Better Late Than Never: Interview with Music Artist Michael Fairman

Better Late
“Better Late Than Never” is a new single by singer Michael Fairman; the song promotes the merits of keeping your dreams alive.

“Better Late Than Never” is a new single by singer Michael Fairman.  It promotes a simple yet powerful message: if you believe, you can achieve. Michael, who identifies as middle-aged, is older than many artists who enter into the music scene and for years, he struggled with feelings of having missed his chance at attaining his music dreams. “Better Late Than Never” is a soulful groove song that combines classic R&B harmonies and Pop to celebrate his victory over self-doubt and naysayers.

The song has an appeal that has special relevance as the world prepares for the Olympic games.  It reminds listeners that sometimes, in order to reach one’s goal, you must first endure heartache, pain, negativity, and disappointment. Many of Michael’s songs comment on the harsh realities of the human condition but they also offer positive and encouraging messages of inspiration that make listeners feel less alone.

Michael grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and released his first recordings through a small label in Chicago when he was a teenager before moving to Los Angeles— and then to New York—to pursue his career as a recording artist. He formed a band and played gigs, but true success never came. As a result, Michael settled in Los Angeles where he began a career in TV Production and entertainment journalism. Now, he’s taking another shot at music.

Michael recently discussed his career and more via an exclusive interview.

Meagan Meehan (MM): When did you first realize that you wanted to be a singer and how did you break into the industry?

Michael Fairman (MF): I knew from the time I was very young.  I used to sing in my bedroom as a little boy – I would put on my favorite songs and perform them. It was something I was good at, and it was my way of escaping an often-tough childhood by getting into the music.  My first time ‘breaking” into the industry was actually at 12-years-old when I had my first record out on an independent record label out of Chicago. Fast-forward in my 20’s, I was doing music full-time: performing in clubs in New York City, writing and recording, and I had developed a following.  By my early 30’s, I left the industry after becoming frustrated with the ups and downs that came with it. Decades later, I decided it’s time to try to have that “break” … “Better Late Than Never”, right?

MM: What typically comes to you first, the lyrics of a song or it’s melody?

MF: That actually depends.  Many times, I know the theme or the genesis of an idea of the message I want to say in my songs.  Other times, a chord progression will develop the melody and the lyrics follow. Songwriting is like a puzzle, how best do I get all the pieces to fit … the melody … the lyrics … and how can you say something differently in your track, that may not have been sung or said that way somewhere, previously.

MM: Why did you have so much trouble breaking into the music scene years ago? Why is now different?

Better LateMF: Years ago, the music scene was all about performing in showcases at various music venues and nightclubs and getting the major label A&R reps to attend the show and if they don’t show up, you had no way to be “discovered”.  Also, at the time I was very much a ‘blue-eyed ‘soul singer in the vein of George Michael, and when I would play my demos for the labels, they often compared me, which was a tremendous compliment, because George was my absolute favorite vocalist and such a soulful songwriter, but a double-edged sword because there was already a “George”, he had made it first.  Everyone would then tell me I should go to England as they would appreciate my sound more than they would in the States.  I think it was a confluence of things at that time that made it difficult, plus as driven as a person I am, there were just so many disappointments that it weighed on me – almost getting the lucrative deal, and then not, etc.  It was always a rollercoaster ride trying to be a pop and R&B artist, who was white back in the 80’s and early 90’s. I often played and performed what back then was labeled as a “black” club.  I kind of felt I had no “home” for my sound.  Now, we live in the digital age … where artists can be heard all over the world and can have their music distributed on streaming platforms – it’s not all about the record labels and waiting for someone to show up and be the Svengali to your career. Also, now I am much more prepared for the ups and downs of the music business then I was 30 years ago that I can look at it from a different vantage point.

MM: You have a career in television production, so does that influence your creativity at all?

MF: Great question. In TV production, and as a “producer” (although that term can vary from show to show or project to project), it is your job to bring all the elements together to bring the vision of the project to life – from how is it going to be shot, the script, the cast, the crew, the editing, the final look and feel and sound of it.  One of the strongest qualities I bring to my music and its production is that attention to detail – how the vocals sound, what kind of harmonies, where certain bass and synth sounds and their audio level should be placed within the song, and to have the right team around me to deliver in terms of the musicality I want to put forth into the universe that has my name on it.  So, yes, the fine-tuning and the overall vision from my experience in TV production has definitely come in handy when going back into the music industry again.  And yes, I am a perfectionist on my work – whether it be in music, TV or journalism, and that can be a good thing when creating, and a bad thing for others you work with, who just want to be done with the project and move on when you’re still trying to improve it.  As I have learned the hard way, sometimes you just have to let it go, say your prayers, and hope that people will love your work, or your track, and if they don’t, try to assess why … and then it’s on to the next.  Not easy to do.

MM: What inspired the theme of the music video and how long did it take to film?

MF: We actually have not completed production on the music video just quite yet, because my director got stuck in London, England where they were recently hit hard by the Delta Variant and full Covid travel restrictions and more are set to be lifted in the U.K. on July 19th.  He is heading back to the States and Los Angeles in late July, and if all goes well and there are no more delays, we should be back at it in August.  In the meantime, I have released several video teasers to promote “Better Late Than Never” that I hope fans will enjoy. The teasers were shot actually in a day, and I wanted the analogy of time, and what better way to illustrate that, then various types of clocks from the digital to the roman numeric, to the traditional, to the funky types, as a way we look at minutes and hours.  We are all in a race against time to accomplish what we want for ourselves in life and at love, and we aren’t here on this earth for an infinite amount of time, so in the teasers, it sends a visceral message of what my new song is all about.

MM: What was it like to write music through the Covid lockdown?

MF: In one way it was amazing, because those outside factors in one’s life were so limited.  You couldn’t go anywhere, you couldn’t meet up with your friends, you couldn’t go to the gym, and you couldn’t just go jam with your musician friends and create music in a room or studio, either. It forced you to have to be very disciplined and sit-down with yourself and write and create music, especially knowing that if you didn’t, you would be way behind the eight-ball, when the restrictions were lifted.  Artists were using this time to write new songs, since they could not go on tour or perform anywhere.  And as for Taylor Swift, well, she said the bar, didn’t she? She came out with not one, but two albums during the pandemic, putting all of us to shame!  On the flipside, I learned new recording processes and upped my game technically during Covid, because I had to figure out how I was going to record, “Better Late Than Never”.  It was all done remotely without ever stepping foot into a recording studio, and to me, you can’t tell the difference. At first, I was concerned it would sound different, but my co-producer, Kyle Mangels, helped prove me wrong.

Better LateMM: What has been the best thing about working in the music industry so far?

MF: Just to be able to sing and be heard again and put out music.  It’s been so freeing.  For years, I had felt I stuffed this so far down into my soul, and never let those who knew me ‘one-way’ as a producer, or a journalist, or host, know that I also have this talent, and that I had wanted to share this part of me, too.

MM: What projects are coming up for you soon and is there anything else that you would like to discuss?

MF: Now that everything is opening back up with the loosening of Covid restrictions, I am busy working on the next few tracks, hoping to deliver a livestream performance, while continuing to put all sorts of content from music, to interviews, to virtual game shows and such on my You Tube Channel, The Michael Fairman Channel, that I hope people will check out, along with hitting up my Spotify, and showing some love to “Better Late Than Never”. I think it’s such a great groove song for the summer of 2021, and isn’t it time we all get our groove back after 15 months of lockdown


Michael Fairman’s “Better Late Than Never” is being distributed independently and is available on Apple Music and Spotify.  Follow Michael Fairman on TwitterInstagramFacebook, and YouTube.