About Michael Rosas
Your introduction to the music of Michael Rosas may not be at all what you’d expect from someone who got his start in the skateboarding/hardcore scene of Southern California years ago. For a guy raised amidst the surging new wave and punk scene washing over the country at the dawn of the 80s, and whose first two concerts were The Ramones and Devo, you might expect some world-weary, grizzled alt-rock troubadour singing about drugs and death and all that old teenage angst that once paid off by fueling a rock revolution. Yet what you hear when you play one of his songs (or better, see him live) are tales of life and love crafted in some of the most literate outpourings of musical poetry you’ll likely ever experience.
A musician most of his life, Michael’s line-up of previous projects have all enjoyed levels of regional and national success. As a high schooler, he kicked off his career playing lead guitar in hardcore/punk bands but the most notable (for music history’s sake) was Inside Out, a hardcore outfit formed by a teenage Zach de la Rocha, laying down a blueprint for what would later become Rage Against The Machine. At age seventeen, Michael left that band after what he calls “two rowdy and unforgettable shows” not because of trouble within the band, but because of his own internal strife: hardcore music was simply no longer Michael’s “thing” – it wasn’t in his heart. Michael wanted to write, play and sing his own songs and he needed to take a big leap forward to do it. His first venture as a songwriting frontman was the alt-fuzz-rock band, Smile, who released two well received albums with Atlantic Records, enjoyed national commercial radio play and countless tours and shows. After a frenzied ten year run, Smile disbanded, leaving Michael to plot a new musical trajectory. Subsequent groups were formed and Michael experimented and grew as a performer but, in the background, he was quickly developing a backlog of songs and ideas that didn’t fit the molds of the projects he was working on. For the first time in a long time, Michael felt limited and, again, his heart was telling him to take another big leap forward.
“Michael Rosas’ voice is as warm and ephemeral as molten campfire ashes carried through the wind…” –Nadia Noir, KROQ Los Angeles
Acoustic solo artists like Bill Withers, Leonard Cohen and the balladeers of the late 1950s/early 60s folk revival scene of New York became Michael’s new obsession, stacked atop the edgier staples of his youth. “I was raised on punk, new-wave, early hip-hop and indie rock, so the folk stuff helped me see things in a completely different way. It showed me how great compelling a voice, guitar and a great song can be,” he says. “There was magic there. I knew I wanted my music to have that magical quality… somehow.” Michael didn’t connect with the rising rootsy folky Americana music scene of the 2010s or the singer/songwriter genre as a whole – he was after something else; something more personal and fitting for him… something louder, weirder, more compelling, more magical. Not knowing where it would lead, he swapped his trusted Telecaster for a pre-war Martin parlor acoustic and began performing at as many open mic nights, coffee house gigs and songwriter showcases he could find, testing out new material and building his confidence as a solo performer. “I was scared shitless, at first, not having a band, my friends, on stage with me… not having that wall of sound to hide behind.” Likely a survival mechanism, Michael tailored his approach to subdue his fears, “I used humor to get me through those early shows. I told jokes, played silly cover songs and did ridiculous things like smashing an acoustic guitar against a wood floor at the end of a very mellow coffee house set… stupid.” Joking and smashing aside, what Michael didn’t realize at the time was that he was finding a new, powerful, voice as a performer. He had taken another leap forward and had found his new musical trajectory.
“Recently, Michael Rosas self released a solo four-song EP, which introduced me to what is becoming one of my most loved songs of late, My Lover Keeps Me Warm.” –Chris Muckley, KCRW Los Angeles
Now, Michael Rosas is a “singer/songwriter” who defies the genre, mingling the sweat and surge of his past with a more refined and intimate present. He has released two live performance videos and some demos, of which the song “My Lover Keeps Me Warm” has received multiple spins on KCRW (Los Angeles), has supported artists such as Local Natives, Zee Avi, Sam Outlaw, Milo Green, Matt Costa, Richard Swift and has performed live on radio station KX 93.5 FM (Laguna Beach). Additionally, Michael has appeared as a guest on the “Alison Rosen is Your New Best Friend” and “Down With Joe DeRosa” podcasts. He’ll be releasing two new singles this Summer and will spend the rest of the year playing shows, feeding the ears of new music fans with his unique brand of joking, smashing, loud, weird, unforgettable… magic.