February 2, 2016

Meet the Artist: American Idol's Michael Lynche

American Idol season nine finalist Michael Lynche comes to the RPO on Valentine’s Day weekend for an all-new show celebrating classic R&B with Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik.

Following the release of his debut album in 2012, The Tampa Bay Times said Lynche “follows in the tradition of husky crooners Luther Vandross and Barry White, big men with big voices, big smiles, big hearts.” We caught up with the Florida native for the inside scoop on his career (including what it’s really like to be on Idol!), and the hype for the world premiere of Heart and Soul.
Michael Lynche

When did you start singing/performing?
I got my first guitar when I was three. I grew up in a performing family and we would perform at church. As long as you could make noise, you were in the band!

Who are your favorite artists and musical influence?
Al Green is my number one. I also love Luther Vandross, James Brown, The Beatles, and Bonnie Raitt. It all goes back to my mom. She was the one who showed us everything from 2Pac and Biggie to Bonnie Raitt and The Stylistics. She always had a new CD in the car and I just fell in love with all the music we listened to growing up.

Tell us about Heart and Soul. It’s going to debut in Rochester, right?
Yes! I met Jeff in 2012 when I performed in a show called “Let’s Dance” with The Florida Orchestra. He is such a young spirit and I am an old soul. We started creating this show in 2014.
You don’t hear this kind of music with a full symphony. I have always loved the legends of R&B. I’ve never been to a show where you can experience these soul artists, like Al Green, Luther Vandross, and James Brown, all these guys who have impacted my life and who I want to be like. The show is going to have a specific vibe to it that I have been working on forever. I think any of these artists would love to have their songs done by a symphony. It’s definitely unique!

Who’s your favorite artist today?
My soul is a little older than the kind of music they are making today. I don’t believe the
music being made right now has a long lasting feeling to it. It’s really about classic soul music for me. However, two of my favorite artists right now are Maxwell and D’Angelo.

How did your time on American Idol prepare you for the life you lead now?
I was living as a professional musician in New York City before the show. I decided to audition for American Idol to take my career up a notch--and it went well!

It doesn’t get much bigger than American Idol. Everyone who is dealing with Idol is the top in that industry. To watch how to be a professional was incredible. The show is high-stakes and high-intensity. Nothing is as nerve-wracking as performing on a show for millions of people on a weekly basis! To stay calm, I always tried to focus on what I was doing and perform for the people in the room.

You got a second chance on American Idol thanks to a judges’ save, right?
I was in the bottom and it was a crazy week on the show. I had to sing to save my spot. I sang Maxwell’s “This Woman’s Work” and was fortunate to be able to continue on my journey.

What do you like about playing with a symphony orchestra?
When you find other people who are on this level--it helps you raise your game. It’s going to be fun to see the symphony playing something else besides the standard classical rep; we hope people will accept the creative leap of faith we are taking here with the music and enjoy!

Favorite song on the program?
We are doing a song I wrote called “There Will be Love.” It’s a positive song of love, hope, moving forward, and always knowing that love is out there and it conquers all. This will only be the second time I get to perform it in a large venue. It’s got an old soul vibe to it.

If you go:
Heart and Soul with vocalist Michael Lynche
Fri. Feb. 12 at 8 PM
Sat. Feb. 13 at 8 PM

Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre
Tickets start at $22

See Michael Lynche's American Idol performance that famously saved him in the competition!

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