While 2020 has been a year to forget for many, it has been the start of something pretty special for See Your Shadow Songwriting. Their initial single, “I Will Tell Jesus You Said Hello” has been charting on the Christian radio charts domestically, as well as hitting #1 on the iTunes charts overseas. See Your Shadow Songwriting’s artistic/creative director Michael Coleman took time out to answer some questions about the group’s music, their beginnings and where they are headed in the future.
Hi Michael! Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. First off, tell us about See Your Shadow Songwriting. How did this come about, and what are your main goals as the creative director?
See Your Shadow Songwriting is the flagship of all my creative enterprises. It’s a collaborative network of vocalist, musicians and people who have a passion for the arts and it’s through those folks, known as the See Your Shadow Network of Stars, that they present the work that I write. All the songs that you hear coming out of See Your Shadow are written by me on my own or in a co-write with one of my many partners. See Your Shadow was started when I decided to become serious about my writing and I formed See Your Shadow to set me apart from other songwriters. It is one thing to be a songwriter, but few songwriters can call themselves creative institutions and that is what we are. My main goals for See Your Shadow have always remain constant and that is to create good art and continue to foster the dreams of those in the network. One of the things I have been working diligently on is getting our defining legacy piece and hopefully that will be one of the pieces we have coming out here soon.
Take us behind the scenes of a SYS studio creation. How does it all come together?
Every project is different. Every project starts with me writing the piece, then re-writing, and re-writing until I feel the piece is strong enough to be born. Then I figure out how I want to put the piece together. I have to take what I hear in my head and translate that to be conveyed to the musicians and singers. Because the work we do is all original it takes more preparation then doing something that has been done before and what I mean by that is singers and musicians can perform and do work that they know more easily then if they are the ones themselves performing the piece for the very first time. So I have to do a lot of prep work to be able to get them to feel the piece as strongly as I feel a piece, I have to get them inside my brain and then have them make the piece their very own. It’s not an easy feat, but we do tend to have a blast when we are in the studio bringing a project to life.
“My Worth” is a very interesting tune, in that it’s a country music instrumental. What were you thinking when you wrote that? How has the reception been?
This actually was a very unusual project as it started off with cocktails and bongos and that was the foundation for the piece, literally a drunken rant on the bongos, but I liked what I came up with. Fast forward, I played the foundation for the beat next time I was in the studio and then the musicians chimed in and we were all just having an impromptu jam session and that is how the piece began to take shape. I then had to take all the moving pieces and parts and actually construct a song. When I decided to release “My Worth” as the follow up to, “I Will Tell Jesus You Said Hello” people thought I was crazy as who releases a single that is just an instrumental. In this industry so many people just want you to do what has always been done. However, the piece is such a stark contrast to Jesus, that I thought it would be the perfect follow up. Usually musicians only get a chance to shine in live performances and I thought this piece just let’s folks know that the musicianship of those in the See Your Shadow Network of Stars is top notch. To my surprise, the piece has been received so well. People really have responded to it. I think it has been the breath of fresh air that people have been wanting and that it shows that you will never know what See Your Shadow is going to do next and that we will continue to surprise our fans at every turn.
“I Will Tell Jesus You Said Hello” is still doing well at Christian country radio, after several months of release. Congrats! What do you attribute the song’s success to and was it surprising to you?
Thanks. That song really is my little engine that could. I think what keeps it going and why it has been so well embraced is that it packs the one-two punch that you normally don’t get from today’s music. It’s a piece that just makes you feel. I am always surprised by any success a piece that we put out obtains as you just never know. However, I have always believed in that piece and knew it was something special even though everyone in Nashville thought it was the most God awful piece on the planet and oh my God it’s a duet as well. That was some of the feedback I was getting on the piece, so I said we are going to let the public tell me this piece is awful so we put it out as our lead single from our new body of work and the rest is history. When you believe in something, you have to go with it.
What has been the best thing that’s happened to you, since the COVID outbreak? What has been the worst thing about the virus?
I think the best thing that has happened to me since the pandemic is that I have had the time to really concentrate on the direction I want to take See Your Shadow. The worst thing is that I had such a full travel calendar in 2020 that all had to be canceled and I mean I was going to some great places. I was going to Spain, Greece, South Africa as well as many different cities here in the United States promoting our new television network which was going to be launched this year and that had to be scrapped as well.
Do you have any views on the political landscape in the US?
I absolutely love politics. My Sunday mornings are always dedicated to politics. However, I try not to get too involved and render too many opinions because the See Your Shadow fanbase encompasses both sides of the aisle and I am a proponent of how people of differing points of views, beliefs and backgrounds can be united through the arts and find common ground.
What is one song that’s on your personal listening playlist, that most people would be surprised to know?
I’m the guy that literally likes so many different types of music and one of the things that I love to do is go out to a bar, load the jukebox up with money and have a few drinks and just listen to some good music and observe how the patrons react to what I play. People are surprised that on that playlist are “Could We Start Again Please” from Jesus Christ Superstar and “My Neck, My Back” by Elle King
Have you ever visited Europe? If you have, where was your favorite place? If not, where would you like to visit?
Actually, I have been. I have been to London, Amsterdam, Prague, Munich, Berlin, Zurich, Paris, Brussels, Vienna and Reykjavik. Of those places I really don’t know if I could pick a favorite, they all were fantastic for different reasons. I really would love to spend some time in Scandinavia so I am really looking forward to a trip there and then of course all of the other places that I had to cancel this year.
Thank you Michael. Any closing words for your fans?
I really want to say to our fans that they really are the reason why we do what we do, and their support means so much to me and those in the See Your Shadow Network. I love interacting with the fans and encourage them to reach out on social media and say hello or send me a friend request on Facebook. We have some great stuff coming down the turnpike and we are so, so excited about our Christmas record coming out later this year so stay tuned for that.