Spitzer Spreads Out on 'The Best You Never Heard'

Nominated in 8 categories for 2019 Review Music Awards

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, , Artist Feature,   From Issue 876   By: Robert E Martin

13th March, 2019     0

Out of the dark challenges that confront all of us living in the rust belt, running the palette from economic despondency to spiritual bankruptcy, with this latest release (Best You Never Heard) the Hip-Hop and Rap artist Mike Spitz (aka Spitzer) achieves a much deeper intensity of understanding, placement, and wisdom with his music, which weaves a connection to salvation through lyrics that map a musical odyssey grounded by fundamental values of family, self-respect, and faith in those that shape worlds looking beyond that of narrow self-interest.

Nominated in eight categories for this year’s 2019 Review Music Awards, including Best Rap/Hip-Hop Songwriter, Rap Artist of the Year, Best Album, Most Innovative Artist, and Best Solo Artist, tracks such as What Do You Want From Me (featuring Jelly Roll & Woody Gates), Dollar Out of 15 Cents, Saginaw, Mi, Ghetto Lullabye, and Take Me To My Home all build upon a percolating musical maturity that is also evident on this latest release, thanks to Spitzer’s evolving melodic structure and the invaluable contributions of guitarist Shawn Yancer.

Most important, Spitz brings a unique raw emotion and real life perspective into his work that is difficult to find in the manufactured mythology of  today’s industry. His delivery, tone, and lyricism set him in a league of his own, largely because Spitz wears all the hats when it comes to his music career.

“For me at this point in my career, I have no choice but to play the role of artist, manager, booking agent, producer, investor, and label,” he reflects. “I wasn’t brought into this with a silver spoon or connections. I learned a long time ago that if it’s going to work, it is going to be because I put in the work.  If you truly love something and have passion for it, you will never give up and you will always fight for it”. 

In approach this latest album, Spitz took his time and the album evolved into a two-year project. “As this album came upon me I wanted to stay true to myself and stay with my emotions,” he explains. “All these songs are based straight from emotion. I don’t go into the studio with pre-conceived ideas of to lay it out. Musically, I take a lot of time writing songs, although the really good songs seem to be the ones that write themselves.  Over that two-year time period life happens, but I think taking more time on this project made it that much better.”

Did Spitzer’s outlook and perspective on the project change from the time he started work through the time of completion?  “Yeah, there were songs initially that I wanted to put on the album that didn’t make the cut.  I wrote 30 songs and chopped it down; but mainly, pushed out the digital songs and kept more of the live ones, because I felt they retained a better feel. And while I always rap, I sang a lot more on this album. I feel like I found my sound and know what works and know what to stay away from.”

“The party music and that stuff is not for me,” he continues. “Over 25 years I’ve seen lots of changes and trends and while there’s some really good artists out there that I’m hearing, I also hear stuff on the radio and go, ‘Oh my God, really?  In terms of content I can’t see myself jumping on something just because it’s selling. At the end of the day I have to sing these songs, my kids hear this music, as do people I care about. If you’re not speaking truth with your music it’s a tough show to pull off; when it’s real you feel it and it becomes easy.”

With his newest release Spitzer is also playing more shows than he has in recent years, to greater crowd response. “People relate to my music because I talk about stuff everybody goes through, especially being where we’re from,” he notes. “I’m not a cookie cutter and I’m not trying to do just one sound. If you can relate and connect to a person that’s how you get fans. I’ve had people tell me they felt like I wrote a particular song just for them while they were listening to it riding their motorcycle with tears in their eyes, and you just go, ‘Damn’ - this can be a powerful road.”

As a producer, now that Mike has sat behind the board tweaking the knobs for a while now, does he stick with the same principles as when he started?  “Not really. It starts out with the guitar for me. Shawn will send me stuff all the time and once I hear a lick and get it in my ear, I’ll tell him it’s all cool but we’ll take this part and loop it, to build it up before bringing the drums in. I tend to keep things simple with live band sounds now and might throw a little synthesizer in, but not much.”

When approach his live shows, Spitz says Shawn is always present and he often brings in guitarist Kyle Mayer to had his own musical textures. “Kyle and I went to school together when we were kids and he’s great to play with as well,” concludes Spitz. “I don’t wanna be stuck in one thing musically. My crowd tends to be a bit more laid back and mature; and I’ve been doing a lot of shows with Redburn. We have one coming up at White’s Bar on March 22nd.”

(Best You Never Heard) is currently available on all Internet music stores including apple music, itunes, tidal, plus many more. You can also stream it on spotify, iheart radio, and Pandora. And the physical CD can be obtained at any of Spitzer’s shows or at his Saginaw Tattoo Shop on Bay Road.

Spitzer will also be a guest performer at the 33rd Review Music Awards Celebration on Sunday, April 14th at LumberBaron’s in Bay City; and will be opening up for Everlast on May 11th at the Buick City Event Center in Flint.



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