Social Media Rock Star: An “Interview” With Musician Michael Wainwright

“Come On…I’m Talking To You…Come On”   Tears For Fears “Shout”

Social media professionals endlessly debate tactics and best practices in this developing realm of communication.  However, as we work to fine tune our strategies for ourselves and our clients, we sometimes forget that a very basic roadmap coupled with lots of passion and emotion can drive a solid, successful social media campaign.

When I tweeted that I was going to attend the Tears For Fears concert in Portland (along with Marshall Simmonds, Matthew Brown & our wives), I’d never thought I’d connect with their opening act Michael Wainwright who reached out to me (and many others) via Twitter.  After a blizzard of back and forth conversations where I got a couple extra passes for their show but failed to meetup with him (to my deep regret) and failed to get my friend Ruth Burr to sing with him onstage (…more on that later…), I asked him for an e-interview since I was impressed with how he was marketing himself via social media.

Instead of directly answering my questions, he wrote a narrative that used my questions as a vehicle for talking about social media and its relationship with his music.  His words are quite compelling IMO so I’m going to just shut the heck up and let him speak from heart…

I’ve been fortunate enough not to ever have had a day job. Singing in cover bands has not only paid the bills but has given me the opportunity to develop my stage craft. I’ve been writing songs since i was 10 yrs old. I used to send demo tapes off to record labels when i was 12.. racing home from school to see an envelope from A&M records was a thrill even if it was just a form letter saying “thanks but no thanks..” I was persistent and kept on writing and writing..I’ve written hundreds of songs. I had a manager in NYC who fell in love with the new tears For Fears record “Everybody Loves A Happy Ending” he called me to say i should buy it and I should work with their producer.. Being a huge tears for fears fan…working with them was a ridiculous and impossible thought.. He went on to say he knows their producers wife. So we sent of a CD to him (Charlton Pettus) and before I knew it i was in the studio!

When i was confirmed as the opening act for Tears For Fears I definitely got my thinking cap on. I consider myself a unique multi media artist and I knew i needed to make a big impact with this amazing opportunity i was given to showcase my music.

Last year i started “Guitar and a Car Tour”. Its a youTube series I shoot and edit myself. Basically I traveled all over california/NYC/Nashville/Toronto and recently the UK performing at “open mic” nights.. Most of the time there’s no one there! as you can imagine i met some amazing and fascinating people! Every night had its own unique cast of characters! it has almost 200,000 views on youtube to date. i am fully transparent. I think these days you need to be.

Back to TFF. I wanted to do more than just sing my songs.. I understand my audience. They didn’t know me or my songs.. so i needed to do something extra. I decided to hold a contest, looking for a female vocalist to sing my duet “Someone Like You” i got hundreds of emails and video auditions. I was lucky enough to have a singer in each town the TFF tour played!

I wouldn’t pick necessarily  the best singer (who cares about that these days? everyone can sing!) i chose my singers by their personality. I wanted the audience to instantly fall in love with them and support them.. I would email my winner and say “come the the box office and get your free tickets and I’ll call you up to the stage”

thats it.. no rehearsal… thousands of people.. the pressure was on.. Every single singer was amazing in their own way and the audiences loved them! giving someone else the spotlight and an opportunity they may never would of had made everyone feel great!I’m a genius!! ha..

I also used twitter to engage the audience. I wanted everyone to know what this experience was like for me. I didn’t want you to sit their and just watch me sing.. I wanted them to be a part of it with me. I would take pictures backstage and tweet about all the inner workings of the tour. I would have people in the audience adding me to twitter and emailing me during the show! it was immediate and added another dimension for the audience to be a part of. follow me on

All of this was very calculated before i started the tour. I only had 30 minutes each night to sell myself. I used every angle i could of.

Facebook gave these new friends of mine a deeper and more personal look into who I am.. As i said I’m fully transparent. Check out my bad christmas sweater party pics! ha.

I gained hundreds of new friends. Not only could they look into my life but it was place where they could share pictures and videos of their Tears For Fears experience. fans would comment on other fans postings.. it was infectious!

Twitter and facebook were used differently.. twitter for the immediate communication and facebook for the deeper connection.

I met so many great people they all seemed to comment on the same thing. They’d say ” it’s really great to watch you perform, you look like you’re having so much fun up there”  I do! I truly love performing. How could you not be having the time of your life! Us musicians nit pick over all the fine details of the music which most of the time go over peoples heads.. People see music. if you’re truly having fun.. they will..

On stage when i was singing with Tears For Fears Roland and Curt would both mentioned i was twittering! AND looking for love! Curt began twittering about it. His tweets were mocking me about striking out with the ladies was kinda embarrassing at first but then i realized the fans were supporting me and encouraging! i all of a sudden had hundreds of pimps! ha.. again, it gave fans a deeper more personal look into my life.. it was quite funny actually!

hmmmm advice for other artists? i’d have to say do anything and everything you can to get people to fall in love with you.. an audience is a girl you want to date.. its not enough to just sing to her.. you have to get her # too!

I plan on more and more use of youtube/twitter/facebook to push my career further..

after all it’s free!! this is a journey im on and i want you to be on the journey with me.

BIO- Wainwright was born in Warrington England, a small working class town outside of Liverpool. As a young boy he relocated to St. Catharines Ontario. His music combines the raw northern English sound of his childhood with the stark purity of Canadian singer songwriters like Neil Young. His unique voice and universal writing combine to make powerful and personal yet commercial songs that play equally to the heart and feet.

In 2007 he hooked up with Los Angeles producer Charlton Pettus and started recording what evolved into his debut release. As the songs emerged recognition followed. Legendary graphic artist Alan Aldridge (Beatles, Elton John etc) signed on to design the cover.  With the release of “Wainwright” on Town Records, the word is spreading. Wainwright just toured with “Tears For Fears” not only as their opening act but as their background singer. The word is spreading  Myspace and Facebook

Todd Mintz is the Director of Internet Marketing & Information Systems for S.R. Clarke Inc. He also is on the Board of Directors at SEMpdx, runs his own side gigs and tweets quite a bit.