Michael Brandon Powell is the sort of working-class, blue-collar musician you’d expect to see these days in the thriving Orlando music scene. He’s humbly pulled himself up by the bootstraps, so to speak, not riding any wave of poppy sound or Indie-rock-theme du jour. He’s done the bar grinds, honing his craft and refining his sound where lesser musicians would have long ago given up. He has been a diligent student of the industry, learning from those he has worked with and pouring metered doses of that into his own brilliant sense of creativity.
What he is today, is real, honest, and much more than any passing fad. As he sits in the small stage, lit by the sultry glow of the neon lights, he practically radiates charisma and likeability. Any nervousness he might have inside he laughs off with a winning smile and a clever joke. As Robin Williams once said in What Dreams May Come, “He's the type of guy that men want to be around, because he has integrity, you know? He has character. You can't fake that. And he's a guy women want to be around too, because there's a tenderness in him.”
As the crowd filters in and he plays his opening chords, they are immediately drawn in to his soulful voice and thoughtful lyrics. His pedigrees are in rock, funk, folk, and, yes, I knew him at a time when it was even techno. His perfect timing and ability to combine chords in a soulful way only underscore the deep influence the south has had on him, though not in the traditional sense. His sound is surf rock that moved to the big city and bought a 1970’s art-deco walk-up in the artsy side of town. It’s simple and catchy while retaining an underlying complexity and sadness that working hard nights in a big city can deliver. There is truth to his music, and a maturity that goes much deeper than his sunny demeanor and ability to please a crowd might allay.
Michael Brandon Powell’s music is pleasing not only to crowds, but to lovers of heartfelt crooners like Jack Johnson and John Mayer. He has a sound all his own, and ability to orchestrate emotions in it that immediate make you happy, and maybe a bit melancholy.