When singers and songwriters can use the internet and social networking effectively, they usually can create a strong fan base. Soul boy Mike Hough did just that and much much more. Hailing from East London/Essex, Mike started out by uploading videos of himself singing covers and over time has hit over 2.5million Youtube hits since he started. Praised by not only UK DJ’s and industry types but has also received critical acclaim from the musicians he has also covered. 2011 is Mike’s year and with a publishing deal now under his belt, his journey to become the UK’s new rising RnB star has officially begun.
Mike was very kind to take some time out from recording in his home studio recently to answer some questions for me. We discuss his influences, songwriting and his thoughts on ‘The Only Way Is Essex’.
Sourmash: Just wanted to start by saying congratulations on signing with Global Publishing, you must feel good about that?
Mike Hough: Hey! Thank you so much! It’s really overwhelming as its such an amazing feeling to know my hard work is paying off, but yeah I’m very excited and on cloud 9!
SM: So when would you say your singing career began for you?
MH: I started taking it completely seriously when I was 16. I started singing when I was about 11 but by the age of 16 when I left school, I knew that was the step I wanted to take and turned my focus purely on that.
SM: I get the impression your family play a big part in your career, is it important to you that you have their support?
MH: I’m a family guy. They are my rock, purely because they are the people who really will ever know the real me (personally) deep down. They have been there through every step of my life, as well as my career. To have their support is amazing, and whether I do good or bad they are always there so I’m lucky to have such a strong unit.
SM: Did they influence you in any way in your music choices? If so what artists/bands did they get you into?
MH: Mum raised me listening to real 60′s/70′s/80′s soul and funk. Shalamar, Luther, Stevie, The Chi-Lights, Gladys Knight, Prince, Alexander O’Neil – the list goes on, so I guess I was influenced, but was also always allowed to listen to anything I liked whether Mum or my sisters did or not. I’m really happy that I know a wide variety of music and not just one.
SM: Now you had great success with your self-release single, ‘Hero’, did it reach your expectations?
MH: Hero went above and beyond my expectations, It was amazing. Bearing in mind I did this off my own back with no TV, Radio, PR, Manager, Label etc behind it, it still charted in the Top 40 UK Independent chart, Peaked at number 88 on the Official Chart Top 100 and Number 6 on the UK iTunes RnB chart. That doesn’t happen often, so I was just on such a high, and blessed to know I have so much support.
SM: What is the song about? And what does it mean to you?
MH: Hero is just about letting someone in to save you from a bad situation. It doesn’t even have to mean ‘love’. It can be love, depression, a bad friendship, a lonely place in life – It’s just about someone seeing somebody unhappy and wanting to save them. It will always be one of my favourite songs of mine, as it opened so many doors for me and began the process of people knowing who ‘Mike Hough’ is.
SM: Am I right in thinking you have headed into the studio now? How’s it going?
MH: I have! I’m about to dive into a busy schedule now I’ve signed the publishing deal and I’m so excited! I’ll be honest, I used to hate the studio, I used to hate having to sing the same lines over and over to get the perfect take, I was always one for just wanting to be out there in the limelight. NOW – I love it! Its my second home, its such a release to be able to put your feeling into something so powerful which is music! I’m loving that.
SM: Do you have ideas in your head about what you want the songs to sound like, or are you very much, let’s get in the studio and see what happens?
MH: I’m both. I know I want to create a real soulful masterpiece for my debut album, I know kind of how I want it to sound, but I’m very open-minded. Sometimes I surprise myself and make a song I never thought would have suited me, but it did, so it really can vary. I’m still moulding my sound a lot and trying to find that perfect place for me, but its close, I can feel it!
SM: Any plans for collaborations that you are able to share or any hints!?
MH: Not as it stands. I know I’m gonna be working with some other rising UK artists like Cleo Sol, who I’m a big fan of, but in terms of album collaborations I think that will come at a later date.
SM: Is there anyone you would love to work with if you could?
MH: I’d love to work with Adele, Drake or Wretch 32. I’m a big fan of all 3 of them, I really feel we could compliment each other on a track. I’d love to do a big power ballad with Adele!
SM: I know you are a fellow Essex Boy Mike, how has your hometown influenced you as a songwriter? And I have to ask, what’s your thoughts on TOWIE?
MH: “Go on the Essex!!!” haha. I love my hometown. It’s shown me a lot and its the place where I really found myself, so most situations that influence a lot of my songs happened here! And as for TOWIE – I love it, purely because its hilarious. People love to stereotype, as much as you do get your Amy Childs and Mark Wrights here, it’s so far-fetched from what it’s actually like, it’s what makes it fun!
SM: You have had some great success over the last few months with sell out shows, radio play and wonderful praise from the industry. But what has been your defining moment so far for you?
MH: Signing that Publishing deal. I’ve always dreamed of saying ‘I have a label behind me’ in whichever term, I always dreamed of the moment I’d put that pen to paper – and it happened! It just means I get to further my career so much more than I could before, as I now get connections to some big people who I may never have got the chance to back then, so this definitely was one of them “wow – I did it” moments for me personally.
SM: So what’s next for Mike Hough? And we can expect more shows and an album from your good self?
MH: Firstly Pete, thanks for the interview and taking your time out to chat with me. Secondly, Next for Mike Hough is the big launch! The ‘mainstream’ launch as they say. I think the plan is to stay working hard in the studio/behind the scenes for the moment, then launch early next year, so I will be doing show’s etc still over the rest of the year, but as from January, that’s when you can expect the singles, the albums and so on. I’m so excited! And I hope you all enjoy.
So there you have it! Watch this space with this one as Mike certainly is on the right path to success.
Here’s a snippet of Mike’s brand new single ‘Nothing To Lose’