Featured artist: Mikael Salo
Last year we started with a series of blog posts that feature some artists that we think you should pay extra attention to! Today, we’d like to introduce you to Mikael Salo, lead singer of bands such as Dyecrest, Everfrost, Northern Seer, Metal De Facto, and Thy Row. We had the opportunity to ask him a couple of questions!
Tell us a bit about yourself as an artist, what sort of projects have you been involved in?
I’m a Finnish heavy metal/hard rock singer from Helsinki. I sing for the bands Dyecrest, Everfrost, Metal De Facto, Northern Seer, and Thy Row. I started singing “seriously” in 2008 when I launched my old YouTube-channel (maidenfinland), which then evolved into my current channel (SaloMikael) for vocal covers. Since then I’ve sung on various bands and projects, with the most notable increase in activity in 2017, when I finally decided to pursue my dream of becoming a full-time musician wholeheartedly.
I also sing for the acoustic side project of Metal De Facto called “Trio De Facto”, which does acoustic covers of metal songs (usually in my living room with the camera rolling). You can find our stuff from our Facebook-page and my YouTube-channel. We also toured supporting Ensiferum on their European acoustic tour back in 2018, as well as some shows in Finland.
Otherwise, some highlights of my career so far have been my military service in the Guards Band of Helsinki in 2013, as well as performing with the Slush Big Band on the main stage of the event in 2017. In 2019 I also participated as a guest musician on bands/projects such as the technical death metal band De Lirium’s Order, children’s metal band Hevisaurus and a “combining business and creative people” -project called Project Legion X.
What was the moment you realized you wanted to become a musician?
Seeing Iron Maiden for the first time in 2006 on their A Matter Of Life And Death tour. They played the whole new album, and while most people hated that decision, I loved it! It was my first Maiden record and that show definitely sealed the deal. They are my all-time favorite band, and it was my first heavy metal concert ever. We went there with family and friends, and it just lit the spark in me to become a metal musician myself!
What has been the most inspirational moment that has happened to you as a musician?
There have been many, but it would probably be my first ever show with a band of my own Northern Seer back in 2009 at Pasila Youthcenter (fun fact: apparently Ensiferum played their first show there as well). When we played the first song (which if I recall correctly was a cover of Invaders by Iron Maiden), and I saw some people in the front row really enjoying what they saw and getting in a heavy metal frenzy, that was a truly chilling moment! Even though afterwards the mixing engineer told me that my singing sucked and that I should’ve quit right there haha
Playing in several bands, what would you say the biggest challenges are in the music industry currently?
Probably becoming a financially stable and established band. It is actually quite pricey to be an indie artist at the moment. Everyone can make music with their laptops and mobile phones, so there’s more competition than ever in the market for labels’ attention (thus outside investment to your band is minimal at best, except in really rare cases). If you want merchandise, physical product, marketing, distribution, cool artwork and music videos, pristine production, good gigs, etc. You have to pay for everything or make it yourself, and this can be quite challenging and time/effort consuming. Making music in itself (regarding the tools needed) and putting it on the internet for free is, of course, easier than ever!
Is there a record or a song that changed your life as a vocalist?
There are plenty of them! If I would have to name only one right now I would pick (off the top of my head) Ayreon’s 01011001. It features several different kinds of vocal styles: from the moody delivery of Daniel Gildenlöw to the Coverdale-esque power of Jorn Lande to the majestic Queen vibes of Hansi Kürsch, all bringing something unique but equally breathtaking. The “making of” DVD that came with the album features a lot of footage from the studio of Arjen Lucassen recording the vocalists, and it was super interesting and inspiring to see! That album definitely changed my life as a vocalist.
In our newsletter, from now on we’ll include these featured artists, next to plenty of tips for you related to marketing that might help to build up your artistic career.
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