A 2007 graduate of Northwest Guilford High School, Mike Coia has always strived to be passionate in his musicianship.
“I like the idea of talking honestly about what I’m going through, the filter through which I see life,” he said. “But no matter what topic I’m talking about, I want to make sure I’m giving it my all. When you’re performing you want to feel like this is your heart singing out.”
The Greensboro artist is releasing a single “Who You’re Running From” on May 29, and putting out an album, “Sunrise,” sometime in the early summer. He spoke about his creative process, his inspirations and how he hopes to get back to performing soon.
What got you into music?
As a kid, I saw other people doing music, and I wanted to do it. And the cool thing about being a kid is that when you’re interested in something, you tend not to analyze why you’re doing it.
You’re not set back or tripped up by what could happen in the future. I just loved hearing music, and would love seeing people play guitar, and I wanted to play it and I did it.
What are some of your inspirations?
I’m a huge fan of Switchfoot, and I’m a huge fan of the way the lead singer Jon Foreman crafts lyrics and the message he brings. I’m a Christian, and I love the way he takes the message of Christianity and really takes it outside the box and makes it so much bigger than the things that are inside of a church.
And I’m a fan of John Mayer as well. So many of his songs and his musical stylings I love, just the way he can put lyrics down and how you can relate to them.
How would you describe your music?
Genre-wise, I would say it’s closest to pop-alternative. But the idea is just to make it passionate.
What’s your creative process like?
I think my creative process looks a lot like running and crawling. And what I mean by that is there are times when I know exactly what I want to write a song about. I know exactly the points I want to touch on. And I know the melody I want. But, then there’s also times I’ve sat on verses for songs for months or years.
What I love about writing music and the creative process is feeling inspired. It’s a little like math homework. I can be crawling to get a line or two. But, once I get into that zone, the snowball just runs down the mountain.
If you could open for any artist, who would it be and why?
I would say John Mayer. I think he’s such a gifted and hard-working artist, and I would enjoy the challenge of seeing if I could hold his fans attention. And, hey, you get to see, for free, your favorite artist play a show from the side of the stage. That’s pretty awesome.
Do you sing karaoke or sing in the shower, and if so, what songs do you sing?
I definitely sing in the shower. It really depends what I’m listening to, and really, I listen to a bit of everything. If I had been doing yardwork, then whatever I was listening to when I was doing yardwork is what I’ll bring into the shower.
What’s the funniest or weirdest thing that’s happened at one of your shows?
There was a show I played in Miami, Fla. It was on a Good Friday, and we were doing some worship songs. While we were there, while we were soundchecking, the sound guy had a setup on his iPad where he could wirelessly control the soundboard. And I guess he had forgotten that his iPad was hooked up to the soundboard, and halfway through the show we heard what I’ll just describe as some definitely inappropriate sounds coming from his iPad.
There were sounds coming through from two individuals from a video he was watching. Don’t know if that individual still works at that venue.
What’s your favorite song to perform?
Right now, it’s a single I just came out with, “Til’ the Stars Come Down.”
As a songwriter, your goal is to write music that you like, that you enjoy listening to. And this is a song that I really, really love. There are a lot of themes in it that come from my own personal life and my own personal emotions. The lyrics just came pouring out of me. I love being able to perform it.
What’s next for you?
I’m putting out a single on May 29. Looking forward to putting out an album, and doing a CD release show at some point. As you can imagine, I’ve had to take a break (from performing live), and I can’t wait to get back out there. But I just want to put out more music, growing a fan base and connecting with people and hearing their feedback. That’s really one of the biggest gifts singer/songwriters have, being able to put out music that connects with people.
Who would you suggest to get these questions next?
The Ghosts of Liberty.