Michael C.: Entertainer Extraordinaire
Style, flair, suave and debonair. Four superlatives that accurately describe entertainer extraordinaire Michael Caston professionally known as Michael C.
Michael Caston was born on the south side of Chicago, blessed with music in his soul. An Army assignment transplanted him from Chicago to Fort Carson and in Colorado his career has risen a mile high. The ultimate front-man, critics and fans have been unable to sate themselves, given the plethora of energetic, passionate, and sensual rapture of Michael C.’s vocals. With arguably one of the most engaging performance styles in the 5280, Michael C., has a stage hustle that consistently draws the audience in.
The Denver Urban Spectrum was fortunate enough to sit down and talk with the charismatic entertainer ahead of his performance at Denver’s Juneteenth Music Festival on Saturday June 15th in the historic Five Points neighborhood.
DUS: What was your initial introduction to music?
Michael C: My mother, aunt and uncle’s had a little gospel group that inspired me growing up. I used to love listening to them get together and sing.
DUS: Is that how you learned to sing?
Michael C:Yes, and no. Singing wasn’t my first love, the drums were. I remember making my first drum set from some of my mother’s pots and pans. Then at around age 12, my mom finally broke down and bought me a little cheap drum set. During my teen years I started drumming for New Friendship Baptist Church, where I got to play with legends like The Clark Sisters, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, and Rev. James Cleveland. It was a blessed experience.
DUS: How did you move from a drummer to a lead vocalist?
Michael C:Funny thing happened; I joined the Army at 18 and I ended up at Fort Carson. I was performing with groups around Colorado and before you know it somebody said, “Hey, man, your voice is pretty nice. You need to be out front.” And after stepping out front, I discovered that I liked being out front much better than lugging drums all around town. I still get down on the drums from time to time though.
DUS: How did playing the drums first influence your vocal style?
Michael C: Everything I do, you know is based off percussion and rhythm. And that’s what makes me move and groove on stage like I do and that’s why I’m known as one of the more charismatic performers here in Denver. I get on that stage and the music just moves me around.
DUS: What artists have inspired the Michael C. “groove”?
Michael C:Man, there are so many! I’m influenced by James Brown, Jackie Wilson, Marvin Gaye, and Luther [Vandross] as far as vocals. Oh and I can’t forget Prince! I’m a big Prince fan.
DUS: Seems like there is a lot of gospel, soul and R&B infused in your style?
Michael C: Yes there is, but I’ve also been in the business for about two decades and to have staying power, you have to evolve and be diverse. So I keep several genres of music in my arsenal. From classical music, blues, jazz and even some country, I feel like as an artist and entertainer you have to be real versatile in your craft.
DUS: Speaking of craft, how has your hometown [Chicago] impacted your craft?
Michael C:Chicago is home, I try to go back every summer or every other summer. Chicago allows me to reboot; it helps refocus my energy and revitalizes my musical inspiration. I get a lot of my stage swagger from the Chicago music scene. From style of dress to stage presence, they have their own unique swag. Those cats feel like they haven’t done their job if you don’t leave the show feeling like you were entertained all night. I will say that in both Denver and Chicago, there is a unique appreciation for music, art and culture. Both cities have such a loving vibe; in a simple sense, I’m just a Chicago boy here in Denver!
DUS: But your music is global?
Michael C:[Laughing] Yes, yes, it is.
DUS: Last question….what is on the horizon for Michael C?
Michael C: Whew, that’s a hard, easy question to answer, because I have a lot on the horizon. Presently I’m working on an album that I want to release next year. We have six tracks completed, so we’re a little more than halfway there. I perform quite often with the group Soul X – we do shows all over the place. I also provide entertainment for a lot of corporate gigs and high end weddings. Later this month I’ll also be on the stage at the Juneteenth Festival and I am really excited about that. The festival is always a really good time, great people and great energy. I can honestly say I’m blessed. I get to entertain for a living, which with the way I love to perform, doesn’t feel like work at all. I love my life..