Appearing on American Idol is easy. Having a blossoming career in music after the fact, now that’s difficult.
Since American Idol’s US debut 10 years ago, only a handful of singers have been able to use the show’s exposure to successfully launch their own solo music careers.
Season eight standout Michael Lynche, who finished in fourth place that year, is on his way to cementing his place in the musical scene.
Last month, Michael Lynche, who also goes by Big Mike, released his self-titled debut album to mostly stellar reviews. The album is packed with a number of memorable, soulful songs, including the LP’s outstanding first single, “Who’s Gonna Love You More.”
It’s an exciting time for Michael, which is why we were ecstatic that we were able to kick it with the singer. Big Mike talked with us about his new album, his crazy weight loss (maybe we shouldn’t be calling him Big Mike anymore!), the addition of Mariah Carey to American Idol, and who really should have won last season’s contest.
Check it out below!
GlobalGrind: Talk about your self-titled debut album.
Michael Lynche: I’m really, really proud of it, man. We worked on it for a long time, just trying to get it right, re-writing some songs and doing reproduction on songs and re-mixing songs, just trying to get it to that perfect version for the fans. I really want it to be something that is as creative as possible, so that people can be interested and have something really fun to listen to. I feel like we were able to accomplish that.
Do you record in bulk and trim away the fat, or do you just record one song at a time and keep fixing that song until it’s perfect?
We just keep going back to it. You do a song, recording whatever versions that it is you’re feeling at that time, and then, what I would do is, go on to the next song, and then go back to that song, whether it’s days later or weeks later or a month later, just go back to it, make sure it’s as good as when you first did it, that it still hits you the same way.
We just didn’t want to leave any stones unturned. I’m happy my label really supported me in doing that.
When you say 'support you,' do you mean that they just kind of let you do your thing?
Yeah, man. There were no restrictions on making the record. They supported me by making the record I wanted to make, sounding how I wanted to sound.
Do you prefer the creative process or do you prefer performing in front of people?
I love it all, but my favorite thing is always performing. That’s what I grew up doing — done that all of my life, so I’m used to that. But I love crafting the songs and spending that time in when nobody sees you working late night in the studio.
Other than the music, the other interesting aspect of you is the fact that you lost — what is it, 90 pounds?
Yeah, man. I’ve been on a hardcore diet and workout since November, and at this point, I lost 90 pounds… just working out — two workouts a day. It’s always harder when you’re on the road, but I just try to stick to my plans.
What made you want to lose the weight?
Having kids and just needing to make a change. I spent so long in the studio, working on the record, my wife was pregnant with our second child — just like, eating whatever. We just went crazy, man. It was time to make a change. I think that preventive maintenance is one of the keys to life, so I want to prepare for my old age and be in good shape.
What’s some advice you would give to someone who wants to lost weight?
It’s all about the temptation. What we did is we get all of the junk food out of the house. My wife was on the diet with me, which was crazy because she’s normally just a hundred pounds. But she wanted to lose the baby weight quick, so she was on the diet with me. And we just didn’t have any temptation in the house. We tried not to go to restaurants that would be tempting, unless you’re on your cheat day. I just try to stay disciplined by not having the temptation in my face, because it’s hard to be on a diet. There’s so much great food out there.
Do you remember the last time you kind of just pigged out?
Of course! Sundays usually are my cheat days. I’ll have lasagna or I’ll have macaroni and cheese and fried chicken. Whatever it is I’ve been craving throughout the week, that’s what I try to do on my cheat day. And, what you realize is, when you’re dieting all week, and it becomes like a part of your life, you don’t necessarily pig out like you used to.
It's been two years since your American Idol experience. What do you want to say about it?
I had an amazing time on American Idol, and it was life changing. It’s given me the opportunity to make this record two years later. And it’s always interesting when I think about the time that’s passed, because it doesn’t seem like it was that long ago. But it was just an amazing time in my life to learn so much.
Do you ever wonder how things would be different if you had won?
Not really. I don’t really live in that world of what could have been of anything. I always just try to live right now. It’s pointless to should’ve, would’ve, could’ve your life. I thought I did well. I ended up at the number four spot and that was the lowest that I wanted to go to, so I accomplished a lot on the show. And like I said, it afforded me the opportunity to make this record now, and make music for a living full time. I can’t ask for too much more.
What do you think of the addition of Mariah Carey?
Amazing, man. It’s a homerun.
It's a shame J.Lo won't be back.
She was amazing. I thought it was interesting that she decided she was going to leave the show. But you see what it did for her career. It made her so relevant again. It really took her career back to where it’s been before. I don’t think Mariah Carey necessarily needs a career boost — it’s Mariah Carey — but she’s going to lift the notoriety of the show to an amazingly high level. Still, remember, the show is still one of the number one shows on television in the world. The show is kinda reinventing itself with boosting the judges’ careers. You know, Steven Tyler is getting ready to get back out. People are excited about Aerosmith again. Jennifer Lopez is touring like crazy. You see what it’s doing for these more established, veteran performers.
If it was up to you, who would you pick for the other judge seats?
I don’t know, man. Even Mariah Carey, you’re just like, where else can you go? They’ll probably do something a little unexpected, a little edgy. I always thought that former Idols would make amazing judges on the show. You been there. You know it. You see it differently. You’re also probably going to be a little bit harder on the kids because you’ve been through it and you know what it takes to win.
If you were a judge last year whom would you have picked to win?
Jessica. She was my pick from the beginning. And to see her get to the number two spot — I thought in the finale she cleaned the floor. It’s interesting, you see her and you also see that Mariah Carey effect again, that little girl with that big voice. Jessica Sanchez was my pick last year. I thought by far she was the best singer on the show, and only 16, man.