For our 19th Clapper Sounds Interview, we’re highlighting musician and Clapper Creator, Michael Zeidel!
Michael, better known as @MichaelZeidel on Clapper, began making music as a teenager. He built a following on social media creating comedic content, working up to sharing the music he’s been pouring his soul into for years. His sound is balladic and soulful, and his songs tug at listener’s heartstrings. In this interview we how he learned to play guitar, his plans after he graduates college, his proudest accomplishment, his advice for new musicians, and much more!
The more music where people can cope or enjoy, maybe even just 3 minutes down the road, I think it’s a beautiful thing.
Clapper Sounds is meant to be an intimate musical experience, and we want that mission to translate into our written interviews too. As you read about Michael, play his music in the background and really get to know his unique sound. And keep an eye out for his newest release, Drifting Away, dropping on Spotify and Apple Music on March 3rd!
Let’s start from the beginning. What is your first memory of being involved with music? How did you start your artist journey?
I guess how I originally started was I saw Shawn Mendes get hit in the head with a bouncy ball on Vine. Then I heard his voice and I was like “it’d be so sick to play guitar and sing like that”. So, I started taking guitar lessons and just went from there. I kept watching him, then that obviously ended up trickling down to posting online, building to what it is today. I started taking guitar lessons when I was 16 or 17, but I quit for 8 months. Then I started playing guitar again, and kept playing off and on 3 or 4 more times. Eventually I ended up quitting lessons and started playing songs I liked on YouTube and learning that way.
Tell us a little about your songwriting process! What or who inspires your music? How long have you been playing guitar?
One of my best friends just starts putting stuff down on the piano. I’ll be like “wow that sounds sick” or “no, I’m feeling this kind of vibe” and he’ll just kind of match me up. Then I just start writing lyrics from there, and that’s when my creative juices flow. It’ll get to a certain point – and I’m learning more producing as I go – and I’ll say “I want this effect”. I just keep describing it to him with hand motions and sounds, and that’s how it goes. It’s an interesting process! My best friend knows me to the core and he’s being doing it for a while, so I’m blessed to have him around. We’re both doing content online, doing music, and just having fun with whatever we’re doing.
What are your thoughts on content creation as an artist?
As an artist, it’s very different. You’re going down as a story, and content creation you can go off of different things. But if you’re trying to promote one song, then you have to try and find different backstories and maybe try to make different skits of it. So it’s definitely much tougher promoting music than just being a normal content creator.
How do you feel about artists having to balance their social media presence and still be committed to their art?
I love it! Me personally, it’s definitely very tough, but at the end of the day it’s fun. You get to be yourself, you get to meet new people, talk to other people, and you don’t even know where their country is or where that city is. It’s kind of crazy. You connect with so many people from abroad. I think that’s the beauty of social media; connecting with so many people, not even speaking English and they just translate everything or they just like the sound. It’s incredible!
Do you have any side hustles other than music?
I’m actually a full-time university student down here in Florida. So I’m out here studying and that’s what I’m doing right now. Besides that, just going Live, and stuff like that with social media. Super blessed.
What is your journey after you graduate? Do you want to continue music and content creation full time, or do you want to get a job and put more focus into that?
I’m going to obviously get a steady job, but at the same time I want to make this work, too. Besides my regular school work, I love this. Some people love going out to a restaurant or a bar, some people like boating and going to the beach, but while they’re on a boat, I’m writing music and going Live.
What are you most proud of to date?
Honestly, dropping my first song on July 29th of last year was absolutely surreal to me. I was thinking about dropping music ever since 2014, so for 5 or 6 years I was imagining myself on Spotify, on Apple, where people can listen to me globally. I think seeing that happen was surreal and I’m so proud of that. That has to be the coolest moment, but besides that…nah, that has to be the best!
What keeps you making music?
Experiences. Just telling a story. As an average person, you’re listening to music all the time and I think everyone goes through stages in their life. The more music where people can cope or enjoy, maybe even just 3 minutes down the road, I think it’s a beautiful thing. Instead of me writing a book, its me singing my heart out and telling my story.
Deciding to be an artist can have its ups and downs. What advice would you give to that young artist who is just learning to play guitar, or starting singing lessons and their dream is to be a musician?
Take advantage of social media. You have every single platform in the world to use. It’s not like back then where you had to sell CDs and stuff like that. Keep making music, post as much as you can. Who cares if it gets 1 or 2 views? Maybe the next song or 10 videos later, boom it just blows up. That’s how the internet works and you just have to keep growing with that. I think the more the merrier.
Make sure to check our recorded live session on our account Clapper Sounds and in our reels on Instagram. Enjoy the Clapper Sounds live session of the week!