By: Craig Claro
We came across this artist on the collaboration of “Phoning In” with Darro, a kickass pop-punk song that dropped in March 2022. Just shortly after that “Pedestal” was released and it solidified us becoming a fan of Michael Meaney. We took a listen to the back catalog as well and it brought us to this interview.
Cage Riot: Michael we were so excited to become fans of you and we don’t know where to start!! Let’s go with your latest release, “Pedestal”. The song’s credits show produced by Joe Occhiuti, mixed and mastered by Matt Malpass, and then written by Joe Occhiuti and yourself. Can you tell us a little about this team and how the players came to be a part of this creation?
Michael Meaney: Thank you so much! I’m just as excited to be talking with y’all.
So, I've been working and writing with Joe for a bit now. He’s one of my closest friends and has really been like a mentor to me and helped me grow a lot as a singer/songwriter. He’s currently in Ice Nine Kills and our band FlatOut. He's written for and with some amazing artists and we work so well together and have a lot of fun.
He introduced me to Malpass last year to start working on FlatOut tracks. After hearing the music he’s worked on I knew I had to have him be a part of my solo career. The three of us just naturally connected on our taste in music, so Malpass knew exactly what I wanted to hear as the finished product. Matt is the GOAT. He has worked with some incredibly talented people and has been a part of some top-selling records with people who are superstars in my eyes. I’m so grateful to be working with them
Cage Riot: Wow the path of an artist always seems to be paved with experiences that always seem to fall into place and create such unique end results. “Superstars in my eyes”, is such a great quote because sometimes the world hasn’t experienced all an artist has to offer, we just see it first.
Cage Riot: The lyric video is credited as Directed by you, shot by Anthony Fortes and Kyle Anthony, and edited by Anthony Fortes. We loved the setting and creative visuals utilized. The whole color scheme and the setting is great. We loved the “snow” tv screens as a transition. Was the song's “story” an actual depiction of a situation that happened to you? Tell us about the original and purpose of the lyrics of this song.
MM: Ya the story behind the lyric video is very telling of the emotions I was feeling and the actions I was taking while writing the song. Anthony and Kyle are both insanely talented artists
and they have both helped a lot with
Courtesy of Michael Meaney
getting my vision onto the screen. The lyrics really embody me “accepting” things were over between myself and someone else, but still being hurt, angry, frustrated etc… I'm really happy with how it all turned out.
Cage Riot: Sorry to hear but I’m glad to hear it is resolved and so great that you channeled the negative to a positive.
Cage Riot: Give us some background on the collaboration and creation of “Phoning In” with Darro and the subsequent video you were also a part of.
MM: For sure! So I actually had reached out to Darro as a fan last year, I saw some of his work and listened to his songs and was blown away. We ended up talking for a while on the phone about what goes into being an artist, the sacrifice and dedication it takes to make your dreams come true. He sent me an open verse and I had it sent back the same day. This was honestly a huge turning point for me because I was able to have someone I really looked up to in the music scene see my potential and act on it, so thank you Darro.
Cage Riot: Darro is a fantastic creator and performer, we are always excited to be a part of his journey. I would like to bring attention to the fact that your participation with Darro put you on Cage Riot’s radar, which means we aren’t the only ones who saw you. Collaborations are a great way for artists to get noticed. On top of that the end result was undoubtedly heightened because of the combined forces.
Cage Riot: What city are you currently living in? Are you from there? If not, tell us where else you have lived.
MM: Currently, I'm in LA. I actually grew up in Sioux City, Iowa. When I was young my family moved to a small town called Dracut right outside of the Boston area in MA. We moved around a lot growing up.
Cage Riot: I love LA. It’s absolutely my favorite place.
Cage Riot: Did anywhere you have lived influence your music? Is there any other influence or situation in your life that had an impact on your music?
MM: When I moved from IA to MA, A lot of things changed for me. I was exposed to a lot of things I had never seen or heard of before. If it wasn’t for me living in so many different places, I wouldn’t have met the people that have given me the experiences I write about in my music.
There's a lot that influences my music. My life as a kid, getting into trouble, falling in and out of love, growing up. Relationships play a huge role. I think my lyrics relate to things everyone has felt or will feel at some point in their life.
Cage Riot: Some of your past music is more of a Rap / R&B fusion, ie “Tell Me Bout It”. Do you feel your future music will ride the line and continue both styles or is this a full transition to the pop-punk genre going forward?
MM: I love hip hop. It was the first form of music I started writing with. Free styling with the homies is one of my favorite things to do still to this day. I’ll always have R&B, rap and other styles. I want to make great music in as many genres or fields as I can. I do feel like doing more pop type songs is where my head is at right now though. Once I feel satisfied there we can drop something totally different .
Cage Riot: That’s great. The first hip hop song I ever heard was Sugarhill Gang (well me and the rest of the world), then artists like Special ED, Eric B and Rakim and the list goes on and on. Blondie, Aerosmith and some other artists saw its future and took a stab at it too. I love fluidity in music. I lived through people trying to suppress Hip Hop in its early stages in the 80s-90s (some people yelled at me when I was a DJ to “turn that shit off” and I got fired once for refusing) - finally it has full mainstream acceptance. I think art is so much better without limits. A broadway musical has no boundaries, and allows the energy of the scene to dictate the type of song played or sung. Why should a musical artist have constraints? I hope to be able to experience more of that freedom of musical expression from you. FYI, I really enjoyed the style and delivery in your music.
Fun fact - did you know Slick Rick is like the most sampled rap artist of all time?!! La Di Da Di - I bought that song on vinyl when it was released! (even Miley used it - I LOVE Miley!)
Cage Riot: “Tell Me Bout It” This song was a favorite of ours in your (alternate?) mode lol. I felt a completely different artist texture from you. Your rapping and vocal presentation is very authentic and seems like it’s something you really enjoy doing. I can almost say I don’t even recognize you from one song to the next even when played back to back. This was really impressive. Can you tell us more about the meaning / inspiration of the song?
MM: Thank you so much. I really appreciate that. Wow i mean this song was so raw when i did it, a lot of it was on the spot in the recording booth. I remember being there with my good friend Scott Stangle who also has helped me so much, he’s a very talented producer and engineer that’s mixed and mastered alot of my songs.. Anyway it was just us, and I was so upset at the time. A girl had broken up with me and I was basically at my lowest point. I wanted to write something that was honest. Those lyrics mean a lot to me, and I was really able to articulate how I felt that night.
Cage Riot: “a lot of it was on the spot in the recording booth” GTFO!!
Cage Riot: I think some of the biggest “gems'' of music started in one genre and were completely retooled into another. Perfect examples are huge hits - “Light My Fire” 1st Jose Feliciano, then the Doors. “Billie Jean”, Michael Jackson, then Chris Cornell. Both songs became iconic… more than once. Both songs are 2 of my favorites. I LOVE when an artist can change genres as genres are more of a mood to me. I choose my genre based on my mood. Hell, I listen to steel drum music and sit in the sun on my balcony and I workout to Metallica. Besides the genres displayed on your current music are there other genres you want to dabble in?
YES!! I'm the type of person that can fall in love with any type of song, from any genre or time period. It all comes down to the feeling it gives me when I'm listening, does it resonate with me? My goal is to write music that makes people ask that same question. I believe that will be through different genres as my career progresses.
Cage Riot: Ok, so I’m taking that as a promise that you make a cover and re-tool that fucker with your MM flair?.. Plus yes the free form genre is you!!
Cage Riot: Who are 2 artists you would love to record a song with?
MM: Lil Lotus and lil aaron. I love the energy those two give off in their music and any content they put out there. When I do write a song with them, I think we’ll have a lot of fun together
Cage Riot: Well I did the closest thing to it I could and put “Girl Next Door” on the Noise playlist right after you and Darro!
Cage Riot: Who are 2 artists you would want to perform live with?
MM: That's a tough one. I would say being on stage with RUSSELL! And Yeek would be a dream come true. Also nothing, nowhere! He kills it playing live
Cage Riot: Where can fans see you perform live and if you have future shows coming up can you list them for us?
MM: So I’ll be doing a lot of shows in LA towards the end of the year, keep your eyes open because I’ll be posting more about it soon! Follow my social media. I do my best to let people know what’s going on with the music as often as possible. Just type Michael Meaney and you’ll find me!
Cage Riot: You are also in a band, a separate project called Flat Out. Tell us who the members are and what their role / instrument is in the band and give us a little background on this project and the single “I FEEL LIKE MYSELF” coming out on 8/19.
MM: FlatOut is a studio project that Joe Occhiuti (Ice Nine Kills), Franco, and myself started. Joe produces EVERYTHING. Franco and myself do vocals alongside him.
FUN. That’s the best way to describe us and our sound. That’s also how we started the project. The three of u, best friends hanging out and making music together.
It’s incredible watching Joe bring our creations to life. I’ve never met a more talented songwriter. Franco is a rapper and anyone reading should check him out. He really transcends pop and rap in the band in the coolest ways I’ve ever heard.
We’re really excited to release our music and start playing shows!
Cage Riot: More Collaborations! Ice Nine Kills is intense and theatrical and all the things I love about music and how they roll through the genres is awesome. Check out “Hip to Be Scared” which is a part of their latest release on our Noise playlist. And FRANCO definitely has some bangers and we put “Do Not Disturb” on our hip hop flow playlist.
Courtesy of Michael Meaney
Cage Riot: You posted about Gohan. He’s a beautiful 4-legged friend of yours. Can you tell the fans more about the role he has played in your life? What about the logo inspiration?
MM: Gohan is my best friend. He came to me right when I really needed him and changed my life completely. He reminds me that someone's always there for me that does care, and he keeps me on track honestly.
I have to take good care of myself to take great care of him, and that constantly motivates me. When I made the logo, it was so easy because he just represents all the best parts about me, and my music.
Cage Riot: Well said. I am so happy to hear you have such a great and positive force in your life.
Cage Riot: So we are also here talking to you because of your most recent release “Pedestal” which came out on May 11th, 2022, and how much we enjoyed this track. It’s the one where you flipped the script and gave us some more of your solo pop-punk side. By the time we have this article posted you will have dropped the music video for this. So… listeners/readers it’s your turn to get an earful of Michael Meaney and check out the music video, we enjoyed it and we know you will too. Listen on any platform or even a Cage Riot playlist!
OK - UpDaTe!!! The music video has dropped and we LOVE IT!!