*Exclusive* Interview: American Idol Alum Michael Sarver Begins Again


American Idol Season 8 alumnae, Michael Sarver, might have taken a couple of years off from making music, but he’s back now, ready to release an album (Begin Again, available June 9th), and thank goodness; because, Michael, we missed you something crazy!

Before Michael took the coveted American Idol stage, he performed in front of his church’s congregation, which he identified as potentially “cliche,” but it is, indeed, where he found his knack for entertaining. Michael segued into being a solo performer when he was eleven-years-old and struggling through a very difficult time in his life.

I was going through a kind of abusive situation, to be honest with it, and . . . because of that I kind of resorted to music to be my savior in a sense; to make me feel better. And at that time in my life, I absolutely fell in love with music, just had a major crush on it, and I never turned back from that day.

In order to help him come out the other side of his emotional pain, Michael led worship at church for about six years, giving him the opportunity to separate music from hurt and develop a greater, more well-rounded love for the thing he turned to when he needed an escape the most. Drawing the line in the sand and realizing music wasn’t only a place to find safety, it was a place he found serenity, he opened himself up to the idea of sharing his talents with a broader audience — the American Idol viewers.

While Michael was ready for everything that came with the role of contestant, it was exposing himself to criticism that was the most difficult transition from church singer to competition show hopeful. However, it was the lesson of resilience that Michael has carried with him into his career.

There was a guy that came in the room one day and said “Look. If you ever read a bad comment on the Internet, just picture a forty-year-old virgin and his Hanes white underwear in his mother’s basement on an old computer that his mother bought, and he’s sitting there talking trash about you because he’s jealous of your success. And if you can look at it that way, you’ll never take a criticism seriously again.” And it’s so true because every time I see something negative, I crack up laughing because I see that image he put in our heads and it’s true. It taught me to imagine a person talking ugly about me as just a person who is, for whatever reason, jealous of what I accomplished and upset with himself for not accomplishing something in his own life.

Michael has certainly accomplished a lot since he received that piece of hilarious, albeit sound, advice, starting with a single, “Miss You Something Crazy,” (read my review of the single on Country Music’s #CMchat) that is not only charting in the United States, but also in the United Kingdom. Considering the dual country success the track is experiencing, Michael intends to keep working hard at promoting it and continuing its journey as it touches people around the world. In fact, the current plan is to allow the song to move forward on its path, even with the release of the second single (“When I Drink”) from his forthcoming album coming this summer.

“Miss You Something Crazy” and “When I Drink” are just two of the tracks fans will find on Begin Again, a twelve-track offering on which Michael wrote or co-wrote all but one song. Michael’s process for choosing the tracks was simply to create a cohesive body of work that represented him while maintaining a flow and movement throughout the project.

There’s a serious tone to a couple of the songs, but a lot less serious tone to the overall album than my last record. A lot more fun. . . . There’s a specific message in any of the record; it’s the roller coaster of life, in all honesty. It’s the things we all deal with. We deal with the painful stuff, then we get through it, and we have an up and then we have another down and we have another up. It’s the natural life we all live. . . . I tried to take a journey on this album where life is ups and downs and the record is ups and downs, and the reason for that is to hopefully be relatable to real life people. Not people who just listen to music for fun ’cause there’s songs for that, but then there’s songs for people that listen to music for the reason I listen to music, which is it changed my life. It made me look at life a completely different way and healed me when I was the most broken in my life, so I feel like there’s a good body of work here where people can enjoy it from all areas of life and not be left out.

In an attempt to relay a versatile message to fans while echoing real life and relying on honesty, Michael made the decision to bring in one outside song to offer a perspective that belonged to somebody else. He exclusively shared with Nashville Gab that the writer on this track is fellow Season 8 American Idol contestant Matt Giraud, an artist he called “the most talented overall artist.” The song is called “First Time” and Michael knew from the first time he heard it that he wanted to record it for his album. What makes this track even more special to Michael is that Matt can be heard playing piano on the studio version that will appear on the album.

Michael’s main hope for this record is that listeners extract from it what he put into the project, which was a whole lot of him — heart, mind, and soul — and that eleven tracks worth of his writing won’t be “boring” to the fans. We hardly doubt that is even possible, considering Michael’s phenomenal talent, mesmerizing stage presence, beautiful vision, and painstakingly truthful approach, but if you need live proof of his ability to entertain, your chance will come this summer when he heads out on the road. The tour dates are still being finalized, but once they become available to the public, you can find them on Michael’s official website.

And, fans may want to go ahead and click over to his website now because every day leading up to the Begin Again release, Michael’s team will be sharing a thirty second clip of a song from the album. From what we have heard so far, beginning again for Michael Sarver will catapult him onto a long and lustrous road, complete with musical successes and fulfilled dreams. It is always a great thing to see wonderful artists find their way and build a career with their own two hands, but it’s even more satisfying to see truly great people like Michael do the same.

To stay up-to-date with Michael Sarver, follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and his official website.