The Safire Homme

March EDITION

Featuring Michael Blume

Interview by Léla Sophia and Dillon Firestein

Léla Sophia: What’s your personal style for performing? 

Michael Blume: Recombination is a good word.  I’m interested in recombining elements of style and traditions that you wouldn’t expect together.That might be traditional with progressive, that might be masculine with feminine, that might be old school with new school.  I’m interested in what it means to recombine different elements of different tropes of style and create new definitions.  {I express myself with} outfits, makeup, silhouettes.  I want to give people enough that they’re familiar with, but also there’s something about that familiarity that’s new.  That doesn’t just go for how I present myself aesthetically, but also I think a good pop song does that.  A good pop song is just familiar enough, but also has a twist or an unexpected piece, so I also take this approach with my songwriting.  

LS: Do you have any pre-performance regimens?

MB: It really depends on the performance or the show.  Nothing super strict, I’m meditating, maybe I’m warming up, drinking a lot of water.  Sometimes I’m more nervous than others, sometimes I just need to be alone, and other times I’m very chill.  I don’t have one of those, “this is what I have to do before I go on stage.”  There’s a lot of prepping, I want to make sure I love the way I look.  I want to make sure I feel confident, definitely trying to get my look right.  Maybe I’m going over with the band, talking through the set, transitions, hits, “Don’t forget in the second chorus that XYZ happens.”  I definitely value the theatrics of it and come from a theatrical background.  I definitely admire musical artists that, for them, a live show is a full project, it’s different from making a record in the studio.  This is a show, it’s only going to happen this one time with this one group of people in this space.  We might do it again tomorrow, but it’s going to be different tomorrow.  That’s what I love about live performance and about theater, is that it’s just this one time.    

Dillon Firestein: How have the ways that you express yourself changed as your’ve grown as an artist?

MB:  I think one way that I’ve changed a lot is I used to feel like I had a lot more to prove, and I used to need to tell the world, “This is me and I’m gonna be me and f**k you if you don’t like it.”  And now I think I accept myself a lot more.  I think I’m a lot more comfortable with who I am, so there’s less of a need to prove myself.  Now it’s more like, ” This is me, I’m going to be me, I’m the only me.  Your’e you, you’re the only you, be you.”  Let’s all just be ourselves and it’s all good.          

 

DF: What’s your favorite song to perform and why? 

MB:  I love performing Manufactured Love, I Wanna Know, and How High.  What I would say about those three songs is they’re all very intimate, more laid back, very honest lyrics.  One of the things I love to do and feel empowered doing with my artistry is sharing who I am with audiences I don’t know.  I think people are’t always used to people sharing so openly.  I think one of the most powerful tools I have as an artist on stage is saying “it’s okay to talk about your s**t, I’m talking about mine and you can too.”  We’re all just humans, we all have a lot going on, it’s all good.  Those three songs in particular allow me to name some of my insecurities, and vulnerabilities.  I like having people have to think and reflect on what I’m saying.  How does that affect their life and their perspective.  At the same time, I love doing a beat dance song where I can see everyone’s having a good time in the crowd.       

DF: Where do you come from and how did it shape you?

MB:  I’m from Montclair, NJ, close by.  I went to public school in Montclair my whole like, and it’s a diverse town, so I grew up with all kinds of people.  I think being around a lot of different kinds of people from a young age, and having close relationships with people who were from different spaces and classes and different racial backgrounds than me, that empowered me to say “people are different, that’s dope, that’s powerful.”  That’s something that has empowered me and taught me to understand humanity, to understand that all of us are so valuable and so different and there’s so much value in our differences.  I think celebrating differences is something that has come Ito my style, songwriting, and overall artistic mission.   

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