Michael Cunningham is a singer-songwriter from Belfast. He has released two albums, Hidden Treasure & Patiently Impatient. Growing up in Belfast and has had a long connection to music.
''My passion for entertaining meant that my earliest performances were as a busker in Belfast city centre, during the IRA bombing campaign. Busking was tremendous fun, but (as my worried mother insisted.) it was also quite risky, often involving very rapid changes of pitch, both musically and physically. And what a way to build confidence and develop your first playlist.
''Like many other hopefuls, in my teens and as a young man, I was a member of various rock bands and groups, with ambitions for that magical hit to stardom.''
But despite a huge investment of talent, time and money, instead of a breakthrough to stardom, it was a slow decline into obscurity.
Like many musicians, he ended up playing at weekends in local bars and clubs.
Inevitably, music moved from centre-stage in my life to an enjoyable hobby. ''I can remember sadly tossing a pile of demo cassette tapes and recordings into that cardboard box in my garage...and, literally, pulling the shutters down on my youthful dreams and ambitions of fame as a rock star.''
Fast forward to 2018
I blew the cobwebs off that dusty old cardboard box in my garage and discovered the magic of those lost tapes from 20 years ago. Playing back those cassettes and recordings was a lightbulb moment for me. The sound quality and recording factors were dire, but I was blown away by their compelling power. Their themes of love, loss and loneliness were timeless, underpinned by haunting melodies and heart-tugging lyrics. I felt immediately they had real potential.
Since then, it's a been life-changing experience. I've dedicated myself to producing and recording the best of those great songs.
The cassette tapes and recordings were impossible to use. However, it's been a wonderful experience to sing and produce the music, using top local musicians like John McCullagh on Keyboard who has just come off a tour with Sinead O'Connor and Colum McClean, who played on all Foy Vance's albums, and tours with Gretchin Peters.
Appropriately the album entitled ''Hidden Treasure'' launched in 2018. Along with the 2 albums, he also released a live EP recorded in Belfast last year. Called ''Live at the Duncairn'' it gives a real feel for the energy and passion Michael has for the music.