Calgary’s Michael Bernard Fitzgerald seemed at home in Toronto as his fans welcomed him on stage at the Rivoli last Friday evening.
Upon first seeing his accompanying musicians, it’s hard to guess what style or genre MBF would fit in to. The two trumpet players are what might cause the initial confusion, “We describe it as upbeat acoustic soul-pop,” said MBF. Quite a unique style, the same can be said for MBF’s anomalous vocals. Difficult to compare. Familiar, yet unprecedented.
When looking for answers in what drives musicians to sound the way they do, one can often look toward the influences, “The biggest influence for me over the years would have to be Motown. I wouldn’t say that my music fully emulates Motown at all, but for me, if I had to chose a food it would be pizza, if I had to chose a CD it would be a greatest hits Motown,” said MBF. “I just love everything about it. How it’s live off the floor. There’s nothing more real than that.”
There is also nothing more real to a musician than deciding performing is what they want to do for the rest of their lives. “In May 2008, I decided I was going to do nothing but,” said MBF, who had dabbled in acting as well. Self-motivated, MBF has independently released several albums and is a musician who truly deserves his current rising action, to what will inevitably be a climatic career.
MBF thinks big, not only in terms of desired success, but in performance size as well. Sure he’s played intimate shows with just a few musicians accompanying him, but he’s also played a show with 120 people, including an orchestra and 15 dancers. When asked what possessed him to try to perfect such a difficult feat he replied, “I love the word epic!” MBF also explained he maintains the idea not to over rehearse. “I watched a video and sound recordings of it, and like I didn’t sing it perfect, no one played it perfect, but the crowd was an instant standing ovation.”
It may not be a coincidence that MBF is also an acronym for My Best Friend or My Boyfriend. With his smoky, soulful vocals, kind demeanor and lyrically sensitive songs, MBF has no trouble wooing the ladies. The trite bad boy image is the farthest from his reality. “When you write songs like ‘Care For You,’ people don’t assume that you smoke cigs, rock leather and break hearts. For now I will just button my shirt to the top and roll up my pants.”
For more information on Michael Bernard Fitzgerald check out www.michaelbernardfitzgerald.com.