By Luanne Lim
Who: Michael Flayhart
From: Birmingham, Alabama
For fans of: Owl City, The Ready Set, Sam Tsui, Maroon 5, Ed Sheeran
Nashville is the birthplace of rock and roll, so it shouldn’t be a surprising fact that our Spotlight artist, indie-pop rocker Michael Flayhart, happens to be studying music there.
One glance at his extensive résumé will prove that Flayhart takes the term “child prodigy” to a whole new level.
Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Flayhart has always had a creative mind. A natural-born writer, Flayhart began developing his skills at a young age, writing everything from poetry to a fantasy novel.
Writing was not the only hobby the young Flayhart took up. At age eight, he began taking piano lessons, learning how to play songs by ear, rather than through sheet music. Though frustrating to his several instructors, Flayhart mastered the piano, continuing to play even after his lessons ceased years later.
During his teenage years, music seemed to take a backseat to yet another passion of Michael Flayhart – art and entrepreneurship. Flayhart was creating websites for video game companies, like Ubisoft, as well as an online creative writing magazine, TeenLife. He also established the web and design company, Artigrafx with the investment of family friend, Rick Holladay, all by the age 15.
When the time came for Flayhart to attend college, a decision had to be made – which of his many hobbies and interests should he pursue as a career? Ultimately, he found his passion to be in music, singing and playing piano.
Prior to attending Belmont University in Nashville, Michael Flayhart played shows across his home state of Alabama, establishing himself as a “coffeehouse” musician. After his first year at Belmont, the budding musician desired to change his sound to one more like his musical muses, Green Day and Blink-182.
Facing internal conflicts with his own songwriting style, Flayhart threw all rules out the window for his debut album, writing whatever came to mind, no matter what the sound was; a risk that was ultimately worth taking.
Unsigned, Michael Flayhart released his eclectic debut album, Sound Manifesto, on October 2nd, 2012. The album features 12 songs, including his first single, “Enemy.” Each song possesses its own unique sound, taking bits of inspiration from various genres of music, blending them together to create a tune that one can expect from a multi-talented singer-songwriter.
Though still on the brink of making it big, this 20-year old music student is definitely one to watch out for. His tracks will have you snapping your fingers along to the beat one minute, and melting at the sound of his smooth voice in the next. See it for yourself and pick up a copy of his album, Sound Manifesto, on iTunes.