A gifted artist in every sense of the word--writer, singer, musician and performer - Michael Tolcher deftly blends unfailing melodic and organic pop sensibilities with a deep understanding of pop, soul and urban grooves drawn from his Southern upbringing. His debut album, I Am, is an inspired collection of songs and melodies that muse on life, love and social consciousness.
Hailing from Lovejoy, GA, one of Michael's early aspirations was to be an Olympic athlete. He was on his way as a miler, running track at Georgia Tech, until an injury sidelined his career and caused him to refocus on what he wanted out of life. Michael began his musical education while singing in the church choir as a child and was always playing more than a little guitar here and there. Honing his chops busking everywhere from the Atlanta Summer Olympics to the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, where his father was the resident chaplain, Michael broadcasted his new musical gospel via a state-issued guitar and enlightened the local prison community on a weekly basis. A chance encounter with renowned political activist, inmate and father of Tupac, Dr. Mutulu Shakur, impacted Michael greatly.
Says Shakur, who was especially impressed with Tolcher's gift with words, "In his music we are presented with the raw, clever rejection of the forces of NORM, without belligerences. The truth and depth of this artist inspires--begs us for a time of total honesty." Encouraged by this early mentorship and the affirmative response of his new audiences, Michael was convinced to pursue a formal musical career and embarked on a string of cross-country gigs in clubs, bars and coffee houses in search of more fans.
"When I went out, it was me, my van, and my guitar. It was a reflective time in my life, wandering across the country in solitude, seeking mind-opening experiences. At times it was very humbling, and at other times it was very empowering." This solitary creative pilgrimage ultimately became a time of self-discovery, inspiring many of the upcoming songs for I Am.
In the fall of 2003, having finally completed his journey in New York City, Michael set out to produce his debut album on Octone Records with pop crossover producers, Pop Rox. "He doesn't get on the mic and spit some false, brooding bullsh-- just to stay cool amongst his peers. Michael's words aim to uplift in an era when artists fear committing to thoughtful, uplifting material," testifies Pop Rox.
Recorded by Chris Shaw (Bob Dylan, Weezer, Dashboard Confessional) and mixed by Tim Palmer (U2, Pearl Jam, The Cure) & Mark Endert (Fiona Apple, Madonna), I Am boasts an impressive arsenal of ideas, melodies and messages - from the groove, beat-laden hooks of "Mission Responsible" & "No One Above" to the pop elegance of "Sooner Or Later" to the lyrical sophistication of "The Sun Song" & "Bad Habits."
For the sessions, Michael enlisted a diverse company of special guests to help realize his creative vision. The album includes harmonic, melodic and rhythmic contributions from ?uestlove (The Roots, Common), Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers, Gov't Mule), Gavin DeGraw, Pete Levin (Spin Doctors, Fun Lovin' Criminals), Eddie Martinez (Joe Cocker, Run-DMC), Paul Frazier (David Byrne, Shawn Colvin) and Carl Carter (Maxwell).
After applying the final mixing touches in NY and LA, Michael cast off once again to strengthen his fan base and share stages with Crosby, Stills & Nash, Sister Hazel, Everclear, Pat McGee Band, Tonic, George Clinton & P-Funk, The North Mississippi All-stars and Cowboy Mouth. An early, limited edition EP release helped to broaden the Tolcher story further.
Now, Michael and his band have been touring endlessly, accompanying Michelle Branch, Maroon 5, Gavin DeGraw, Virginia Coalition, Pat McGee Band, Everclear, The Clarks, Hanson, Howie Day and Sister Hazel. He has been gaining national exposure through television appearances on Jimmy Kimmel, Last Call with Carson Daly, American Dreams, and morning shows on the WB and CBS, and his single "Mission Responsible" is taking off at radio.
In Michael's words, "There's a side of me that I want you to see. That's what the record is about. Uncovering and Revealing. I attempt to open my personal experiences into human experiences making what I am a reflection of what you are. If I'm successful, then I become a single voice of the hearts and minds of many. That is the magic of artful expression. When it's real, it's felt both by the expressers and the witnesses. I wanted the record to tickle the ears, vibrate the hips and stimulate the mind. My formula is ancient and simple: Melody + rhythm + meaning = song."
I Am is in stores now!
--- from the official Michael Tolcher website