A few days ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to interview a very talented Canadian artist. Michael Bernard Fitzgerald or affectionately – MBF has been on a north American tour promoting his new album I Wanna Make It With You. After checking out his discography, I immediately jumped on the opportunity to meet and chat with him. Hailing from Calgary, AB – MBF’s music and style simply put is heartfelt, honest, and incredibly catchy.
I immediately became an admiring fan after listening to 3 songs and after I met him, even more so. I met MBF at St. James Park, we wanted to take advantage of the beautiful weather, chill out – Toronto style.
SL: How’s the tour going?
MBF: It’s good! We do a bit of travel and then play and then we do a bit of press in between but it’s been good!
SL: Are you a serial roadtripper?
MBF: Yeah, if you don’t have much of an attachment to having some sort of a familiar household, it’s really easy. I grew up in Calgary but through music over the last number of years and just traveling more and more and I end up having friends and almost like a pseudo family in different places. I think people are incredible and I’m happy to be traveling around.
SL: That reminds me of one of my favorite songs of yours Follow which is basically asking your significant other if they will follow you. Are the lyrics a reflection of your own life?
MBF: Yeah for sure. And it also points to when the relationship is new, of course everything is attractive and easy to get behind when its good, but the song is asking “Do you think that you’ll also be there when it’s not”?
I actually wrote that song in Dundas, Ontario. My aunt and uncle live in Dundas so every time we tour, we would take a couple of days and just stay with them. It’s gorgeous. We were there for a couple of day in between shows.
SL: Your music has a mix of different genres to it, is that what you grew up with?
MBF: The element of the horns and strings and the background vocals I would have gotten from Motown and the folky element to it I got from Paul Simon. And this recent record also got a bit more rock and roll.
SL: I heard that I Wanna Make It With You is a good record to get pulled over. Did that really happen to you?
MBF: Yeah! It’s a speeding soundtrack for sure. I got a speeding ticket this year like two days before my birthday. So it’s proven.
SL: Let’s talk about your new album. You’re known to write songs lightning fast, was that the case with this album?
MBF: I find that a song becomes a keeper when the original inspiration behind it comes really fast. I like to go back into the song and go word by word and make sure that what I’m saying is what I intended to say and that it will read the way I want it to read. So there’s that process but that doesn’t take that long either.
As a songwriter, if you just learn not to focus on the nitpicky detail it’s so much easier to arrive at something great.
SL: Tell us about the new record.
MBF: I think the new record has a lot of hope in it. I think the hope is easy to grab onto, everybody has something they’re hopeful about.
*Momentarily, gets distracted by puppies
SL: What’s next for MBF?
MBF: We play out in Alberta in the mountains this weekend and then we play in LA next week. And then we play weekly…forever.
MBF: Well, I guess as you learn more about the world eventually it will transition into having a family but singing songs is something I’ll always do.
SL: Where do you hang out in Toronto when you’re here (can’t believe I asked that, what a stalker question)?
MBF: We’ve been here so many times we have our main stays. We always would get late night breakfast at the Lakeview and we also stop at Poutini’s cause Andrew (a member of the band) loves pulled pork poutine and I actually love their vegetarian gravy even though I’m not vegetarian. And today I had coffee at Reunion Island cafe. Tomorrow I’m gonna be searching out a great butter croissant!
Of course, we ended the perfect afternoon with lots of puppy playtime. Catch MBF at the Calgary Folk Music Festival in Calgary on from July 21-24. In the meantime, listen to I Wanna Make It With You below!
Photos by Marvin Alvarado