Saturday, September 20, 2008

So Who is Michael Johns? (Part Three)


In this segment, we continue our journey with Michael Johns (formerly known as Michael Lee) while he was lead singer for newly formed group The Rising. They wrote and recorded their debut album and perfected the level of excellence they expected before taking their tour nation wide.

The band was well on its way to the stardom all of them should now be enjoying. They performed on The Rock Boat, and were featured on The Sharon Osbourne Show, a nationally sydicated television program. Ozzy's wife is well known for having good taste, and knows exceptional talent when she sees it.

In 2003, the group performed an outstanding acoustical set at the opening of a Los Angeles Apple Store. Thankfully, that event was recorded and has been released for download as The Rising - Live At The Apple Store, EP. Clicking on the link above will take you directly to the EP, which can be heard on

Taking their music on the road, the group was determined to put everything that they had into their live performances. It wasn't enough to play for the fans, they wanted the audience to feel the emotion that went into writing the songs.

Groups of this calibre and uncompromising stardards are rarely found any more. Legendary bands whose music survives even now and spans decades, practiced that same gift when they performed. Inexplicably, they somehow knew what it took to connect with their audience.

Though The Rising as a band is no longer together, we are left with their stellar performances. It seems I'm not the only writer to accuse this singer and fellow musicians of evoking in us, emotions unbidden. While researching former band members for this piece, I ran across yet another writer who noticed Michael's gift of expressing the feeling that went into the artists rendition of the music.

In a blog posted at former Rising guitartist Kevin Haaland's music website, I found the following excerpt from an article by Sona Soob.

Live Review - The Rising @ The Roxy
The Rising- Live Review
Category: Music

The band took the stage with sophistication and proved they could win over a Los Angeles crowd. The lyrics are heart felt and moving as the emotions can be heard seeping out in every note Michael sings. Down to the blood that was on Kevin's fingers after the set, this band truly believes in the power of music and it comes across in their performances. Michael Lee once said he wants to create the kind of music "that puts you in a trance". This band indeed creates timeless music which will carry you away into a different world.

- excerpt from a article by Sona Sood.
You would think with the rave reviews like the one above, just landing a "Major" label contract with Maverick Records and playing brilliantly should assure the band's successful future. Most people believe that's all it takes to succeed in the music world. Just get yourself a major label record deal and play extraordinarily well in front of your audience. The equation sounds simple enough. Massive talent + Major label = Superstardom.

In my opinion, this talent's rise to fame was a certainty, had the "Major" label offered its stars proper marketing, a.k.a. promotion. The Rising recorded thirty five songs while with this "Major" label. Eleven of those magnificent tunes ended up on its debut album.

One has to wonder, what happened to the other twenty four songs that were done? What motive might a record label have for signing a band, and then do nothing in marketing to assure that talent's success? It's no wonder record labels are folding right and left, while more and more biz savvy artists choose to go independent. (Indie)

Michael Johns and Rick Beato co-produced the debut CD The Rising - Future Unknown. This album enjoys five star reviews at such sites as and iTunes, and it's some of the best down to earth rock music that I've ever heard. A number of songs from the album got national radio play while the band toured.

The five stars on this album should be reaping the rewards of their five star performances, but here's what happened instead. The "Major" label that was to release the CD on September 16, 2003 originally, withheld release of the album until Michael Johns became well known as a finalist on American Idol. That's when the label decided to put the CD on iTunes and cash in on Michael Johns' success.

Someone at that label should be questioning their own intuition as to what talents they should be marketing. Five years of potential album sales have already been lost to the label and the artists. Whoever's judgment the label relied upon at the time, apparently had no clue of the magnitude of this band's superstar potential.

Being trusted to decide what to market or withhold from the public should be left to someone with a better sense of what true music lovers want to hear. That ineptitude led to the label passing up millions in sales, all because someone there was unable to recognize what they already had signed to their label. Not a good trait to have in the music business, in my opinion.

Thankfully, Michael Johns' story doesn't end here. The live EP and full length CD can be heard by clicking on the named releases listed above. Videos of the band performing at the opening of the Apple Store are available and will be posted for your viewing pleasure on our website in the near future. In the meantime, please enjoy the video "Cradle" by The Rising. A song from the album, "Future Unknown".


Jas said...

nicely put U1 :)

Maja said...

Great writings Ultimat1!

No wonder Michael decided to go independent for his solo album.