Interview with Michelle Lockey from the United States

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Michelle Lockey

Michelle Lockey is an accomplished recording artist, singer-songwriter, and producer based in Maryland. With a lengthy list of accolades, she has solidified her reputation as a respected artist in the music industry, earning multiple nominations for various international awards.

1Please provide us with a brief bio of yourself and your background.

I am an accomplished recording artist, singer-songwriter, and producer based in Maryland. With a long list of accolades to my name. I have solidified her reputation as a respected artist in the music industry with multiple nominations for several international awards.

My music has been featured on a variety of platforms, including TV shows, films, and commercials. My work has also appeared on popular shows such as The Young and the Restless, The Voice, and Longmire, as well as in films like Speed Kills and Hallmark's Hope at Christmas. In addition to that, I have also contributed to Amazon Prime's Good Girls Revolt & The Path, CBS Inside the PGA, and the CW Fall Promo, among others.

My music, Indie/Alternative Folk sound is influenced by Ingrid Michaelson, Sheryl Crow, Tristan Prettyman, Meiko, Birdy, The Lumineers, The Head & The Heart, Warpaint, Cannons, Florence and the Machine, Hope Sandoval, London Grammar, The XX, Daughter, The Civil Wars, Colbie Caillat, and Oh Honey.

I am passionate about giving back to my community and has hosted a concert/fundraiser to raise awareness and funds for Pulmonary Hypertension. My niece suffers from this condition, and this concert featured some of the songs I have written over the last 10 years, along with the stories behind them. The concert replay is available on my website, along with information about Pulmonary Hypertension.

Moreover, I am also a mentor to aspiring musicians and teaches courses on how to build a business in music licensing. I have held workshops for women to help them overcome fears, find their self-worth, passions, and achieve their dreams.

I have performed at various corporate events and venues, including the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Club, Signature Theatre, and several concert series such as Focus Music and Stone Room Concerts. My set list is diverse and includes music from various eras and genres, from The Eagles to Sheryl Crow to Guns N' Roses, guaranteeing a crowd-pleasing performance.

2Congratulations! As the winner of the LIT Music Awards, what does receiving recognition at this level mean to you and your career trajectory?
It means a lot that I was chosen out of all the people submitting to my category to be a Silver winner. The song is ironically named "Why Don't They Choose Me?"- and this time I was chosen! This award will give me more recognition in my career and is a pleasure to add to my awards!
3What do you believe distinguishes your music or your work as a musician?

I came from a place of low self-worth, not believing that I could sing or write songs. It was a dark time because, deep down, that is what I wanted to do. I went into biology instead of following music, for a long time. In the early 2000's, I finally started working slowly toward my original dream. It was a hard long road of self-doubt and feeling the need to "catch up".

In 15 short years, I learned, Ukulele, guitar, learned how to sing properly, started writing songs, getting songs into Film & TV, & winning awards. I know that everyone has worked hard and has had demons to fight. I just feel like I have had to work extra hard to get to where I am because music had not been my whole life.

4Who are some of your biggest influences, and how have they shaped your talents?
Amy Grant - she embodies a style and real-ness that I like and aspire to. She also sang/sings in a range that I can and so that encouraged me. I didn't have to feel like I needed to sing in a high range to be good.
5Can you share any memorable experiences that have shaped your career?
Getting that first vocal TV placement was so awesome! To hear your voice on a TV show for millions to hear? Also, my first 4 figure royalty check. Nice to see the fruits of your labor! Being nominated was spectacular. I got to go to Hollywood and get pictures on the red carpet. It was really a lift!
6What message or emotion do you hope listeners interpret from your music?
Through my latest personal songs, I aim to convey to people that they are not alone in their struggles and brokenness. I believe it's important for individuals to recognize that many others face similar challenges. My hope is that my music serves as a source of healing and comfort for those who listen.
7How do you feel your work contributes to the current music landscape?
I believe that my music likely connects with audiences on a deeper level, offering narratives and perspectives that resonate with their own experiences and emotions. My music often emphasizes intimacy and authenticity, creating an intimate connection between the myself and the listeners.
8What do you consider to be the most significant accomplishment in your music industry career so far?

Although I've achieved milestones in both artistic expression and personal development, I consider my most significant accomplishment to be organizing a concert to raise awareness for Pulmonary Hypertension, a life-threatening disease.

This cause is deeply personal to me as my niece battles this condition, which has brought immense medical and emotional challenges to her and her loved ones. A portion of the concert proceeds was donated to the Pulmonary Hypertension Association, and I remain committed to educating others about this illness.

9In what ways do you think the music industry has changed in recent years, and how have you adapted to those changes?

The music industry has undergone significant changes in recent years, largely due to advancements in technology, shifts in consumer behavior, and the rise of digital platforms. The rise of digital platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube have transformed how music is distributed and consumed.

I prioritize digital distribution and leveraging streaming services to reach wider audiences. TV is another platform where audiences have found great music. So, writing for Film & TV has been a way for me to adapt & get more listeners. I can also analyze streaming metrics, social media engagement, and audience demographics to tailor their marketing strategies and identify growth opportunities for my music.

10How do you strive to push boundaries with your music?
By not conforming to the popular music push and putting out music that is authentic & not necessarily mainstream.
11How do you handle criticism or negative feedback, and how does it influence your artistic growth?
I used to handle criticism harshly, but now I look at it as a way to improve and push myself to do better. Some criticism you have to take it or leave it though because each person is going to hear/feel/say something different.
12Can you tell us about any collaborations or notable partnerships that have influenced your winning work?
I work a lot with my friend and producer Stephen Joseph Antonelli of Song Builder Studios. He has been a mentor since the beginning and has written and produced many songs with me. Him and I worked on the winning song together in style, writing and production.
13How do you stay connected with your audience and fans?
I stay connected through social media, email & at performances.
14What do you hope to achieve next in your career, and what goals do you have for the future?
I would love to be nominated for a Grammy. I am part of the recording academy and I will be submitting my new album this year. It would be a great honor!
15Tell us more about your winning entry/entries.

The winning song "Why Don't They Choose Me", which creates a narrative that explores the impact of childhood trauma, teenage angst, and the journey of self-discovery, is part of my upcoming album, "Dig Deeper," a project delving into various life regrets and personal revelations. The song also has a heartfelt music video and deeply expresses the feelings of not fitting in.

The first release off the album is a song called "I Should've Done Better" which is an apology song of sorts. I reflect on regrets and the feelings behind things I should have done/known better. But who really does when they are young. After the release of Why Don't They Choose Me, another song Who Hears the Broken will come out, and that is a heartfelt exploration of why I felt so bad about myself growing up, but it has a hopeful message at the end about strength and that women and girls can be whoever they want to be.

16In what ways do you think the music industry can better support emerging artists and foster diversity and inclusivity?

Offer training programs and workshops to help emerging artists navigate the industry, build their skills, and develop sustainable careers. This can include workshops on music production, marketing and promotion, financial literacy, and rights management. Provide platforms and support for underrepresented genres and styles of music, including those rooted in marginalized communities.

This can help elevate the visibility and legitimacy of diverse musical traditions and contribute to a more inclusive music landscape. Encourage media outlets to amplify the voices of emerging artists from diverse backgrounds through features, interviews, and playlist placements. Highlighting a diverse range of artists can help challenge stereotypes, broaden perspectives, and inspire future generations.

17What advice would you give to those who are in the same industry and/or are interested in your work?

Authenticity is key. Stay true to your unique voice, style, and vision. Embrace what makes you stand out as an artist and don't be afraid to showcase your individuality. The music industry is constantly evolving. Stay curious and open-minded, and continually seek out opportunities to learn and grow.

Whether it's mastering a new instrument, exploring different genres, or honing your production skills, never stop challenging yourself to improve. Pursuing a career in music can be demanding both mentally and physically. Prioritize self-care, maintain a healthy work-life balance, and don't forget to nurture your mental and emotional well-being. Remember that your health and happiness are essential for sustaining a long and fulfilling career.

18Will you invite and advise more musicians to participate in the LIT Music Awards? If yes, how do you think this will impact their career in the long run?
Yes! The contest is far reaching globally. There will be greater recognition and following as news of the awards spreads. I have already gotten compliments and reach outs from people higher in the industry than me. It is a really cool accomplishment!

Winning Entry

Why Don’t They Choose Me? | 2024

Why Don't They Choose Me | Michelle Lockey

"Why Don't They Choose Me," is my latest acoustic folk creation. This song is a journey into the complexities of not … (Read more at LIT Music Awards.)

Michelle Lockey

Michelle Lockey is an accomplished recording artist, singer-songwriter, and producer based in Maryland. With a lengthy list of accolades, she has solidified her reputation as a respected artist in the music industry, earning multiple nominations for various international awards.

Read more about this interview with Joseph Lu from Italy, the Gold Winner of the 2024 LIT Music Awards.