On Top Of The World: Mikey Pauker

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Photo Credit to Nataly Zigdon.

In the music industry, it seems that people tend to generalize and assume that musicians fall into one of two categories: excited newbie or jaded veteran. But where are the artists who are just looking to share the love?

Mikey Pauker, one of TIME Entertainment’s ’10 Stars of The New Jewish Music,” is quickly extinguishing that generalization, sharing his infectious optimism with the world through his “synergy of folk/hip-hop/reggae.” After the successful October release of his album, Extraordinary Love, Mikey seems to be riding on a high, especially having also released the music video to his track, “Top of The World.”

“[With the video], we wanted to really move our viewers,” Mikey says. “[Filming was] surreal. It was a day of playing like a child. We were laughing on the set all day, and the cast was extremely talented.  I also love wardrobe, and was really blessed to have a very talented stylist who really brought her A-game to the shoot.

“Thank you, Odeila Benabou! I also really bonded with Remotely, he’s a crazy kid.”

The video, directed by Daniel Knust, is the video counterpart to the track, featured on Mikey’s full-length album, Extraordinary Love. The album reinforces positivity, filled with stunning melodies, entrancing lyrics, and undeniable soul.  “I worked with two producers on the album; most was with Diwon (Bonhom, Dreams In Static, Y Love),  and for two of the tracks, with artist and producer Brian Judah (Bravos Platinum Hit Contestant),” Mikey explains. “When I worked with Diwon, we recorded rough guitars and vocals.  Since he is a hip hop and electronic music producer, I gave him the permission to cut up the music and re-create it.  For me, this was an exercise of non-attachment.

“I don’t know many other artists who would give their music  to someone else and have them re-arrange them,” he says honestly. “I would listen back with Diwon, and we would find middle ground in finding elements we both loved in our production. In the same respect, I have been working with Brian for a few years now.  We spend most of our time doing pre-production before we record anything, and adding textures as we go.  Working with both producers was such a different set of processes and I’m thankful for the opportunity to have two different production styles.”

These two different styles factor in on the album, really helping to showcase the versatility that Mikey brings to the table. “Every second counts via production and songwriting,” he states, and Extraordinary Love illustrates the epitome of “time well-spent.”

With songs that are so infectious and make people feel so wonderful, Mikey Pauker has been taking his message to the international stage, touring throughout the US and UK, most recently returning from the latter. “It was an honor,” he says. “I have been gigging in Israel for the past two years and will be returning sometime in 2014.  I also just found out in the next two months I’ll be gigging in Dallas, St Louis, New Orleans,  Los Angeles, Joshua Tree, and Atlanta (opening for Yo La Tengo at the Variety Playhouse for the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival), and then maybe to a handful of other countries like India, China, Sweden, and Italy.”

With all that travel, one would think that Mikey would be “dead on his feet,” but he’s quick to expel that thought. “That’s one of my favorite things about touring; being fully self-expressed, and knowing that I have the opportunity of sharing what I love with communities all over the world.  People-watching is also a fun activity,” he admits. “It’s amazing meeting local people and having a “locals only”  perspective of the places I visit. I also love testing out new material live, and performing “Miracle Of You,” live.”

Moving to the international stage has meant big things for the artist. “[It’s been] crazy, actually.  Last month in Europe, I couldn’t walk a few feet at Limmud UK without someone asking for an autograph.  I’m not used to it,” Mikey seems to admit, coming across almost bashful. “I have been receiving emails from listeners about the impact my music is making in their lives and it feels amazing to be acknowledged for all the hard work I have been cultivating.”

A believer that people “have the power to be everything we manifest with our words,” Mikey is proving that this is, indeed, the truth. With every line of his music, and every career-making decision he makes, no one can deny the power that pure determination can make every want into a reality.

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