Guest post by Chris Borchert of kickshuffle.
Just before Mike Sanchez finishes his set, he whips out his iPhone and snaps a picture of the crowd. “Follow me on Twitter because I’m going to take a picture of the audience and I want you to try and find yourself!”
Mike Sanchez gets it.
HEY, WHO’S THE OPENER TONIGHT?
“From industry standards, you can’t try and out perform the main act. You’re playing there for a reason; you’re opening the show. I’m happy and humbled to be there, so I’m going to set up the best show possible.”
“I’m also going to make sure everyone knows who I am. I’m going to play my tunes, I’m going to tell you where to get them, I’m going to do my Twitter and do my Facebook, I’m going to tell you that I’ll be at the merch table, I’m going to play a couple covers, you know. I have 20-25 minutes to connect. I’m the new kid. People come to the shows and they’re like ‘Who is this guy?’ I have to connect. It’s not like Oh I’m going to see Mike Sanchez, he plays the one song I love, it’s not at that point yet. I’ve got to find connections. So my whole thing is about connecting with the audience.”
I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS MY WHOLE LIFE… SO YEAH, I’M READY.
Mike spent virtually his entire life trying to make it in music, and right now he’s knocking on the door.
“My dream was to always be the singer of the band. I knew I wasn’t that great of a guitar player, wasn’t the best drummer. I could play bass, but singing I had a little more control of. I wanted to be David Lee Roth.”
Mike got his break like so many before him: with a bit of luck, and a whole lot of talent.
“I met Chris [Daughtry] in California and we became buddies. So when he would come to town he’d call me up and say “Hey man, want to open for us with your band?”
“One night he was playing in St. Petersburg and at that time I didn’t have a band. He called me up and said, ‘Hey man I need an opener for the show, do you want to come and hang and have a good time and open the show?’ And I said ‘Well, it’s literally just me, it’s become just me and a guitar. He said, ‘Well do you still want to do it?’ And I said yeah.
“So I showed up and he’s like you weren’t kidding, its just you and a guitar. And he watched the show and said THAT’s what’s going to pop. Just you on stage with a guitar, that’s your starting point, and we’re going to write songs and make this happen. I had tons of songs but you know, you get your foot in the door and you collaborate with different people and things can really start to happen.”
“It took awhile after that. They had a crazy schedule playing and writing. Then one day Chris called me out of the blue and said ‘OK: you, guitar, let’s go to L.A. and write some songs and see what happens. No promises, let’s just see what happens.’
“So we go, and the rest is history. First night we were there, we got a couple beers, wrote a couple good songs, started recording them in L.A. Then I flew back home. Before you know it, we had about 4 or 5 songs, we did some really solid recordings. And I was like wow that’s awesome.”
“Then he said ‘We’re thinking about taking you on the road with us,’ and I said ‘Well that would be great.’ Of course it’s just talk and you never know. Then I got the call and he’s says: ‘Alright let’s do this. You ready?’ And it’s like, uhh I’ve been waiting for this my whole life, so yeah. (laughs)
IT’S KIND OF LIKE WE’RE SITTING ON THE TAILGATE OF A CAR, JAMMING AND HAVING A BEER
Before every show, Mike grabs his iPhone and records a Backstage Tailgate video. Then he immediately uploads it to YouTube.
“I started right off the bat. First show in Buffalo I took a picture of the audience – I’m like boom follow me on Twitter. I had the record on iTunes at the time, but that’s all I really had. I tried to meet as many people as I could but after the second show, they’re like OK we’re turning people away at the merch table. People want your music but they also want something to sign after the show. Cool. So what else could I do, especially for people who maybe didn’t buy the CD, maybe don’t know the music or follow me on Twitter?”
“Well, with YouTube I can just be like ‘Hey, my name’s Mike’ and post to YouTube and send out a link. So everyday I’m going to set up a camera backstage, usually in my dressing room, you know somewhere special. I wanted to keep it away from the front of the house, where people are all the time, and keep it in the back of the house. I really wanted to let people in to a world they don’t normally see. Most times I’ve been doing covers, sometimes I’ll do one of my own, and I’m just going to do something laid back and chill, kind of like if we were sitting on the tailgate of a car, jamming and having a beer.”
“After I did the first one, people thought it was really cool, because they would see the video, then see the show, then come hang out and talk to me after the gig. It’s relatable to everybody. Sometimes people request a tune and I’ll try to do it. So basically that’s the deal.”
HEY @THEMIKESANCHEZ: DON’T EVER WEAR THAT SHIRT AGAIN
“People love the audience shot. They can’t believe there’s a picture of them out there raising their hands, doing something crazy and fun. People love it because it allows them to become a part of it. And I think people say OK, I’ll follow this guy and find this picture, then they tweet at me telling me they found themselves, and I really try my best to get back to each and every person who tweets at me. And that’s the great thing about Twitter, you know, Facebook, yeah, but Twitter gives you a direct connection, and I think that’s pretty amazing. I think it’s helped me more than anything.”
“For example, someone can say to me ‘Hey @TheMikeSanchez, don’t ever wear that shirt again.’ And I can say ‘Yeah, I agree.’ Or I can say, ‘Hey man, whatever.’ Everything is so instant and at your fingertips. A lot of people come up to me at shows and say Ohh my name is @so and so and you said this to me the other day and it was so cool, so I had to come and see you. It’s that kind of connection that just works for me, and at this point I need it. And if this continues to goes further, which I hope and pray it will, I would be honored to continue to do that. That’s my thing and I’m going to go on and on and on with it.”
Catch Mike on tour with Chris Daughtry and Safetysuit this summer.
Singer-songwriter Mike Sanchez is currently on tour with Chris Daughtry. In March 2012, Mike released a 3-track MP3 album, Grove and Third Sessions, on his own record label (Dirty University) and plans to hit the studio following the tour. Before every show, Mike uploads a Backstage Tailgate video. Check them out, and be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook.