"Obsessed. I am Obsessed." -Jennifer Lyneis President of UE3 Promotions
"Musically, I'm in love. His light, accessible, passionate sound is one that had me hitting the repeat button on one song for almost an hour." -Rebecca Cicione A & R Columbia Records
"The rising star creates an intimate environment through his music." -Diana Bonilla of the LA Examiner
"If you're looking for a new artist to get hooked on, Michael Shynes has got you covered." -BackPocketBelievers.net
"He may be one of the most talented people I've ever met. The guy just keeps getting better and better." -JustUsInMinnesota.com
"Shynes has worked to maintain a unified intimacy in his lyrical content, while expanding the dynamic nature of his sound. The result is original songs that are easy to relate to, and have legitimate staying power." -HearItLocal.com
"Songs like these are why being a music head in Minnesota is so wonderful." -Michelle Los Minneapolis Examiner
"Shynes has the rare ability to blend shades of multiple genres over an acoustic landscape, and his songs possess a lyrical depth rarely paired with such universal appeal. Performing regularly at the world renowned Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis, as well as having broken ground at the historic Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles, this is a songwriter to watch in the years to come. Vastly emerging from humble beginnings in a small central Minnesota town, Shynes has toured with National recording artist Howie Day, as well as opening up for Emerson Hart of Tonic, Matt Hires, Eric Hutchinson, and Tyler Hilton. "The thing that seems to separate Shynes from other performers in his field is unquestionably his voice. With a range and falsetto that is nothing short of captivating, his acoustic finger picking style acts as the perfect bed of warmth on which his soulful lyrics can rest."
While growing up in a small town in central Minnesota, music played only a small role in the life of singer/songwriter Michael Shynes. "I can't say that it was my first love, but I am honestly glad that it wasn't. I found it when I was drawn to it, and that's the best and most natural way for anything to take place." So what then, led to the musical transformation? Although I was expecting an elaborate and lengthy response, his answer was simply, "A black garbage bag." Shynes then explains.
"When we would take trips up north to visit family on weekends, I would venture around the house in search of things that my uncles had left behind. And on a trip I found this bag full of old cassette tapes. So I began throwing them in the stereo one after another. U2, Journey, The Police, Don Henley." Shynes then pauses to reflect. "And it wasn't necessarily a feeling like I had to go out that instant to buy a guitar and start writing music. It was more of a fascination with the fact that every track had the potential to alter my mood or take me to another place." In terms of his own beginnings, Shynes utilized what was available.
"I started out playing piano first. It was a situation where we had an old one sitting in our house, so it was a good place to start." He began playing along with popular songs prior to learning the instrument. "I would pick up on things quickly in terms of which keys worked, and which didn't. That seemed to impress people the most, but I was more excited about the opportunity to bring something of new to the table." Shynes was encouraged to take lessons, but quickly lost interest. "If my memory serves me, I had one guitar lesson, a few piano lessons in 6th grade, and a handful of voice lessons in High School." Shynes was not enamored with the task of having to learn in such a format. "Everything felt so confined and straightforward. Here are the notes on a page, replicate them. It defeated the entire purpose of why I started playing music in the first place. I loved it because there were no rules. And the more I sensed confinement creeping into play, the faster I ran in the opposite direction."
From a performance side, Shynes began his career as a singer only. "Like most young kids, it all started in basements and garages. Just best friends with a common interest, and we tried our best." He laughs and confesses that the task wasn't always successful. "We were a mess at times, but you have to work at something before you can become good at it. That's the beauty of the process." When asked about the takeaways and benefits of starting out as a singer exclusively, Shynes admits that it had a profound effect. "It benefited me in a huge way to be able to start exclusively from the lyrical and pattern writing side. I was able to recognize the ingredients of what made a well crafted melody. So much of music is just knowing who you are and where your strengths reside."
After several years of writing and performing with various bands and projects, Shynes began to sense a dissonance growing inside of him. "For me it has never been about just having a good time. I try to get into that head space I can never stay for long." Another long pause to gather perspective. "It is simply my life. Its what keeps me up at night and wakes me up early in the morning." When I appear discerning of his statement, Shynes simply laughs and says "I can't help it."
So far, that unrelenting passion has enabled him to accomplish some truly noteworthy feats. In his brief tenure as a songwriter, Shynes has performed on some of the most recognizable stages in the Midwest (The Excel Energy Center, The Taste of Minnesota Mainstage, and Mississippi Music Fest to name a few). He has also shared the stage with countless National acts such as Howie Day, Eric Hutchinson, Tyler Hilton, Connie Lim, Caleb Hawley, Jenn Bostic, and Soul Asylum.
Listing these accolades off to him one after another, he seems unmoved by the content. "If I was satisfied I would have stopped by now, but I feel like I'm just getting started.
As for what the future holds for the gifted singer/songwriter, his outlook is simple. "Its not as much about looking ahead as it is about savoring every moment. If you're out there playing a show with your next show in mind, you are missing the opportunity to reach people." When I asked him how, he goes about reaching an audience, his answer was quite provocative. "You have to reach yourself first, and then assume that as humans we are all fighting the same battles." Shynes believes that if he is able to do that, that success ultimately follow. I, for one, will not be betting against him.
-Tyler Evans RX Magazine