) find something they trip over and don't forget! That's where we're all part of the creative process together. On The Rocks is about taking risks. Mine, I take creatively, and I'm looking for an audience to take a chance on me.

What's next for you?

I'm looking forward to performing live. You learn so much about the songs as they come to life in different ways without the safety net of the studio. That process of creating and then going live is always where it's been for me, whether on film, on stage, or playing music! It's terrifying too, but that keeps me searching for the sweet spot! Like anything, music can be confusing, paradoxical, embarrassing, and sometimes just bizarre.

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