You may have heard of Michael Collings before, back in 2011 he auditioned for the popular TV entertainment show 'Britain's Got Talent' and dazzled the judging panel with his version of Tracy Chapman's 'Fast Car'. We heard that he's supporting Sam Brookes at the Loft Barber's Live Sessions just outside of Exeter, we caught up with Michael and chatted to him about influences, Being a TV star and what the future holds for him....
Hi Michael, please spend a few moments telling us about yourself and your music....
I am a self taught singer songwriter from Plymouth who fell in love with music after hearing a track on the radio, bought a guitar and the rest as they say is history....
You first bought a guitar aged 16, what was the first song that you learned to play?
It was a song called 'Love In L.A' by Ernie Halter, my mum wanted me to learn it so i did.
Have you always been a guitarist? Can you play any other instruments?
I mainly stick to guitar, I dabble with piano occasionally at home. I also play the ukulele
You performed a cover version of Tracy Chapman's 'Fast Car' on Britain's Got Talent, getting through to the Semi Finals as a result, what did you learn from being on the show?
I got through to the finals and came 5th in the end, yes it was great experience and I really enjoyed it. I learnt that nothing lasts forever and people that enter these TV shows are usually just a faze, as the years go on you eventually get forgotten, I made sure that didn't happen and I've been traveling the country with my new management for 4 years now, attempting to move away from the 'BGT' name and build a platform for myself as me, Michael Collings.
The video has amassed over 35 million views to date, how does this make you feel?
Yes, overwhelmed and grateful for people viewing it, I couldn't believe the reaction!
How did being on the show change things in your personal life?
It affected it quite a bit as I had to be away from my son for a couple months but I got through it, I had to leave my job as I wasn't allowed to have the time off so that was a gamble, I lost my previous relationship to this being an issue but have moved on now and got married to a woman that appreciates what I do for a career and gets on really well with my 5 year old son.
You play all over the place nowadays, is your set made up primarily of cover versions or do you tend to play a mix of covers and your own tracks?
I tend to play a mixture of covers and originals, all depends on the event and how long I'm playing for.
Your 'It's Not You' EP is out now, did you have a launch party to celebrate? I see that you're working on a new EP at the moment, any planned release date yet?
No, we didn't do a launch party as my diary was quite packed out so I played it as I went around the country which I thought was better, my second EP is due out in October no exact date yet but it will be in October.
How do you approach song-writing, does the melody come first or do you start with a lyric and mould the tune around that?
I usually start with a melody, then hum a tune then that turns into lyrics that hopefully make sense, I'm finding it easier to write songs the more I do it, so I'm going to keep at it and keep the songs I don't want to release on the back burner in case they suddenly open up to me.
Your influences include John Mayer, Jack Johnson and James Taylor, what is it about a man with a guitar that turned you on to music so much?
I wouldn't say turned on ;-), I've always sang, I got to age 16 and wanted to play the guitar to complement my singing and it took off from there, I only sang in my bedroom, I didn't gig before I was on the television.
Have you ever played with a band? If so, would you consider doing it full time or do you prefer playing solo?
I was in an acoustic duo for a while but we both moved, I have just started a duo with a friend of mine called Paul Blight (the former drummer of The Rising), he will be joining me at my gigs playing the Cajon and percussion from October he will also be joining me for the Loft Barber Sessions on 27th September.
I guess that you're no longer working in the computer shop in Plymouth? If I had a problem, would you still be able to help out?
I still work in the Computer shop in Plymouth, owing to my son going to school I went back to work as I didn't have anything else to do Monday to Thursday and I only see my son on Saturdays and Sundays. There's good money in being an IT Engineer so it's worth doing and I can work both jobs, fitting jobs around my Music and my day job.
What does the future hold for you as a singer songwriter?
I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing, try and collaborate with other artists, my cover of 'Fast Car' is on the new Ministry of Sound Recover album which was released the on July 30th. I want to get up to date with my YouTube Live sessions and just keep pushing and climbing to hopefully a record deal but I'll see what happens. I'm also looking into some support work as well but that's all in the pipeline. The main target is to just work hard keep writing and establish myself more and build a good size fanbase.
We thought it was time to up the ante and roll out the quickfire questions and see how Michael coped under some pressure!
Whiskey or Wine?
Burger or Kebab?
Stanley Kubrick or Alfred Hitchcock?
Electric or Acoustic?
Camping or Camper Van?
Summer or Winter?
James Bond or Jason Bourne?
Pub or Trendy wine bar?
Xbox or Playstation?
De Niro or Pacino?
Leave or Remain?
God or Google?
We'd like to thank Michael for taking the time to chat to us and we wish him every success in the future, if you want to keep up to date with Michael's whereabouts, please check out his social media channels which are all listed below. If you're in the Exeter area, why not pop over to High Eggbeer in Cheriton Bishop and see him perform at the Loft Live Sessions, tickets available HERE.
interview by Steve Muscutt