As of two days ago, pop musician Stephen Carmichael is a college graduate. As of December 9th, he has a debut on the ARIA charts at 26 for a song by Jono Fernandez that features his vocals. What’s more is the song, titled “Someone To Love (MYNC Stadium/Instrumental Mix)” was played by internationally renowned DJ and dance artist Tiesto.
It’s safe to say that this 20 year old Australian artist is having a pretty good year.
On top of these accomplishments, the chart position and solo releases come unsigned and almost fully self-produced. He’s a writer, producer, engineer, and singer who performs, paints, vlogs, and is involved in more artistic endeavors at the moment that would be bound to cause schedule clutter in the worst way. He handles it well, bouncing between interactions on Facebook and Twitter, occasionally emailing back and forth with 2020k, and causing a stir in the underground pop scene with his 80’s wave throwback vibe, mixed with modern fashion extremes and 21st century polished influences.
“Falling For You” was the catalyst for a lot of things. A song released earlier this year has so racked up over 15,000 hits on it’s official music video as of December 2012 and found itself remixed by Gavin Edom and Matt Laming on an EP of the same name. The record itself is a four minute look into the beginnings of an artist willing to incorporate aggressive instrumentation, combined with a great mixing job and mastering finish (mastering by Dave Neil). Traditional song structure surrounds “Falling For You,” with accessible lyrics and simple hook that laments being hypnotized toward the end of the track, Carmichael pridefully calls out “It never felt so good to be lost in the thrill. But, I’m falling (x3), I’m falling for you.” Simple, but glorious and rightfully infectious.
A guitar driven b-side “Time” shows slight reverberation layers with a focus on vocals at the forefront. Alarm clock buzzes are also uniquely used for emotional input and while the track stands at just over a minute, it satisfies. A blueprint of euphoric mixing techniques is shown on this track, which proficiently provides a grand introduction in the broad spectrum of music Stephen walks upon.
One of the most fantastic aspects of Carmichael’s releases are his unique approach to covering another artists music. Sly vocal rephrasing and complete instrumentation revamps obliterate the notion of cover songs being sub-par. Instead, the tracks burst with charismatic originality that’s few and far between in an age where the average computer user can turn on their camera and broadcast their car-karaoke. He’s approached numbers by Lady Gaga, Gotye, Maroon 5, and Britney Spears in a unique form that derives completely from his own sonic space, breathing new and fresh air into some of today’s biggest smashes. What’s more impressive are his 80’s throwback tracks, specifically his cover of “Tainted Love” (Soft Cell) which interpolates “Falling For You” into it.
Even more precise and creative is his take on Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical,” which turns the campy 80’s minimalist synth pieces into seductive territory. Noticeable reverberation flourishes over top of the rhythmic kick and clap as stuttered vocals lay out the foundation for background crackles and melodic guitar to thrive. Where the original song’s vibe provided danceability, Carmichael demonstrates an extreme opposition. The intimate restaurant and suggestive movie mentioned in the song’s first verse contain a delicate charm and emotional complexity during Stephen’s version, never letting go of the slight sexy approach and finally subtly unveiling it during the pumping chorus that proclaims “let me hear your body talk.”
What causes Carmichael to work so well is his approach to honesty. Pop artists come and go during 2012 and very rarely does one come into the spotlight that’s just in it to make the music and art that they’ve always felt like doing. This comes across in pure form through all of the projects we’ve seen from this Brisbane located individual. With an announcement of a full album and steady stream of social media outlets and industry breaks, it seems as though his versatility and unique style is bound to be a favorite to critics, listeners, and fans.
Sometimes industrial looking, always wonderfully textured, Stephen’s videos are a wonderful visual accompaniment toward his musical releases and we’ve included his cover of “Physical” below. Listen, then follow, like, subscribe, and purchase.
Quite frankly, we’re falling, we’re falling, we’re falling, we’re falling for Stephen Carmichael.
Visit more over at Carmichael’s website