MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota-raised singer-songwriter and producer Mychael Gabriel has collaborated with everyone from Ringo Starr and Stevie Wonder to Usher and Snoop. Now, for the first time, he has an album of his own.
We caught up with Gabriel at Wild Sound Studios in Minneapolis.
"When you dive in, you're diving into Lake Minnetonka," Gabriel said, describing the famed Minneapolis sound. "It's a little bit of church. It's a whole lot of funk. And rock 'n' roll."
It's also the soundtrack of his life in music, the first note of which came on Prince and the Revolution's legendary Purple Rain tour.
"My parents met while working on that tour. One in Prince's camp. One in Sheila E.'s camp. I jokingly say I'm kind of this Purple Rain world tour love child," said Gabriel.
The artist now realizes how unique it was growing up so close to the music icons. When the "Purple One" is your godfather, he's going to be one of your earliest influences.
"It's not entirely normal for Prince to come over to the house, anybody's house or to hang out with Sheila E. That you know they're not everybody's godparents," said Gabriel. "I would emulate a lot of his moves with my plastic guitar. Holding it upside down backwards. Just running around."
Now, Prince's cool factor can be found on Gabriel's debut album, Genesis. He also gets comparisons to guitar greats Jimi Hendrix and Lenny Kravitz.
"Whatever the comparison is, I always like hearing someone's take is on something that I did," said Gabriel, describing his sound as a "gumbo," which takes time.
With the support of his parents, Gabriel has spent nearly two decades working as a producer, arranger, engineer, and mixer, on top of his touring as lead guitarist with Sheila E. and other bands.
The whole time his unique musical gumbo was always simmering.
"I've had just a catalog of songs for years. My passion for music came from songwriting, so I've been writing all of this time," said Gabriel.
Gabriel believes COVID-19 turned up the heat on his efforts to bring his own music to the world.
"When you release something and make it public, it doesn't really belong to you anymore. That's one of the reasons I've held on to these songs for so long is because they were near and dear to my heart. But music is meant to be shared," said Gabriel.
Genesis is a representation of his lifelong musical and spiritual journey, although you don't need to know the Bible to enjoy it.
"The track sequence goes back to Genesis. 'In the Beginning,' direct biblical reference, 'Let There Be Light,' direct biblical reference ... Adam and Eve," explained Gabriel.
"Madam, I'm Adam" is the new single, and it's more than a palindrome. Always creating, Gabriel has much more that he's still working on, including a deluxe version of the album that includes a new song, "Rejoice," his take on that Minneapolis sound.
He hopes the hometown audience will get down with him at the State Fair in August. Gabriel plays the Leinie Lodge Bandshell Stage during the first weekend of the fair in August.
"It's all coming full circle. I tour a lot with different artists but to finally have an opportunity to play my music, my show, live in front of an audience. That's why I did this in the first place," said Gabriel.
Gabriel is behind all instruments and vocals, engineering, and production on his album. It is available on iTunes & Amazon Music.
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