“Hidden Treasure for The Belfast Busker?”
Belfast musician & songwriter Michael Cunningham will release his debut album “Hidden Treasure” in January 2018
The background reads a little like an adventure story, with the songs lying unsung for over 20 years in a dusty cardboard box in a garage.
Music has always been central in Michael’s life. “I think there might even have been a set of B&O speakers in my pram… But I was an old man aged eight before I got my first basic guitar…!”
At home he was the annoying child star with the plastic microphone; At school he sang (badly!) in the choir; And since his early teens he’s been guitarist & lead singer of many bands and rock groups. He even formed his own tribute band U2 Elevation (he features as “Bono” of course!) Michael has also indulged himself with one-man “swing-nite” performances of classic songs by George Michael, Lionel Ritchie, Michael Bublé etc.
A constant feature for over 30 years has been his appearances as a busker in Belfast. He says: “My passion for entertaining meant that my earliest performances as a young teenager were as a busker in the city centre. That coincided with the major IRA bombing campaign. Busking was tremendous fun, but, as my worried mother often lamented, it was also very risky.”
“Busking wasn’t a hugely popular activity during “The Troubles”. Car bombs, incendiaries, and just plain old bomb scares often demanded rapid changes of pitch….both musically and physically!
But what a way to build confidence & to develop your first play-list…!
That lifelong busking experience has helped define my music and my commitment as a performer.”
Last year Michael abandoned his advertising career to focus full-time on his music. Success followed quickly. His group “The Unusual Suspects” secured their biggest ever gig… the Halloween Special, in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, organised by Belfast City Council.
“We were the solo band playing to over 33,000…the biggest local crowd ever for a cover band. With a massive stage, large screens & the fabulous backdrop of world class Titanic Belfast centre.
As lead singer in this amazing atmosphere, I felt like a rock star, was treated like a rock star…
Dammit, I think I even looked like a rock star…!! To cap it all, we got the gig again in 2017!”
ALBUM… “HIDDEN TREASURE”…
But the highlight of 2017 has been producing his exciting debut album “Hidden Treasure”.
The title is very apt, because the songs are based on tapes Michael discovered in a dusty cardboard box in his garage… Tapes recorded over 20 years ago, when he and songwriter Jim Anderson had great hopes for their popular duo group “Thelma & Louise”. For three years they wrote their own material & made many successful gigs and media appearances.
However, instead of a 1990’s breakthrough to stardom for the duo, it was break-up that happened. The hard realities of life… job, mortgage & marriage… followed by the arrival of a young family, meant that Michael & Jim inevitably drifted apart. The tapes went into that box in the garage. For the next 20 years, music & busking moved from centre-stage in his life to an enjoyable hobby.
He comments: “Playing back those “ancient” cassettes & recordings was a lightbulb-moment for me. The sound quality and recording factors were terrible. But I was blown away by their compelling power. I felt their themes of love, loss and loneliness were timeless, underpinned by haunting melodies & heart-tugging lyrics.’” At that time Michael gave up his career to focus on his music.
“Since then, it’s a been life-changing experience. The cassette tapes and recordings were impossible to re-master. I’ve dedicated myself to producing and recording the best of those songs, using top local musicians and state-of-the-art recording facilities…
Several of the songs have already been endorsed by leading musical website “Reverbnation” Who knows, my musical dreams just might come true….!!!”
From 11th Dec, the album is available to buy/ download from www.michaelcunningham.co.uk
“HIDDEN TREASURE “ALBUM….KEY SONGS
- “Looking Above” is a haunting, emotional love song that deals with absence and loss.
- “1000 Clocks” Upbeat tempo, with powerful lyrics, about how we can play dangerous games with each others emotions..
- “Your Secret Heart”… Deals with separation and loneliness…Inspired by a Russian cosmonaut stranded alone for months on the Mir Space Station!
- “California Sunshine”…Almost Country in style, a fun song with an underlying serious message about the environment…
WEB -SITE & ELECTRONIC PRESS KIT (EPK)
Michael Cunningham: 0044 7491103322