Stimulus Package: Interview with Karmen Michaels

BIO:  When it comes to being a true entertainer, Karmen Michael is that artist.  This talented singer, songwriter, and producer crosses the lines of pop and R&B effortlessly.  Karmen delivers with his larger than life performances, soothing and soulful voice that beautifully complements his rhythmic, yet powerful and poignant lyrics.  Karmen has a genuine southern charm accompanied with an engaging & charismatic personality.  His motto is, "Music is not only my passion; it’s my calling.”

Karmen Michael was raised alongside four siblings amidst the humble backdrop of Texas.  But at a time when most kids are out playing, Karmen was dreaming of a better life for his family.  Karmen found solace in music using the family coffee table as an imaginary piano, he dreamed of being an artist.  “We couldn’t afford music lessons or a piano, so you learn to hear music in your head first.”  

At 19-years-old, Karmen decided to leave the Lone Star State to follow his passion and pursue a professional career in music in New York City.  Within weeks after making a home in Harlem, Karmen was performing at local clubs, open mica sets and lounges throughout the city.  Karmen is currently working on his urban gospel album, Digital Praise.

The Artist:

HS!:  Hello Karmen, thank you so much for taking the time to hang out with HeyShae!  Please give the readers a brief summary of your background.:
KM:   Thank you for having me.  I was born and raised in Texas, grew up in the church.  I am the youngest of 5 children and have always known that music was my calling.  My mom saw it as a child and since age 3 or 4, I have been attending choir rehearsals and musicals...just absorbing everything.  We couldn't afford a piano, so I would sit and make up songs in my head and bang the coffee table as if it was one...LOL So today, I stand before you as a singer, songwriter, and producer operating from New York City. 

HS!:  So, you were working on R&B projects before moving into the Gospel genre right?
Yes, I have spent the last 10 years releasing singles and CDs.  For the most part, they have always had an inspirational feel.  I grew up thinking R&B was Patti Labelle, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, and Boys II Men.  Yet today, male R&B is just...BORING!...LOL If I may, I don't know 5 of "todays" top male R&B singers  that I could sit through a 90 minute show and enjoy myself.

HS!:  What made you switch genres?
KM:  I am not so much switching, but being obedient.  This is my calling, and I have accepted it.  Growing up I didn't want anything to do with the church as an artist.  I saw, first hand, how gospel artists are were discounted across the board by the labels and the churches they ministered.  And I didn't like the perception that the church presented or the one size fits all package they presented as "Christian" Yet, God made it possible for me to see all of that and provide me with a music ministry to reach outside of that.

HS!:  Do you ever feel the industry's obsession with categorizing artists into one genre can affect an artist's ability to put out the music they like rather than the music they believe they're expected to make?
KM:  No, not really.  Today's pop artists sound rock.  R&B sounds more pop, and country sounds very pop-rock.  It goes back to the perception, that if you love God and follow Jesus, you "must" sound a certain way and say certain things to be authentic.  How many times have we heard, "I need to hear, Jesus, in the song a few times for it to be considered Christian music!
HS!:  When I listen to your music, I believe it has a global appeal.  I think it goes beyond Gospel.  Do you feel you fit into a wider category than Gospel? 
KM:  To God be the glory!  That is the power of music.  Music comes through me, not from me.  God spoke to me on the beach in the Bahamas.  God gave me my orders and this music.  Because God is global, his music is global.  1 John 2:2 tells me that Jesus died for the sins of the world, not just one demographic.

HS!:  Let the church say Amen!  You are right about that.  Dare I ask what made you name your new single Stimulus Package?  It's definitely a clever play on words. 
KM:  LOL, I love watching CNN.  One morning I woke up about 2AM and while surfing to get to CNN there was an infomercial airing.  From channel to channel it was, become a millionaire if you buy my book or buy foreclosed homes for $300.  It angered me, because most people were stressed over how not to have their home foreclosed on.  *sigh*  So I wanted people to give something that could last longer than a check. 
HS!:  The message is very clear from that title.  There are millions of people who can relate to the need for a Stimulus Package and would love to know the help is on the way, spiritually or monetary. 
KM:  Yes.  This times that we are in, serve as a reminder that everything is a resource but God is The Source.  The further away from The Source we get, the harder it is to get resources.  You can't buy into life.  Somehow, I think we forgot that.  Life is lived, not purchased.  So, when the money runs out, we go back to the basics.  "We've come this far by faith!"
HS!:  What are you working on right now?  Are you on tour, making a video, what is Karman Michael up to? 
KM:  I just shot a viral video for the song.  I am finishing the recording of the album.  I am working with a few unsigned artists of different genres.  I am shopping songs to some signed R&B/Pop artists.  whew... and I am looking for any and all performance opportunities.

HS!:  Who are some of your influences?  Whom do you have on rotation in your iPod right now? 
KM:  Wow, that's hard!.  I listen to everything from Leontyne Price to T.I. If you grab my iPod, the constant rotation would include... Mary Mary, Kanye West, Karen Clark Sheards, Smokie Norful, and Janet Jackson. Oh yeah, Myron Butler & Levi ( DALLAS ‘YALL...LOL).

HS!:  What advice would you pass along to someone who wants to become a Gospel artist?
KM:  Do it for one reason.  Simply because you are called to do it.  There is no one path to how God will lead you, for His ways are not our ways.  So, be obedient and allow Him to direct your path.

HS!:  What would you want people to remember most about you?
KM:  That God chose me.  Karmen Michael, the man that isn't perfect, the man that  with all my mess and shortcomings; God saw fit to use me, as an instrument.  An instrument to reach the black, the white, the red, the brown, the gay, the straight, the weak, the strong, the broken, and the forgotten.  and that if God can use me, He can use you.
HS!:  Have you ever wanted to do a do-over in life?  If so, why, and what was it you wanted to do-over?
KM:  If I ever did, I don't remember...LOL Every experience, tragedy, affliction, etc...  has come to make me the person I am today.  We all need a little dirt to grow!
HS!:  Please tell us where we can find your music.
KM:  You can find me all over the web.  My home base is  Or search for me on cabby, iTunes, or amazon.
HS!:  Is there any other information would you like to get out there to the public?
KM:  God's love is for everyone!  It has been misrepresented as religion, and has been used to divide and condemn.  But it's a new day, and those that were last shall be first.  "Help Is On the Way"

There you have it!  Help is on the way in the form of a stimulus package. Check out Karmen via his website for more information.