Creative Review New Music
West Kirby born singer-songwriter and accidental TikTok star Michael Aldag is riding a wave to stardom.
From millions of views on his viral comedy videos to his smartly observed tunes with razor sharp lyrics, this 19-year-old has the requisite spark to be a pop star.
We sat down with Michael to find out more about his rising success on and off social media.
Purple Revolver: Hello, lovely to meet you. So could you just briefly introduce yourself?
MA: “I’m Michael. I am an artist from Merseyside. I’m 19 years old and I made electro pop music.
If you had to describe the music in one sentence, what would you say?
MA: “Oh, that’s tough. Slightly tongue in cheek, and brutally honest pop music.
And have you always wanted to make music? How did it begin for you?
MA: “I started singing when I was seven in my school nativity play, and then from there, I just kept on singing.
“I started writing songs when I was 14. I think it’s been the only thing that I’ve been any good at so I thought I better pursue it.
Can you pinpoint what initially inspired you to get into music?
MA: “I remember listening to The Killers in my dad’s car when I was when quite young and thinking that is really cool.
“And then I just think I wanted to do something like that. Writing and creating music has been a really good way for me to deal with certain emotions and whatever else – and it’s just fun.
“I really enjoy it. So yeah, I think that’s where it all stems from.”
Your songs are quite observational. Do you get inspired by events around you like relationships or current affairs or anything like that?
MA: “Yeah, definitely. I think most of my songs are me just talking about myself or things that have happened to me.
“So maybe I’m a little bit narcissistic in some ways, but maybe that just helps me exercise that. And but yeah, definitely current affairs as well. I’ve written some songs regarding stuff like that.
“It’s whatever kind of moves you, whatever you’re moved by, be it you know, world events or events in your own your own life. Writing about them, kind of helps me digest them and get to grips with what’s happening.”
Have you always been into writing, when did that start for you?
MA: “When I was 14, I wrote my first song, which was about the Hillsborough disaster. We, my family, went to visit the memorial.
“Then I thought I was moved enough to write about that. That’s where it started. And then from then on, I continued writing and still do, and, because I love it.
So we are a Merseyside-based blog, do you think the local area helps inspire you?
MA: “Definitely, I’ve lived here all my life. So anything that’s probably happened has happened here, that I’ve written about thus far. My grandma lives in Liverpool and we live on the Wirral, so we’re always back and forth over to her.
“I did go to uni in Liverpool, before I dropped out recently, so that you know that area means a lot to me and it’s definitely inspired one or two songs.”
Who would you say the biggest influence on your sound is?
MA: “There are possibly four artists who have inspired me most… The Killers definitely, I love their sonics, the synths they use, the song writing is so good and the emotion that gets portrayed in the songs. Bastille I think sonically and The 1975 as well, I love their lyrics and again the synths they use and Phoebe Bridgers also is lyrically really, really, really good.”
You are also a TikTok star, do you think that has any influence on your music at all?
MA: “I wouldn’t say directly TikTok no, but I think I do write a bit about social media. I was writing music before I before I started TikTok so that hasn’t had any direct bearing.
“I definitely don’t write songs and just for TikTok, but I do write songs about social media because especially over the past year, it’s been a huge part of my life and probably lots of other people’s as well being locked away and whatever. So I think in that regard, yes, but I never set and go oh here is a song for TikTok.
Would you say it has given you a bigger platform to share your music though?
MA: “Yeah, most definitely. I’m really grateful for TikTok and the audience that I’ve been able to cultivate on there. But yeah, I’m really happy with that. It definitely helps get people listening to my music, which is for me the most important thing.”
Have your fans been able to cross over from your comedy videos to your music? Or do you think they’re separate fan bases?
MA: “No, I think they definitely merge between the two which is really nice, because hopefully, it gives people a more kind of 360 view of me and they can understand the songs more.
“There is some humour in my music and that’s where the two kind of crossover. I don’t think they’re completely separate entities. So yeah, I’m really pleased that the people have kind of found me through TikTok, and then became invested in my music that for me is, is the goal to keep that happening.”
Which one would you want to find a wider audience for music or TikTok?
MA: “Music most definitely because that’s what I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember. That’s my dream to pursue a career in music. So definitely music without a doubt.”
Have you got a favourite song to perform live?
MA: “I have not performed live in so long, but I suppose I’ve got a song, it’s not released yet, but it’s called ‘Ghosted’. And which hopefully, I’ll be able to perform at my shows in September, which I’m super excited for that, that’ll be the one.”
Has lockdown affected your music, then?
MA: “It’s allowed me to write a lot more, because I’ve had a lot more time especially like, last year, I’d wake up and go for a run or try and think of some musical ideas come back and produce it.
“So there is definitely that aspect of it. And then a lot of things have happened to me in lockdown, I lost my granddad and just lots of things changed so its kind of a very crass way to view to view it, but there’s lots of material.”
Why is music important to you?
MA: “Music is important to me personally, writing music is so important because it helps me that’s kind of how I deal with anything in my life, be it good or good or bad. And so I think there’s that but then listening to music as well.
“That’s just so powerful when you find something that you can really relate to and kind of match parts of your life up to. I found Phoebe Bridgers last year, for example, when I was in a really low point and then started listening to that and it felt like stars aligned in a weird way because things that she was singing about I was going through.
“You feel less alone in the in the low points but even in high points as well. It’s just such a magical thing when you can connect to somebody who you don’t know at all, you’ve never met or anything, and you can feel less alone. But it’s not all about being alone, you can have good times as well. But I think that’s really when it can when it can help you.”
When it goes deeper than just a feel good song.
MA: “Yes, I think there is an element of that when you are, because I think before that real low point, you can enjoy it, but sometimes you find that real deep kind of ‘oh I get it’. And then it can help you move on with things, and helps you progress in your life. I think that’s just crazy and really cool.”
So what are your future plans? What’s coming up for you?
MA: “I’ve got the shows in September, which are which are going to be cool. And then I’ve got a song coming out next month called ‘Tonsilitis’, which is quite a sad song. I wrote that when I was in the low point that I keep banging on about, I must sound absolutely morbid.
“I promise that I do have some happy songs too. But that song is coming out in July so that’s going to be really really cool for me for people to finally hear that. And then I’ve got another song coming out in September and then another one around November. It’s all kind of pencilled in, it’s not for certain but I just want to keep releasing music and getting more people to hear it and then hopefully release an album next year sometime.”
Do you do music full time? Or do you study as well?
MA: “Yes, I do music full time now. I did study popular music at the Uni of Liverpool, but I just recently signed a record deal so I’m pursuing that currently. I’m really enjoying it and I’m able to kind of focus all of my energy into music, which I’m very grateful and lucky to do.”