Story by Alan Sculley
Jason Singer endured a long journey before seeing the March 31 release date arrive for his latest EP, “It Will Never Be The Same.”
Singer, who records under the name Michigander (a nod to his home state), was heading full steam toward an Oct. 7, 2022 release of the EP when the proverbial rug was pulled out from under him. To be fully accurate, it was his feet that were pulled out from under him. During filming a video in the mountains near Los Angeles for the song “Superglue,” Michigander slipped and fell, breaking his leg in three places.
Michigander was understandably pained, both by his leg and the rehab he faced -- and by having to put the “It Will Never Be The Same” EP on hold and cancel a fall 2022 tour. But today, his leg has healed, he’s starting a spring tour to promote the EP and he’s thinking the delay may have worked out for the better.
“I think time will tell, obviously. But I’m kind of in the mindset where I think this may have been somewhat beneficial, a blessing in disguise in certain ways,” Michigander said in a recent phone interview. “I think that because it got postponed and more people kind of heard about my music via the story of me breaking my leg, I kind of got some peoples’ attention. Who’s this guy with the broken leg and he had to postpone his whole tour. I think people kind of felt a little bad for me, which is nice, I guess. But you know, this tour is the best selling tour I’ve ever done by like a long shot. And that is weird and cool.”
Michigander can appreciate the numbers his tour is doing because it’s been a lengthy slog to reach this point. He made his first mark in 2016, when he posted his original song “Nineties,” to social media, and saw it catch on. The song’s notoriety enabled him to begin getting shows beyond his home state.
Over the next five years, he released three EPs, expanded his touring radius to include most major markets in the states and racked up millions of streams and reached the top 10 on Triple A radio with the singles “Misery,” “Let Down” and “Better,” all while earning praise from various magazines and websites for his infectious, finely crafted brand of rocking pop.
It nearly became four EPs over those next five years, as Michigander recorded a first version of “It Will Never Be The Same” in 2021.
“It was a little different, like one or two different songs, and I thought I had it done,” he said. “There’s like an alternate version of this record that exists somewhere on a hard drive.”
But as he continued to write songs, Michigander started to think about revisiting the fourth EP. And when he was put in contact with producer Tony Hoffer (whose credits include Beck, Silversun Pickups, the Fratellis and Depeche Mode), Michigander shelved the earlier version of “It Will Never Be The Same” in favor of a new recording.
Hoffer helped Michigander take the material for “It Will Never Be The Same” to a new level during a recording session at Sunset Sound Studios in Los Angeles in February 2022.
“Working with him was really cool. He’s very intricate and very detail oriented and I am definitely not that at all,” Michigander said. “I think there are probably less tracks, like less instrumentation (than on the earlier EPs), but the instrumentation that exists was really thought out and it shines.”
Fans who see Singer and his long-time trio of touring musicians -- Aaron Senor (drums), Jake LeMond (guitar) and Connor Robertson (bass) – this summer and fall will hear most, and maybe all six songs from the excellent new EP played live. The new material includes the melodic gems “Superglue” (a chiming, full-bodied tune), “In My Head,” (a driving rocker co-written with Manchester Orchestra), “Stay Out of It” (a shimmery pure pop track) and “The Other Way” (which boasts a particularly catchy chorus).
And with four EPs and several singles in his catalog, Michigander feels he can now construct a consistently satisfying career-spanning set list for the concerts.
“I am so stoked about the set list now because I’m at a point where I don’t have to play the duds,” he said. “When I’m making music, from the very beginning, I tried to think ‘Will this work at a show?’ And there are some songs that don’t work live. As any artist, there are some songs that just don’t hit. But now I think we’re at a point where we can play an hour and 15 or an hour and a half and play all of the songs that I deem are good enough.
“I’ve never been to that point, and it feels pretty cool,” Michigander concluded.