From the American Idol stage to becoming a brand in himself, Big Mike Lynche as he known to many, has become a household name. A name that is based on quality soul music, coupled with a classic R & B sound with modern elements. Beyond music Michael Lynche is a hardworking family man, enjoying the success and reward of being able to be a great human being, role model and loyal individual to his fans, his peers, and business partners. Meet the Man behind the Music and brand that is Mike Lynche.
Parlé Magazine: Thanks for the time. Let’s start off by talking about those that came before you. Who are some artists that have influenced you musically and discuss any elements that you have incorporated into your own sound?
Mike Lynche: Wow, there are so many to remember. My influences are wide ranging and began with my mom introducing me and my siblings to music from artists such as Bonnie Raitt, The Stylistics, Earth Wind and Fire, and Marvin Gaye. On the Hip-Hop side of things I respected great artists such as Biggie and Tupac, who became very influential on my love for music. In terms of R & B growing up I felt that Boyz II Men, Luther Vandross, D’Angelo represented that smoothness that I knew R & B music to have. Hands down my favorite musician of all time is Jimi Hendrix, and because of that I always wanted to play the guitar. From these artists and musicians that I name I incorporated the LIVE BAND sound which I use heavily in my show. For me live bands bring a certain flare to the music, which was an element of all the great artists music that I respected. Groups like Sly and The Family Stone brought that to their records and concerts as well as [an artist like] Sheryl Crowe. Storytelling is another element which I have incorporated into my music. My album was recorded like that–in phases; the first being fun and soulful; second and third phases being heavier on the R & B side which I would define as late night, lovers music. That’s where you get your ballads on the project. Next I have incorporated Acoustic Soul, and lastly some Pop to show how well-rounded my music is.
Parlé: What would you define as your brand of R & B?
Mike Lynche: Soul Music. The songs I record come from the heart. My music is very honest. Every song is how I felt the day that I wrote and recorded it, whether it was while I was traveling and was missing my family, those songs come off as very somber or whether I was uplifted and very joyous. My view on love comes from a very real place. I’ve been with my wife for 15 years, we are high school sweethearts. I am 28 years old now and with that experience has come the ups and downs, everything about love I sing from that place, very honest and soulfully.
Parlé: Many people have said that pure R & B is dead, with all the pop influence, etc. How do you feel about that?
Mike Lynche: I love a lot of the music that is being made today, and think that R & B is very diverse, and its a good thing. My sound does incorporate some of what the youngsters are doing today but at the same time I have that classic feel, one that the older crowd can Identify with. Very throwback, honest, as I said before, to my musical influences more than anything. I grew up on R & B and I let that show in my music. I believe that overall R & B should make you feel good; you should be able to put a record on and play it from beginning to end. That’s my goal when I record, that’s exactly what I wanted this album to be, I do not knock what anyone else does with their music, and to those that say R & B is dead I ask them to remember that there are artists out here who still offer pure R & B, the Maxwells, the Mary J Bliges, and India Aries of the business.
All Music changes with time and people need to be open to the current state of music. The auto tunes, and dance beats, they have their place. As long as the music is still genuine, I support it. For me all I want to hear is someone sing from their heart and I consider it real R & B.
Parlé: Love and second chances have “helped” you in life. From the incident on American Idol and in other places, but give me some examples of other ways you would say that love and second chances have defined you?
Mike Lynche: I grew up as a troublemaker. Funny story I went to my high school to speak to the kids, and I feel that things like that are very important to be able to show them that there is life beyond the high school years and the issues that they feel now. While I was there I reminisced on teachers who knew me and gave me a lot of leniency, police officers that saw me getting in trouble and gave me a pass, guidance counselors, etc. In my relationship, as I said we have been together for 15 years and we have needed second chances to last this long. Think about it, we have survived so many stages, puberty (laughs) onto college and into our early twenties when things can fall apart. Without second chances, we wouldn’t be here. I think every person deserves a second chance to reach their potential; a mentor or guidance that pulls them up and shows them that there is more than what might be going on at that moment in their life. Mistakes are a part of it all, they help you become smarter.
Parlé: Where are you from?
Mike Lynche: St Petersburg, Florida; me and my wife. I went to UCF. After that I moved to NYC to dive head first into pursuit of my music career. It was a big risk, but I took it as I trusted that that was where God wanted me to be. That time sharpened my skills and work ethic. My motto is “put feet to the pavement.” I learned that in New York. Now we have a family, me and my wife, our two children; we have returned to Florida so our children could grow up around family.
Parlé: How was it going back home after your appearance on American Idol?
Mike Lynche: People have always been good to me and my family. They see us together all the time. Even when I’m on the road, I bring my family with me, that’s important. With that people get to see raw emotions, just like on the show they actually got glimpses into my real life, and what was really happening with my family. With my daughter being born and me missing her birth, that was a very tough time for me and the world got to see it. It was gut-wrenching. I had to sacrifice as the man of my family, and that’s what being a man is about to me. Now that we are more settled, its a blessing that my wife can be home and raise our kids, with my help of course. I work hard and try to be a role model to our children. My hometown embraces me, they have given me a key to the city and established Michael Lynche Day. Its amazing and I am grateful.
Parlé: You were a part of the American Idol Live tour, talk about some of the memorable venues and places?
Mike Lynche: The tour in general was memorable. It was somewhere in the area of 40 cities. One thing that really stuck out was that Seattle looked exactly how I’d always known it to be described. Traveling to D.C. for the first time was great, being a part of all the history. Seeing the Washington Monument and other landmarks for the first time was amazing. Performing in NYC which is my second home, and Tampa/St Pete were remarkable and moments that I will never forget. The opportunity to take the stage at Jones Beach and St Pete Times Forum. It was very satisfying. But most of all the best part is being able to employ guys who have been with me from the being, individuals who I shared time on stage with for little or no money. Being able to employ them today is a blessing. I feel like I am a leader. My brand is an entity and it is growing. Doing business taxes, etc., feels like the dream is coming to fruition. The hard work that we put in, pressing CDs our self and making posters on our living room floor, me and my wife it has all paid off. Now I have an entire machine behind me. A team and they work hard to get the brand where it needs to be.
Parlé: Why did you choose to self title your debut?
Mike Lynche: Without a doubt this album represents all the sides of ME. We were toying with a bunch of titles and none of them fit better. For me it was important to self title so I can establish myself and my brand. A body of work that is not associated with American Idol, but about me stepping out. I worked on it for a year and a half. I wrote 35 songs. Every phase of the album is me, honestly about where I am in my life right now.
Parlé: Tell me about your label situation. I know you’re affiliated with Sony, but what are the specifics on that?
Mike Lynche: Well my label is Big 3 Records, we are distributed by SONY. We are an independent label that has had acts in the past, the likes of Carnie Wilson and Jon Secada. So its still building and my album is one of the first purely R & B projects worked on. Its been very interesting. Great because there was no time limit and the label has supported me all the way through. One of the biggest perks is my label exists right in my town and it was important for me to be around the day-to-day operations. I can come to the office everyday and see the people hard at work. I see the hustle on everyone’s part; we have raised the sense of urgency. Definitely putting our “feet to the pavement” and making things happen as a team. I love it.
Parlé: What’s next for Big Mike Lynche?
Mike Lynche: Well we are on the road with the record, basically taking it to people’s front door to make them embrace it. I want them to see where the passion and music comes from. This week coming I will be opening up for Boyz II Men and trying to get on the rest of that tour. I recently was in Dallas on the Tom Joyner show, which is a huge accomplishment for me. We were in there jamming. I love performing. As for my family, we are enjoying raising our kids. I work hard at being the kind of man that my son will want to grow up to be and my daughter will grow up to want to be with. Showing how a mother and father, husband and wife treat each other and work together for the better of the family.We are enjoying our lives, our success. My little girl is in soccer and ballet. My son is growing everyday, doing things like crawling, and trying to pull himself up on the couch–kid things, and I enjoy every moment of it.