Who Is Mike Massé?
Changing career is not uncommon for many people, but public defender to full-time musician is a bigger leap than most people would choose to make. Not Mike Massé, though! He started, as many budding musicians do nowadays, by creating his own YouTube channel.
Mike Massé performed exceptional covers and arrangements of famous songs covering everything from Heroes by David Bowie to Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol. Massé performs solo and with special guests like his bass player buddy Jeff Hall. Both his incredible voice and the quality of his arrangements mean his channel now has over 300,000 subscribers.
Since then, Massé has found international fame as an artist and a highly sought-after arranger. He receives praise for keeping what is special and loved by fans of each piece and blending it masterfully with his own creativity, simplicity and unique sound. This praise does not only come from his listeners, however. He has performed a live show with members from the band Boston and sung a set of Boston’s most iconic songs. This is all the more impressive when you consider that Boston’s vocals are some of the most challenging rock vocals ever written.
Massé is not only famous in the rock sphere; his covers have received praise and adoration by their original performers, including Asia, Sarah McLachlan, and Toto. Toto has even said that his cover is their favourite of all the covers made of their hugely popular song Africa. High praise indeed! This video is, without a doubt, one of the most popular amongst his fans. To date, it has been viewed a staggering 15 million times, making it far and away his most view performance. If you’ve never seen it, you need to check it out here.
Part of its beauty is in its simplicity. It is performed simply, just Michael on the guitar accompanied by his friend Jeff on bass. The two guys are just sitting in a pizzeria performing to the crowd. Massé’s voice is so like original singers David Paich and Bobby Kimball that the hairs rise on the back of your neck when it comes to the chorus. It is impeccably performed and touches the heart of everyone who hears it – even the band.
Because this video has been shared so much, it eventually came to the attention of Toto guitarist Steve “Luke” Lukather, who exchanged emails with Massé for a while before inviting him to one of Toto’s shows. That night Massé was thrilled and honoured to meet Toto’s frontman and writer of Africa, David Paich. Massé recounts the incredible tale and three things Paich said that he will always remember: “He said, 1) Thank you for covering my song. (Can you imagine that?) He said, 2) you sing it better than we do. (Can you imagine that?!?) And then he said the thing that blew my mind the most—he said 3) whenever he has someone over to his house, he shows them our cover. CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT?!?”