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Launched in 2014 by journalist Sean Baker, Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

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Michael Shynes to headline Café Steam's first-ever ticketed concert

Michael Shynes to headline Café Steam's first-ever ticketed concert

This Saturday night will be a first for Café Steam as it welcomes singer-songwriter Michael Shynes for a ticketed show. 

The Minneapolis-based musician will perform original material from a songbook that encompasses R&B, pop and blues. Shynes will be joined on stage by opening act VILD (Swedish for "wild"). 

William Forsman, general manager of Café Steam, said he's noticed a drastic increase in the focus of the local arts over the past few years in Rochester. The decision to host a ticketed performance, he said, is a refection of the hard work and professionalism emerging from groups likes My Town My Music, the organizer of Saturday night's show. 

"We want to continue to see larger acts coming to Rochester and with the support that has been shown by the community so far this is becoming a much more realistic goal," Forsman told us.

Emily Nelson, aka VILD, was voted in by the public to open for Shynes. She called it an honor to perform at a place near and dear to her heart.

"This little coffee shop has played a huge role in my growth as a human being and an artist over the past several months," Nelson of Steam, which already hosts a weekly open mic night. 

We recently had the chance to catch up with Shynes, who is touring across Minnesota. Below is our interview with him.

Let's start with having you share a little about yourself and how you got into music.

I'm a songwriter, husband, father, and patriotic Minnesota sports fan. That occupies most of my time. I got into music heavily in college after getting some recording software and a computer mic from Best Buy. I fell in love with layering songs and then hearing them back. It became highly addictive to the point where I struggled to get schoolwork done.

Describe your style as a songwriter and performer.

I live in many genres from song to song, but what I always strive to be is authentic and genuine. If the performance and song doesn't possess humanity and soul, then there really is no point in doing any of it. My style is more to try and move people emotionally and cerebrally than it is to create a dance party. But that is important also for sure.

Musical inspirations?

I loved the open tunings of the Goo Goo Dolls stuff, that kind of pulled me in when I was younger. And now I really admire the John Mayer, Amos Lee, and David Gray's of the world. The guys who despite all their successes, continue to put out great music. 

What has been the highlight of your musical career?

As far as one specific thing, being on tour with Howie Day was really cool. It was the moment when I realized that I could go into an uncertain environment of people who weren't there to see me, and still hold the crowd. That was kind of when music as my calling became cemented in my mind. And from more of a macro perspective, supporting my family solely from music has been an amazing feeling. 

On your website, you say it was after your father's death that you decided to pursue a career as a songwriter. Talk about that experience.

Well I was already working towards it for sure. But it was that process of losing him that made me see how short life really was. And that any other pursuit would be a mistake. He believed in me as well. When I heard they found my CDs in his locker at work after he passed, I just kind of lost it. He was a good man, never put expectations on me as far as what he wanted me to pursue. Just loved me unconditionally. 

what can we expect at Saturday's show?

I would expect that you will leave having felt something, and possibly found something new within yourself as a result. All my stories are Midwestern small town Minnesota stories. These are my people. So I would be surprised if we haven't shared a lot of common experiences. Mostly I just want to put people at ease from their daily lives. As entertainers, the best thing we can do is help people forget about anything that might be going on outside of the venue on that given night. 

Have you performed in Rochester before?

Nope, really excited that I won't be able to say that anymore after the end of the month. And hopefully it can be a new spot for me to go as I have pockets all around the state of people who support me. 

Tickets to Saturday night's show can be purchased online for $8.

Cover photo via website / Mike Theines

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