Mike Murphy, a native of Canton, Ohio, began singing at a young age in his father’s inner city church. His extensive background in gospel music allowed him to explore his soulful side, contributing to his smooth R&B style and heartfelt lyrics....
Mike Murphy, a native of Canton, Ohio, began singing at a young age in his father’s inner city church. His extensive background in gospel music allowed him to explore his soulful side, contributing to his smooth R&B style and heartfelt lyrics. Throughout his youth, he received notoriety by participating in local talent shows, demonstrating not only his vocal abilities but also his charismatic stage presence. While serving in the United States Armed Forces, Murphy was selected by Army Entertainment to participate in the 2000 U.S. Army Show. He was provided with the opportunity to travel the world entertaining our troops as an R&B vocalist. After receiving an honorable discharge from the military, he decided to take a chance at stardom by moving to New York. The first year, although financially draining, gave him the opportunity to showcase his talent in many of the popular night clubs in New York. He was also afforded the opportunity to work with producer Hamza Lee and collaborated extensively with Jase, lead singer for the group Soul for Real. Murphy’s experience in New York drastically increased his knowledge of music and production, but it also gave him a glimpse into the harsh realities of the music industry. Fortunately, his trials and tribulations have only strengthened his faith in God and his motivation to continue to pursue his career in music. Mike Murphy’s forthcoming album entitled “Love” is scheduled to release on Valentine’s Day 2010. His album is a bold collection of songs that communicates the joy and complexity of love and relationships. His first single “Hopeless” is an expression of honest emotion and personal vulnerability. Although the album is laced with everything from ballads to club tracks, Murphy’s smooth, hypnotic vocals permeate throughout. For Booking send inquiries to: Booking@3crossesmusic.com For interviews contact: Angela@pranamarketing.com
by Dan Kane - Canton Repository Some guys are all about landing the big recording contract.They mail demos of their music to the major record labels and begin a lengthy, anxious waiting game that very rarely ends in superstardom....
by Dan Kane - Canton Repository Some guys are all about landing the big recording contract.
They mail demos of their music to the major record labels and begin a lengthy, anxious waiting game that very rarely ends in superstardom.
R&B vocalist Mike Murphy, a 1994 McKinley High grad, is not relying on fate to make his career pop.
Faced with selling 5,000 self-pressed copies of his new CD, “Love,” Murphy rented a billboard on 12th Street NW and plastered his handsome mug up in the sky. On Valentine’s Day weekend, he rented a kiosk at Westfield Belden Village and hawked his CD directly to mall shoppers.
With plenty of charm and the occasional impromptu vocal demonstration, Murphy made a tidy weekend profit. “People would say, ‘How do we know this is you?’ so I’d have to sing on the spot,” he says with a chuckle. “I think I stumbled on a new way to make money.”
What makes his story worth telling is the high caliber of Murphy’s music. The “Love” CD is an impressive and thoroughly listenable collection of modern soul music, definitely aimed at the female audience.
The production is sleek, the rhythms are engaging and the vocals by Murphy are tender, inspired and occasionally veer into falsetto. Songs such as “My Love,” “Automatic” and “Hopeless” would sound right at home on contemporary radio.
It’s hard to imagine that most of the CD was produced, arranged and recorded by Murphy at his local home studio during a three-year period. “People are actually surprised I finished this record,” he says. “There’s one (vocal) line that took me six weeks to get right.”
Joining Murphy on vocals on about half the songs is Jase, aka Jason Dalyrimple, who was lead singer for a 1990s hip-hop soul group called Soul For Real. “Their big song was ‘Candy Rain,’ ” Murphy says. “They sold millions of records when Jase was 13.”
“My Love” opens with this softly crooned declaration: “To all the girls who never noticed me ‘cause I’m not Jodeci, with a rough and jagged edge. (I’m) not your average Joe, don’t want to be a player no more.”
“They’re songs from real life. The words give me goosebumps just thinking about them,” Murphy, 33, says. “I love life. I’m an emotional person, sensitive, but I’m hard, too.”
About his propensity for writing love songs, he smiles and says, “I love to articulate the connection you have with someone. I always wanted music you could put on repeat play and make love to all day.”
Murphy catches himself. “I’ve got to make sure I don’t say anything to offend my mother or offend God.”
As a boy, “I only heard Christian music. My father and mother didn’t allow us to be exposed to the world,” Murphy says.
His father, Mike Murphy Sr., was pastor at downtown Canton’s Open Door Chapel. It wasn’t until dad began preaching in the projects that Mike Jr. was exposed to R&B and soul music. “When I heard someone sing solo, that pain was like therapy to me,” he recalls.
Asked to list his favorite vocalists, Murphy mentions Joe, Brandy, Keyshia Cole and Tupac Shakur. “I really like Tupac and his ability to be a man and wear his feelings on his sleeve,” he says.
Before the question of race is brought up, Murphy says, “Look, I’m a white R&B singer, so I’ve heard it all. I’ve had people up in my face saying, ‘Who are you to be singing the black man’s music?’ ” He chuckles and says, “I’ve felt oppression in my life!”
Although he always responded to music, and played drums at church and in various bands, Murphy never sang publicly. Until the Army, that is.
A couple of years after graduating from McKinley, Murphy enlisted in the Army. While stationed at Fort Polk in Louisiana, a flier for a talent show caught his eye, and he decided to enter.
After rehearsing in the bathroom, he took the stage, sang the Blackstreet ballad “Before I Let You Go” and won $200. “When they handed me the money, it changed my life,” he says.
An ammunition specialist, Murphy began doing more talent shows on the weekends. He began touring with an Army band, performing variety shows for both soldiers and civilians as far away as Germany, Italy and Bosnia.
“They had me singing all kinds of things — New Kids, Boys II Men, ‘Saturday Night Fever,’ ” he recalls with amusement. “We did two shows a day for 192 days. I learned a lot about touring and performing.
“I learned to tell myself, ‘Don’t forget to breathe, boy.’ That’s how you channel your nerves.”
After his military hitch, Murphy had the opportunity to meet vocalist Jase through a mutual friend. “We were inseparable after that,” he says.
The two toured together, playing venues such as Manhattan’s Cheetah Club and Atlanta’s Club 112. Murphy signed to an independent label, which released his debut solo album. “It sold 40,000 units in the U.K. and Germany, and I never got paid,” he says.
Murphy returned to Canton, where he put together a home studio and embarked on making “Love.”
“I’ve gotten a lot stronger being back home. My support system has changed,” he says. “In Canton, I can rest a little.”
Murphy’s goal is to sell 50,000 units of his new album, at stores, at shows and online. His head is filled with marketing ideas. “I believe I can do it,” he says. “The Internet has given artists so many opportunities. It’s put the power back in our hands. But you’ve got to get out there and sell yourself, you have to do shows.
“People used to fake their way to the top, but it doesn’t work that way any more.”