“Crazy World” is a new single by the musical artist known as Mike ½ Nelson. The song laments the current state of the world and is part of his e.p. entitled “All Are Welcome,” currently available on Apple iTunes, Amazon, and other major e-music retailers. A music video for the song can be seen here:
Mike ½ Nelson was deeply affected by the Sandy Hook school shooting, the public reemergence of racist groups, and his partner’s opioid addiction. His song and music video relay the message that it’s okay to feel and express pain. It is especially poignant for men who are typically encouraged to battle their grief in silence.
Mike recently discussed his career and new song via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): When did you first realize that you wanted to be a singer and how much did your youthful forays into theater influence that career decision?
Mike ½ Nelson (M1/2N): I first realized that I wanted to be a singer in high school. I used to ask my teachers if I could write a song instead of take an exam. Sometimes they would go for it because songwriting is kind of a rare skill. My favorite one was a song I wrote for Ray Bradbury’s ‘Fahrenheit 451.’ I wrote music my whole life, but it took me a while to feel confident to move forward with a career in music. Theater absolutely influenced and continues to influence my music. I think of the great acts that have come out of NYC like Lady Gaga and Lana Del Rey, and they are incredibly theatrical. Even Madonna is very theatrical in her live shows. It is so baked into the creative fabric of the city. I don’t think we can escape it.
MM: Was it tough to move from the Midwest to New York?
M1/2N: At the time, no. Back then, I was really just so hungry to experience life. There was so much out there that I wanted to do and see. I always wanted a life that I could look back and say “I went for it.” I was also seeking my tribe. I have always been obsessed with art movements and music scenes throughout history. I was hoping to find my DADAits, my hippies, or my punks.
MM: You have known some people with many sad and serious issues such as drug addiction and struggling amid the sex trade. How did their stories influence your music and what was their reaction to being your muse?
M1/2N: My ex-boyfriend and I don’t talk any more, I remember I would play him a song to see if he liked it and he was so strung out he would be like “is that Prince?” I would go, “how are you getting Prince from this?” I’m sure he would be very flattered that he inspired my music. It wasn’t until I got enough distance from the relationship that I could really write about it. I describe that period of time as a point in my life where I would compartmentalize all of the emotionally difficult situations into a part of my mind that I didn’t want to deal with. Then when that compartment would become so full that I couldn’t hold anything more in there, the dam would break and out would come the music.
MM: Your partner struggled with opioid addiction, so did your creativity help you cope with that?
M1/2N: Absolutely. Honestly, seeing someone wrestle with an addiction is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done in my whole life. There is just nothing you can do to help them. Writing music is a form of prayer. It’s really helpful in processing complex emotions. I remember when I was going through some of the hardest moments of my life, someone suggested that I hum to myself because the vibrations can change you.
MM: Do you write all of your own lyrics and melodies?
M1/2N: Yes. My living space is constantly littered with loose papers with new song ideas. The voice memos app on my phone is full of melody ideas.
MM: What is your favorite song on the upcoming e.p. and why?
M1/2N: My favorite song is “Strong Heart” because it’s the most fun to sing.
MM: Who came up with the concept for the Crazy World music video?
M1/2N: I told the director, Max Richardson, that I wanted to do something with a “Fight Club” feel. Max came up with all of the rest of it. We got it all shot in one day. I am really happy with it.
MM: Did you film it during the pandemic?
M1/2N: No, we were able to get it shot pre pandemic. My hair is a lot longer now.
MM: What has been the best thing about working in the music industry?
M1/2N: I love that you will always meet interesting people along the way. I love other artists so much. I feel such a sense of camaraderie with other artists, especially when they’re songwriters.
MM: What projects are coming up for you soon and is there anything else that you would like to mention?
M1/2N: I have a few more EPs that I’m working on right now. One is an EP of cover songs and another is all new music.
Follow Mike ½ Nelson on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @ mikehalfnelson