If you haven’t heard of See Your Shadow Songwriting, then you haven’t been paying attention to the Christian country radio scene this year. Headed up by Michael Coleman, SYS released the everlasting chart hit, “I Will Tell Jesus You Said Hello” earlier this year. The single has charted not only once, but returned to the Christian Music Weekly charts for a second time last week. Michael took time out to talk about his music: past, present and future…
Hi Michael! It’s an honor and a pleasure to speak with you. What’s been going on in the world of See Your Shadow Songwriting?
It’s great speaking with you as well. A lot has been going on in the See Your Shadow Universe. We have been hard at work at getting ready for the release of our Christmas record coming out officially in November, with a sneak peek in October. We have also been working on putting the finishing touches on our women’s empowerment anthem and that has an unknown release date.
Your latest single, “My Worth” is a country music instrumental. Not something you hear every day. What is your favorite instrumental of all time, besides this one, of course?
You know people did think we were crazy by releasing an instrumental because it is not done, especially in this genre. I do love instrumentals and I think it would be a tie between these three (1) “Pick Up The Pieces” by the Average White Band (2) “Breezin’” by George Benson and (3) “Rise” by Herb Albert. Those are always on my bar jukebox playlist. All those pieces are so different, but when you really listen to them, they are phenomenal pieces and I hope “My Worth” can be included in that company.
Your previous single, “I Will Tell Jesus You Said Hello” is a big Christian music chart hit. Congrats! What does that mean to you?
I can’t begin to even explain what this means. It is so humbling. I am really excited the inspirational and faith-based community has embraced the piece. When we decided to lead with that piece to unveil See Your Shadow’s new sound and direction, I had no idea that it would become what it has become. I think its success shows that the piece just speaks to so many and that people were ready to feel the emotion, which I think has been missing in today’s music. The piece also solidified to me that I always need to follow my gut and how my spirit directs me and not to be worried about conforming to industry norms. Also, seeing See Your Shadow’s name with this particular song on the same charts with names that I have admired or pitched songs too and have been turned down gives me a sense of pride in my craft and the work we create is something special.
Artists like Prince and Madonna have always incorporated religious themes in some of their songs, while also putting out some very sexual material. In the past, you’ve done some pretty risque songs…how do you think that they measure up to the music you’re releasing now? Is your musical past something you are proud of, or is it something you’re trying to play down? Will you be doing any other songs like that in the future?
You’re talking about the work I have done as one half of the dance and disco duo Red Carpet Premiere. I am proud of that work “Rug Burn” and the follow up “Online Affair”. Some could say it is a contradiction to the work we are doing now, but all the work I write, and See Your Shadow creates is a reflection and extension of the many facets of myself. As an artist, I never know how I am going to be inspired and if I am inspired to create work that is risqué, I will do so. I am not afraid. That body of work however was created for a particular core target audience which was the LGBTQA community. When I sat down to write the project, I had to come up with something that I felt they could respond to, so I did settle on the themes of oral sex and hooking up with strangers. “Rug Burn”, the music video was a tribute to 1970s filmmaker John Waters, who I absolutely adore and I wanted to pay homage to him and the outrageousness of his earlier work and the only way to do that was to be as over the top as possible. I love to push boundaries and limits and most of all have fun with the work that I do. Will I be doing other projects like that in the future, I don’t know. Creatively I am in a different space now, but at the time Covid-19 hit we were filming the live action game show, “Are You Worth a Rug Burn?” based on the music video to “Rug Burn”, and we were becoming very popular here in Phoenix as we were the world’s only live action game show dedicated to oral sex. Will I revisit and resume production of the game show. Maybe. I never say never.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be and why?
Boy this is a good one. I love who I am so this one is difficult for me to answer, but one of the things that I struggle with is not being able to turn my mind off. I am literally thinking about creating some sort of artistic project all the time. I joke all the time that I work so much, I even work in my sleep and that is the truth and sometimes I would like to have an off switch.
Who is the most famous person you’ve encountered? Tell us the story…
There have been a few, but I think the one that is probably the most poignant is the time Troy Gentry (from Montgomery Gentry) and I were at a fundraising event and I ended up giving him a ride across town to another event because he didn’t have a car available. It was about a 30 minute drive and we were talking about music, he was listening to some of my songs and really liked my song, “Take It To Your Grave” and I was telling him that I thought Montgomery Gentry was robbed when they didn’t win song of the year for “Roll With Me” which I just thought was phenomenal. Fast forward, his band was coming to Columbus, Ohio which is one of the places where I live and they were playing at the venue literally half mile from my house and I wasn’t able to go because of a scheduling conflict and I told myself, I’ll just catch up with him next time I’m in Nashville and it was just a few weeks later that he died. Just reaffirmed how short and how precious life is.
What’s next for See Your Shadow?
We have got a lot of good things coming down the turnpike. We are super, super excited about the release of our Christmas record later on this year, “Christmas on Cellblock 9” and then we are releasing the female empowerment anthem, “I Know My Worth” which encompasses a remix of our current single, “My Worth” really cool stuff, something that has not been done before. So when I say never say never, the empowerment anthem is a mash up of several different styles, very innovative.
Thanks for taking the time, Michael. Any last shout outs?
I do need to give a shout out to all of our fans and our radio partners around the world for their support and I do want to recognize the members of The See Your Shadow Network of Stars because even though my name is at the top of the pyramid, without them as the foundation, none of this would be possible.
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