Mich Straaw: Once A Struggling Dyslexic, Now A Songwriter
Mich Straaw’s sound is one we would confidently describe as love at first listen. His voice is as soothing as it is provocative and charming. We came across Mich on Soundcloud while streaming alternative Nigerian music. Fortunately, the web version of the Soundcloud app lets you share your social handles, and believe we were quick to go check him out on Instagram. We knew we had to know more about this juicy blend of Tory Lanez and Bryson Tiller. We met up for drinks and he told us his story.
Tell us a bit about your childhood, especially favorite moments.
I was born in GRA Ikeja to Urhobo parents. Technically grew up in Ikeja, moved houses a bit, in turbulent times and I attended Beehive and some other school called Morolu. I am the only child.
What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
I think Fela, but I better be politically correct. He was a bit extreme. I grew up in Ikeja; my friends and I would walk all the way across Fela’s mother’s house hoping we’d see the man himself. I admire his honesty, how he stood for something bigger than himself, his love for his mother, his higher intelligence, his belief in himself, So I stand for equally the same values.
Your sound is unique to the Nigerian mainstream music stream, is there internal or external pressure to sell out?
I will sell out. People will catch on. I believe we’re not as stupid as they make us seem. I feel the pressure to make my mum proud and that’s the only pressure I feel. She’s calm now but still needs to be convinced this works.
Navigating the Nigerian music scene as an alternative RnB artist can be quite tough. How have you been able to survive this journey?
A good bunch of friends and my mother have been supportive. God has been my rock even though I fell off my belief for a while. Adele and Ed Sheeran make up an acquired taste but they’re both huge inspirations. There’s a way for everyone; the only thing is the alternative music scene is only just kicking in, with people feeling the need to express themselves. Everyone’s searching for the next big thing like they call it. That’s not my music and I don’t do it intentionally. I’m just doing what I feel is right, and I tell my stories like I’m naked in my music. They’re all real stories; how many people in the industry can say that? But there’s art in depicting fiction correctly so don’t get me wrong, there’s no shade to those who lead at the moment.
What do you feel when you’re writing your lyrics?
I feel free; it’s like telling a friend a secret, it’s liberating.
Who are your favorite players in the game, and what is this journey teaching you?
Jay-Z, Kanye, Coldplay, Killers, Kings of Leon, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Wizkid, and soon Mich. The journey is definitely working on my patience and my trust in God. Because to be honest, sometimes it feels like not knowing if all this is worth it, but I believe that if you’re true to who you are and you keep at it, it’s only a matter of time.
What’s the next big thing for you?
Blowing up Africa. Not literally ooo. I have some music out right now. I’m going to put out another compilation; a few singles so I can compete and get on people’s lips. At least when I’m done, people will know and their children will know I was here by just listening to another person play my song.