Four years since his last release, destined songwriter and slave to the art and power of music, Michael Lowman has released his new album, POPRADIO.

In between finding love and a slight sense of independence, Michael wrote PopRadio at the end of 2015 in just under a month. Co-produced by Howie Combrink, the album was recorded at The Hit Lab in Johannesburg and Michael’s home studio in Cape Town. Inspired by external perception, he set out to write an album which showcases the different sides to him that people are unaware of.

Most think I’m the guy who plays acoustic guitar in my room, melancholy tears dropping on one of many scribbled out notebooks – and they’d be almost exactly right, but I’m so much more than that. I love Pop music for the cleverness of melody. I love HipHop for the passion and the beat making. I love D&B for the way you lose yourself. I am so much more than the acoustic guitar playing Muzo you thought I was. PopRadio is meant to change that perception.”

PopRadio is not just a departure of genre for Michael; it is a testament of his growth as a musician since the release of his last LP. The album sees him experimenting with sounds and arrangements, playing around with vocal layers and harmonies for the first time and pushing his musical abilities to their limits. He decided to co-produce the album to intentionally throw himself into a world he had no experience with, until now. He wrote from the heart which resulted not in a new beginning for Michael Lowman, but a continuation; a new chapter.

“When I speak the name PopRadio I see all the colours on the album, I feel exactly what the album is. I see 80’s neon pink and I love it! Its a collection of songs about discovery… in music and in self. This album has something for everyone… or no-one. But that’s okay.”

PopRadio also features another new avenue for Michael – collaborations with the likes of Karlien van Jaarsveld, Khuli Chana, Ross Jack and Lelo.

With that said, we had a chat with Michael about the album:

Hi, Michael. We see you have been all over South Africa. Where is your absolute favorite place to perform? And why?

Thanks so much! It has to be the Cafe Roux venues in Noordhoek and Cape Town. Intimate. Real. Amazing ownership and the staff is exceptional. The crowd is always fantastic as well. A favorite off mine, for sure. I have a show at the Noordhoek venue July 1st. Maybe I’ll see you there 😉

Maybe… just maybe 🙂 How would you describe your sound to a person who hasn’t heard you perform?

John Mayer meets Ed Sheeran meets… a slightly taller version of The Weeknd?

Haha! What has been your greatest challenge as an artist in South Africa?

Changing your perception for you to realise that music and musicians are ever changing. Just because I released a mainly acoustic album as my debut, doesn’t mean I’m gonna stick to it… for now in any case. I guess that’s always the biggest challenge for an artist: how do I satisfy the music within while still keeping true to the fans. It’s not easy.

How does the music scene differ compared to South Africa and L.A.

The real difference is in the availability of live music venues. In LA you’d be able to find an original live music venue for everyday of the week and then some. It’s great for fans of music, but it’s invaluable for the musicians. To be able to hone your craft on stage is always the biggest advantage for a muzo. South Africa needs to embed that culture… Cape Town is getting there.

Your new album is out, how has the reception been on the release?

It’s been great! It’s such a different album for me. I experimented and learnt so much throughout the process. I love the album! I love how, sonically, it’s a massive departure from anything I’ve previously released. It’s a banger!

Nice and well done, bro. You’ve collaborated with other artists on your album, who would you love to collaborate with in future? And why?

Collaborations have to come about organically, for me in any case. The collabs on PopRadio are there because I immediately knew that those particular songs had to have added value. Though to answer your question, I’d love to work with Jack Garratt on something. I want to know what makes that guy tick. He’s so good! Then for me, to feed my soul… I would love to write a song with Harry Styles. The music on his debut solo album is the best thing I’ve heard in years. Check it out if you haven’t already.

What is your absolute favorite song on your new album.. Yes, you have to choose 😉

Haha – tricky question. I’m going for FIGHT. I wrote it a year before the rest, it’s loosely about my dad and what losing him meant. It’s a piano-centric singer songwriter cry for help and I love it.

What do you think “success” is in South Africa as an artist?

Quitting your day job! Seriously though, if you can be a musician full time, you’ve succeeded. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It continues to be the hardest thing, but it’s also the most rewarding by far. Never give up. Hold on to hope, it’s worth it.

Awesome to hear that. Where can people find you next?

Cafe Roux, Noordhoek, CT – July 1st – for a beautiful evening of solo acoustic vibes.

Thank for the chat! How can people get hold of you and your music?

All of my music is available digitally on your platform of choice. I’m also on all the social media stuff 😉

Photograph By: Glen Montgomery
Style By: Daisy May for ‘RealLifeStyled’