Making a Scene Presents an Interview with Mike Nagoda
Mike Nagoda is an LGBT Blues musician from Toronto, Canada. He began learning the piano at age six, and nearly immediately he struggled with hands that would not respond as he wanted them to because of his Cerebral Palsy. A resourceful teacher helped him overcome his difficulties with the piano, reworking arrangements so that he could comfortably play. The same could not be said for the guitar. Merely holding the guitar was painful, as was forcing his hands into chord shapes.
Still, neither he nor his guitar teacher would give up. Upon finding an old lap steel guitar in a pawn shop, Mike purchased his first steel guitar and found it much easier to play with a slide on his hand. However, he was still frustrated. The music in his head could simply not be expressed with a single slide. Mike began hearing about Brian Cober, a local blues musician who had perfected a double slide system which allowed two slides to be used in any style of music, as well as the ability to form complex chords. Mike went down to Toronto’s oldest Blues bar, Grossmans Tavern, and saw Brian play. It immediately changed his life and he was so impressed that he eventually approached Brian to teach him this system.
After many hours learning every chord and lick that he could, Mike’s perseverance and dedication to his craft finally culminated in the release of Mike’s debut album on Ropeadope Records in 2014, Parliament, a concept album about post-apocalyptic Canada. Mike is currently working on his second album for Ropeadope, Outside The Box, a Blues fusion album which blurs the lines between genres and includes influences from Jazz, Rock and Funk.
The album will cover many themes from Mike’s life, including his love of music and busking, as well as delving into LGBT themes, something not often talked about in Blues music. The album is being co-produced by Mike and Grammy and Juno award winning Toronto producer Chris Birkett, whose credits include working with artists such as Buffy Saint Marie and Sinead O’Connor.
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