Major Lazer’s ‘Lean On’ reworked by Brooklyn’s Wakey Wakey on new EP

Posted on 2 November 2016
By Khyle Deen
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Irrepressible US singer / songwriter Michael Grubbs aka Wakey Wakey is thrilled to announce the first in a series of new music releases. Following on from the critically acclaimed Overreactivist album, Grubbs has recorded a series of inspired unique cover versions, produced and performed in his own very ambient keyboard and vocal style.

Episode 1 features a haunting and epic version of the Major Lazer international hit, Lean On. Grubbs explains, “This cover was initially requested by a fan. At the time it was a pretty inescapable song and when I took the time to dig into it, I really connected to its story. This song features Amanda Lo on violin, who’s also one of my favorite violinists in New York.

Using violin, we recreated the synth solo note for note from the Major Lazer version and it ended up sounding really haunting and beautiful”

Showing diversity and a deft touch, Grubbs has also chosen to include his take on the Irving Berlin classic “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm” – “I grew up on Irving Berlin’s music. His writing to me is such amazing architecture” – as well as the recent 2016 Phantogram song, You Don’t Get Me High Anymore.

Says Grubbs, “These are three of my favourite tracks from the old to the new and I’m very excited to be able to deliver them in my own Wakey Wakey style. The recordings are collaborations with fantastic musicians from NY to LA. Two of them are co-produced by myself and Chris Cubeta, the producer of the ‘Almost Everything’ and ‘Overreactivist’ albums”

Wakey Wakey first came to prominence with his 2010 debut Almost Everything I Wish I’d Said The Last Time I Saw You which secured high profile TV placements with music on HBO series One Tree Hill, as well as Honda, Apple and Nationwide Insurance ads.

A native of Richmond, Virginia, Michael Grubbs began playing piano at the age of five, impelled by maternal instruction and inspired by the works of Brahms, Bach and Beethoven.

His artistic sensibility was formed and later augmented by his teenage discovery of Billy Joel and Led Zeppelin, gradually evolving into Wakey Wakey’s singular and unique sound. He relocated to New York in 1998 and became an understudy to Lach, a pioneering figure of the anti-folk scene on the Lower East Side that also featured Regina Spektor and Moldy Peaches.

After years of tending bar and playing open mic nights, he’d just about had enough. He fortuitously bumped into Mark Schwahn, chief writer and executive producer of the hit American TV drama series One Tree Hill, where he performed a brief set for him helmed by the then recent composition, War Sweater. The rest is history!

“Grubbs music is beautiful the first time you hear it, and fresh nuances reveal themselves with subsequent and closer listens. A compelling world to visit and the mature product of a confident artist” (Entertainment Focus)

“….the indie-pop singer has built a following that’s as passionate as his compositions.” (Americana UK)

“Grubbs combines some beautifully played piano with a voice so striking it resonates around the room, galvanizing everybody within earshot” (NME)


1 Lean On feat. Amanda Lo
2 You Don’t Get Me High Anymore feat. Emily Hope Price
3 I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm feat. Casey Shea