It’s not necessarily emphasized, but there’s a big difference between being in a band and being a “songwriter.” Any musician will tell you, they don’t necessarily go hand in hand.
One who will most definitely tell you that is Mike Derrick, a skilled and savvy pop-rock artist from San Francisco who today is debuting his brand new album Shades of You. Although he has been in various bands throughout his musical career, he never really considered himself a songwriter. His life was more geared towards being an instrumentalist, creating musical chemistry with others, travelling from city to city, touring and living life on the road.
Then the pandemic came, life on the road came to a standstill, and he started drinking more heavily. When he was finally able to harness his affliction with alcohol, the creative juices began flowing, and suddenly Derrick’s musical career veered more towards being a songwriter, being honest with himself, and developing the self-confidence to put himself out there.
Commenting on Shades of You, Derrick shares:
“There was no specific catalyst for this album other than trying to create music that means a lot to me and hopefully to others. I wanted to go for a more produced sound, challenge myself with more thoughtful musicianship, a more polished and varied sound, while still attempting to maintain some catchy melodies. It’s funny, before I started writing proper songs 3 years ago, I was held back by a foolish notion that I had nothing to say.
“Now I realize that’s not the point, you’ve just got to get on with it and write about stuff that may seem innocuous but is actually quite therapeutic from a selfish perspective. The result is a bunch of stories about difficult relationships with loved ones, being there for loved ones, distant memories of adolescent anxiety, climate change, an homage to my heroes and, of course, love songs. Ultimately, if at least one of my listeners goes away humming one of my tunes, I’ll be happy.”
The album is the follow-up to his debut full-length My Old Friends, which only recently came out in October 2021. Proudly, Derrick writes, records, produces, plays, and engineers virtually every part of his music, all on his own. Shades of You is primarily a harmony-focused folk-rock record, with some odd time signatures, but a lot of relatable tried, tested, and true rustic charm.
This is music very much in line with the generation of great American songwriting, reminiscent of the spirit of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. The songs have been coming a mile a minute for Derrick over these last couple of years, and with that self-assurance, he has earned for himself, he is quite enthused to move forward into the next chapter of his songwriting career.
Shades of You Track Listing:
1. For You
3. Along The Way
4. The Wind Brings All To Dust
5. The Path Is Clear Now
6. Ditch The Rosaries
7. The Silver Nymph
8. Shades Of You
9. Keighley Heights
10. My Boys
11. For The Sake Of It