Michael Bernard Fitzgerald is a Canadian singer and songwriter based in Calgary, AB. He’s built his career as a touring artist, performing at festivals, theatres and venues across North America and Europe. Michael’s latest single, “Our River,” (Treasure Island Records) explores the idea that a song could paint a picture of the future, versus detailing something that had already happened. The song is a rhythm-driven folk track meant to feel warm and hopeful – exactly the right remedy for our weary hearts in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic. We sat down with Michael to chat about the new single, how he got his start in music, and so much more.
What inspired “Our River”?
Michael Bernard Fitzgerald: “I wanted to start writing about something I hadn’t lived yet – The song starts to dream about moving to a farm and living a simpler life.”
What’s your favorite lyrical line in the song? Why?
“‘with a kitchen FM radio’ Is my favourite. I love plain descriptive lyrics – I think there is something beautiful in a simple line. In ‘Our River’ that kitchen FM radio is something I can see so vividly, and it anchors that farmhouse for me.”
How did you get your start in music?
“I started writing songs when I was in high school. I had this desire to write and to play shows, and I went with it. I’m not sure what that initial driver was, or if there was a start point, but it grew from there.”
What led you to start writing songs?
“I would always come back from a guitar lesson as a kid and try to make up my own ideas over the chords – looking back now I couldn’t tell you where that urge came from. Songwriting has become my favouite part of making and playing music, for a long time I think I did everything so that I could go and play it live, but the focus has changed. It feels so good to arrive at a song that you love, to write something and have it be exactly what you want to be saying.”
Who are some of your major musical influences and how have they shaped your sound?
“I always reference Paul Simon’s concert in the park. His writing was definitely my first inspiration, and that concert was epic. Massive amazing band, and 750,000 people in central park loving every minute.”
How has COVID-19 affected you as an artist?
“It has certainly changed how our industry operates, but as an artist is has allowed for a lit of introspection and planning time. There were a few moments where we debated our release timeline, but I am thankful that we went ahead and released ‘Our River.’ We are seeing all over the world (in so many instances) that we have to connect in a different way.”
What’s the one thing you are most looking forward to when the pandemic ends?
“I don’t think I have one specific thing that I’m looking forward to. I am definitely eager to see what comes next and to play my part in that. This has been an unprecedented time, and I am interested to see what our world is like going forward.”
Live streaming is a controversial topic right now because it is hugely popular in our current music industry… do you think it’s a fad or will it last long after the coronavirus?
“I think that if people are finding the connection that they need to their favourite artists through that medium then it is great. Connection is so vital for artists and fans, and I’m glad that people found that way to communicate.”
What can fans expect next?
“We’re releasing another song from Love Valley July 10th and I’ve started to play small live concerts, more info on that at michaelbernardfitzgerald.com. Love Valley is up for pre-save and will be available October 9th – Thank you V13 for the support.”