What got you interested in music?
Michael Remesi: Honestly, I've loved music ever since I can remember. I remember I was probably five or six years old, trading in my toys for cassettes, walking around with my little boombox and playing my cassettes. It started early on and it just kind of became my world; it's what I love, what I do, and what I live for.
Were there any artists who inspired you, ones you listened to back then?
Yes, I mean, some of them are still my biggest inspirations today. Obviously, I love Madonna, Michael Jackson, you know, the great pop artists. I also fell in love with R&B music, as well; I love every genre. I think I also dipped a little bit into the alternative phase during the mid '90s, that was also huge for me. So, I'm just a lover of music, I have a very eclectic and broad taste.
Is there a track you've got on repeat now?
They tend to change from moment to moment, but the track that I actually have on repeat at the moment is by a band called Bad Suns and it's called "We Move Like the Ocean". I don't know if you're familiar with them or not, but I've had a few personal things going on in my life and it just really spoke to me and, literally, I'll be driving in my car and I'll probably be on my 12th listen and I still won't be tired of it.
How would you describe your sound to someone who had never heard you before?
I like to think of myself as being the lovechild of Lana Del Rey and The Weeknd, because my hooks are very pop, but I tend to experiment with a little bit of alternative and a little bit of the hip hop/R&B, so I think that would probably sum me up the best.
Did your auditions for American Idol and X Factor change your approach to music in any way?
No, I think it actually opened my eyes a bit. I guess I just didn't realize how hard it would be and how much talent there is out there. When I tried out the first year, back in 2007, I had no idea what I was getting into, I was like, 'I'm probably the only person that's going to be able to sing and I'm going to win this thing,' and I walked in and I'm like, 'oh my gosh': there were 20,000 people and probably about 15,000 of them had amazing voices. So, I don't think it really dawned on me how difficult the industry is to break into, but I think, if anything, it just made me push further because, obviously, with that first little stint I didn't give up; I'm still doing what I love to do, I'm still pushing forward.
What inspired your latest single, "1 4 U"?
Honestly, it is a little bit more of an interesting track. It's more playful, it's more flirty, but it was inspired by a relationship that I was in and trying to make that person see that I was the one for them, even though they didn't feel that way.
Is that the same sound we can expect to hear on your forthcoming album, ChromeHearts?
Yeah, this is probably the lighter of the moments. I've got a new single called "Other Lover" getting ready to premiere hopefully sometime this month and it's along the same lines, it just tends to focus a little bit more on the darker side of things. But, yeah, there's different tones; there's the fun and flirty side, there's the more serious heartbreak side, and then there's even a little bit of light anger on it too.
How does ChromeHearts compare to your earlier releases?
ChromeHearts tends to pick up where Noir and Life In Isolation left off, being on the darker side of things and, again, it still tends to contain a lot of those really big pop forces but, as far as the tone goes, the sound is a little bit different. For the first time, I think that I am writing in a very autobiographical sense, whereas in my last two releases I tended to write a little bit more ambiguously, just so the audience could interpret it to something that's going on in their life, where these are events that have 100% happened in my life, and that's something that I've never really done before.
What do you hope listeners are able to take away from your music?
Just its authenticity. I am being 100% authentic in this, I'm putting my heart out there, and I just want them to be able to connect with that and feel where I was at and how I was feeling and things like that.
Is there anything you would like to add?
If people come across my music and have never heard of me, this is the music to definitely give a listen to, because I couldn't be prouder of this record. I feel like I've definitely found who I am as an artist, I sound confident on this record, and I just want the entire world to hear its sound, its message, and just hear what I have to say.