Gavin Mikhail is the most honest performer I've ever heard. His honesty, integrity, belief in himself, his faith in life and humankind, and his directness of speech continues to amaze and impress me every time I listen to him.
Gavin is not the World's Best Singer. (Should that award go to Jessye Norman? Ian Bostridge? Barbara Bonney? Joan Sutherland?) He is not the World's Best Pianist. (My vote goes to Julius Drake, Malcolm Martineau or James Rhodes.) But he IS the best contemporary singer/songwriter I've encountered in terms of delivering and selling a song that he truly believes in.
When you listen to Gavin Mikhail, you know that he means every single word he's singing to you. It's like a conversation that gradually unfolds, letting you in on little secrets and confidences, revealing an often raw history, and always leaving you uplifted about his hope and faith. Let me give you an example before my mouth runs away with me.
BRAVE, by Gavin Mikhail (excerpt)
I am not as brave,
beautiful, and patient
as you are, but
I am safe
in your arms; I listen
as you say: "I'm proud of
who you've become,
and the person you will be
tomorrow. And I know
I would give anything up
I'll follow through.
I promise to hold on.
I'll never let
go, won't let you down.
If you can stay proud,
I'll be brave somehow.
Help me understand the reasons why I'm here...
Now living a feeling like my fear
I'm outside of this life, I am here
Now, for you...
This slow acoustic version is really beautiful, but I actually like the really rockin' up tempo version that Gavin does of this song. Same song, just rearranged for a different feel entirely. The message is still the same. It's so deeply personal. Hope I'm not getting the lyrics wrong. I'm just listening and typing as I go... That plan may be flawed.
This next one is my FAVOURITE, contrary to what my Last.FM page thinks. If my Last.FM page knew how many times I'd played this song in my car, it'd change its mind...
CATCH YOUR FALL, by Gavin Mihail (excerpt)
I know, for you, it must be painful
to carry the way you do;
though I can't be you, I see through
your silent, feigned indifference, gets you by
and though I'm trying,
I can't tell you when we'll fly --
just know: I care, I'll lift you up to see,
see where I will always be,
be there any time you call,
and I will take us back in to
a life of more than we've been through
beyond the lengths that we went to,
to be here, after all.
And though we sometimes stumble
and you're scared,
I'm always there to catch your fall.
I will be there to catch your fall
Still counting down the days 'til
We will finally arrive but I am
Here now, you are safe now,
I know we're okay now - we'll survive
I really love that one. I much prefer the Strings mix to the regular single, too. What's with me liking all the alternate versions? Something fishy going on there...
ONE OF THESE DAYS, by Gavin Mikhail (excerpt)
Is it time to rise above this?
Is it time to move beyond the choice I made
And say, I can love this
What if I wait around for forever?
Holding onto the hope
that there's something more for me?
Would I waste whatever's left of this life
Living for things I think I need?
But what did I ever do
To make you make my life so complicated?
I hate it.
I wish you wouldn't do those things you do.
So give me what belongs to me,
And spare me all the sympathy you use
To hold me down and keep me tied.
One day, you'll see me rise...
Sneakily, I have played you songs that are ALL available for FREE on Gavin's website. So if you like them, go and download them! Listen to the man. Then do what I did, and buy the albums. He's a top bloke.
Follow him on Twitter.
Stalk him on Facebook.
Listen to him on MySpace.
Download him at his website.
I wonder where you are?
I wonder what you need...
Wonder why you mean so much to me
And, after all this time,
I still can't understand why
You say you're never coming back for me...