Michael Fairman Is a Late Bloomer in Pop Music...
...But His Emergence is “Better Late Than Never”
Music has always been a passion and first love for Michael Fairman. As a teen, he released his first recordings through a small label in Chicago. After high school, he moved to New York, formed a band, performed in clubs, recorded, and tried to get the A&R reps from the record labels to come out to his showcases.
They seldom came and the rejection and the financial drain eventually convinced Fairman he needed a change. He put music on hold, moved to Los Angeles, and launched his successful daytime soaps news site.
But he never gave up on his dream for pop stardom. “The time wasn’t right (back then), but that doesn’t mean I can’t try again,” Michael Fairman says today. This week, he releases his new single, “Better Late Than Never”; a song with a simple yet profound if you believe, you can achieve message.
“I am told multiple times a week that this is a pipe dream, but I don’t let it stop me,” he continues, arguing that his life experience has made him more confident in his craft as a singer-songwriter. He knows his strengths and weaknesses, and what it takes to deliver a potential hit song. Above all, he’s proud to represent the boomer generation.
We spoke with Michael Fairman from his Los Angeles home.
Why is there such an emphasis on youth in the music industry?
Michael Fairman: There are a few key factors: major labels want a sure-fire success if they are going to spend millions backing an artist’s career - they also believe that a pop star is over-the-hill at 25. So, think of how short that lifespan can be for some, and they want to make money and get their investment back. They also know that the people listening and consuming pop/R&B/Dance music are by and large, a younger demographic, and finally social media and the optics of the number of followers reflected there, are also a huge way to sell artists and their product to the younger demo who are all on Instagram, TikTok, etc.
This is all a huge challenge for an artist like myself, who does not fit into this category, but maybe with the right push, I could just be the “cool” older guy the younger demo and the label could get behind. It’s a mountain to climb for sure… but one can dream, can’t they? That’s why it’s so important that artists of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and age can self-publish their music on streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music, so they can be potentially heard, if not being able to be given a chance to be in front of the masses any other way.
Do you think sex appeal plays a factor? The labels love to promote young, attractive singers like Shawn Mendes.
Michael Fairman: 100%. Sex sells, and we live in the age of Instagram and social media, where everything is visual. Labels know this. Shawn Mendes, who is one of my favorite artists, is an anomaly in that, not only is he good-looking, but he is actually an amazing singer, performer, musician, and songwriter. So many young singers aren’t the complete package that Shawn is. It can be frustrating as an older artist, when seeing some singers get their big break when often times the talent is not there to back-it up, but they have a built-in following on IG which can be deemed lucrative to the labels.
Are young audiences unwilling to entertain the idea of boomers making great music?
Michael Fairman: They are to an extent, but that is because of what the major labels and pop radio are feeding to the 18 to 25-year-old key demo for music sales and digital streams. Obviously, young audiences identify with artists and bands that are closer to their age. However, I cannot tell you how many younger music listeners I know or have spoken to, who also appreciate some of the great artists who are in my generation. Most importantly: music you should listen to and when you hear my voice, for instance, you can’t tell how old I am. So, radio and labels should also think about how a hit song is a hit song no matter where it comes from. It should not be defined by the numbers attached to your birth date.
Could it be that boomers are simply not hungry enough or willing to do the work and live the lifestyle of an up-and-coming pop star?
Michael Fairman: I don’t believe that, in total. I think those artists who became boomers and had success early on, may not want to deal with the hustle later in their lives, because financially, they don’t have to. On the flipside, for emerging artists like me, who are just trying to be heard and get their music to the mainstream and garner more exposure … I am here for it. I am willing to do what it takes and have the work ethic and the confidence to see this through. If I fail and my musical efforts fall flat, at least I did not let my age define me. We live in a very ageist society, and I hope I can be someone who can buck this systemic issue and make some inroads for people who still have dreams to fulfill, even later in their lives.
Why should listeners lend their ears to “Better Late Than Never”?
Michael Fairman: I love a good groove song, and this one has that vibe as was its intention. “Better Late Than Never” is a catchy song for the summer that I believe you can sing to, hum to, dance to, or lay at the beach to. And its message is for everyone of all ages, whether it be at love, or in life. If you have one last chance to make things right with the one who has your heart, or one last shot at something you want so badly in your personal or professional life, isn’t it better to go for it then live in a world of regret and never know? This song will give you the courage to walk through the fire so you can find out the outcome.
Follow Michael Fairman on Instagram.