Growing up in South Carolina, Micah McLaurin has always been drawn to the beauty of music. Starting to share his talent for live audiences when he was 9 years old, he has been gifted with a beautiful musical ability. Even though he was performing since he was a kid, it wasn’t until Micah moved out to New York City where he was able to really allow his queerness and musical artistry to flourish. This allowed him to become the man and musician he was always meant to be, while facing the challenges that he dealt with coming from a conservative household in the Deep South.
He has had viral success of his instrumental melody video, “Rhapsody in Gaga,” which serves as a tribute to pop superstar Lady Gaga. He also has created another popular melody video using songs from Madonna. His latest single, “Moon River,” once again shows Micah’s incredible piano skills. He transcends much heart and emotion through the sounds of this instrument. His new album, titled Diamonds, features more beautiful covers of songs that have meant a lot to Micah throughout his life. The covers he creates will also ultimately have a great impact on the listener as he strips back popular songs into more mellow versions that still reach deep into the hearts of the audience. Micah has an exciting season coming up with lots of new songs, so let us dive into this great conversation we had with him!
Congratulations on the release of your new single, “Moon River.” What made you want to do a cover of this song?
Micah McLaurin: I wanted to do it cause I started to play Henry Mancini’s music on the piano when I was 8. My music teacher introduced me to his songs and then I really connected with that one. It is one I truly gravitate toward and then I started to realize I really wanted to create my own arrangement of it.
We heard you recorded this new single at the famous Abbey Road Studio in London. What was that experience like?
MM: It was really great to play in a legendary place like that. It was cool to feel the presence of all those amazing artists who walked through those halls. Then there were also photos I saw on the walls of all the artists who worked there like The Beatles. It was just really an honor to record at such an iconic place.
We heard you are ready to release a new album. What can listeners expect from this new set of songs?
MM: This is going to be an album of covers. These are all songs that are part of my story and also my musical development. They all really have a special meaning to me. The album is called Diamonds; the reason behind this title is because all these songs chosen here are like gems, they are very important to me.
So do you have a cover song on this project that you would say is the most special to your heart?
MM: Probably “Over the Rainbow.” I still cry when I hear it. When that song comes on in The Wizard of Oz, it still brings me to tears. So that one I feel is the deepest to me.
Was there any song on the album that in particular was really challenging to get the arrangement right?
MM: ”Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” was pretty challenging. It was a different style than I was accustomed to so it took longer to figure everything out and get the timing and rhythm right. It was a fun challenge though. It was also harder than I expected but it was really rewarding.
How long did it take to fully complete the recording process for this album?
MM: So I started arranging the songs a year ago. I started recording them in January. Then mixing was finished around June. I did them in two batches though. I went over to London in January and then went back in March to finish it all up.
Who are some artists you really look up to?
MM: I love some classical pianists, one example being Vladimir Horowitz. Then some other ones are Lady Gaga, Donna Summer, ABBA, and The Bee Gees. I really have a wide variety of artists I love, living and dead, in many different music genres.
We know you are an amazing pianist but are you involved in playing any other instruments?
MM: I feel I am cheating on the piano if I learn to play anything else. I am just so devoted to it. However, I am learning another instrument that people will see soon with my upcoming music after the album comes out.