If you think the only way to fame is overnight success, allow us to introduce you to MICKY. Michael Persall is a young musician from New York, channeling old school and motown favorites with his funk and soul infused pop. In 2015, he made a new year’s resolution to play 300 gigs before the end of the year, which would put him on the stage almost every day. He reached it so early that he upgraded his to 400, one so lofty it seems unreal. But he did it! He played 408 gigs in a single year, and now it seems that he is unstoppable.
We got a chance to sit down and pick his brain about his feat and what comes next, including his debut EP release and more live shows! Speaking of, Thrillcall is giving away a pair of tickets to MICKY‘s upcoming show at Mercury Lounge; download the app to enter!
Thrillcall: Two years ago, you embarked on a new year’s resolution for the ages: Play a gig nearly every day of the year. With 408 shows under your belt, you surpassed your goal with flying colors. What was the toughest part of the project, aside from what I can assume was exhaustion?
MICKY: The hardest thing was learning how to balance everything outside of playing. I had to prioritize being out every night, so in return I spent less time with friends and sacrificed my social life. There were nights where I was sick or I had to wait until 3 or 4am to play to a small crowd losing numbers by the hour. Those ones were tough, but ultimately getting through them was my only option if I wanted to hit my number.
TC: If 2015 was all about live shows, what did you do with all your free time last year?
M: I spent a lot of 2016 figuring out what kind of music I wanted to put out in the world. I started writing songs that incorporated some of my influences from classic rock and motown and it led me to recording and releasing the music that felt the most “me” this year. I also spent time getting involved with a new music app/company called Treble. Being around other musicians every night for a while led me to learning what some of the common and real pain-points are for independent artists, and Treble works towards creating solutions for those challenges.
TC: Your music has overt references to funk and motown genres of yesteryear. You blend them with a clean pop sound that makes everything infectious. What drew you to including this style into your music?
M: My dad had a collection of thousands of CDs that he would have me organize in alphabetical order, most of which were classic rock and motown from the 1960s/1970s. I would grab the ones that had artists who looked like they had a lot of character on the covers, so that initially led me to Elvis and James Brown. From there I just started listening to the kind of stuff my parents like from that era and it started to influence my music.
TC: You’ve made a point to feature photos of you on Instagram wearing dapper button downs with matching jackets and generally exuding aloof style. Is fashion another important creative outlet for you?
M: I had pretty terrible fashion growing up. I would wear jumpsuits in middle school (the kind of one popularized by rappers in the early 2000s), and then just basketball shorts all the time in high school when I was spending a lot of time playing sports. When I moved to New York 6 years ago, I started being exposed to more people with unique senses of style, so developing my own became something I wanted to spend time figuring out. My dad is pretty flashy and has great style, so I asked him to send me some of his stuff I liked and used to borrow for special occasions growing up, like a red suit, or his old Hawaiian shirts. I started tailoring stuff like that and it just filled up my closet.
TC: Your debut EP will drop soon this year. After that, what are your plans? Let me guess: more gigs?!
M: Yes! I’ll put the EP out in the fall and schedule a bunch of New York shows around the release. After that I’ll probably put out the first song from the next project and look to get some bigger shows lined up outside of New York.