Jason Singer, who performs under the name Michigander, is a powerful songwriter and storyteller. The Nashville transplant released his EP, It Will Never Be The Same, last week on C3 Records and is currently on tour across the country.
Since debuting in 2014 to the Indie music scene, Singer has racked up over 50 million music streams worldwide. He has also toured extensively throughout the US and played some of the biggest festivals in the country including Shaky Knees, Summerfest and Lollapalooza.
We caught up with Singer to talk about life after breaking his leg, his favorite haunts in his new city, his new EP and why Lollapalooza was such an important performance for him.
How’s your leg?
I’m walking. I’m feeling good. It’s a little stiff sometimes, but I do physical therapy stretches that they gave me. They said it could be swollen still for, like, a year, which is crazy.
I’m glad you’re up and about and able to tour again.
Yeah, I’m very excited to hit the road again.
Are there any cities on the upcoming tour you’re looking forward to?
I love Portland a lot. Portland is great. New York is always a good time. You know, we’re playing Phoenix and I haven’t spent a lot of time in Phoenix, so I’m excited to go there. I’m excited and I’m really excited to play the Nashville Show at the end, too.
Anything in Portland you like to do? I mean, I love a Voodoo Donut.
That’s the classic, right? There’s a coffee place that is a cafe that I love called Proud Mary. They’re from Australia, but they roast their coffee in Portland now. They’re super good. It’s Australian-style food and coffee. They have their normal coffee and then they have pour-overs for like $13. That sounds crazy. I have to try it. There’s also a sushi place I love. It’s a hole in the wall. Miyamoto.
Let’s talk about your new EP that’s coming out, It Will Never Be The Same. What can fans expect from the new music?
I kind of went into this project with the phrase “leveling up”, trying to be better than I was before, consciously trying to figure out how to make a better record than I’ve made before. I started making this in 2020, which is a long time ago now, it seems like it at least. There’s been a lot of work that’s gone into it. It’s been recorded two or three times. This is the final version, what’s being put out.
I’m someone that doesn’t really like to sit still and fix my work, but this time I kind of like, dialed in the tones and the parts, made sure everything was played well and the best that I could do. So, I’m hoping it’s my best work. This is my fourth and final EP. After this it’ll be a record, a full-length album, so I’m hoping this is the perfect bookend or the beautiful cherry and whipped cream on top of the EP season of my life.
I know you wrote “Indianapolis” when you were dating your now-wife and I’m kind of biased because I live near Indy, but what are some specific memories about that city or that song that you can talk to us about?
Living in Michigan and being a touring band in the Midwest, Indianapolis is a place we always went to play because it was close and it was cool. It’s just a cool city. It’s kind of an underrated city. There’s so much good coffee, food, great venues and people care about music there, which is cool. It’s a place that I really, really love. It was halfway between where I lived in Michigan at the time and where Britney lived. We both live in Nashville now.
The other song that kind of jumped out at me on the record was “Cannonball”. I feel like this EP is more upbeat, more indie pop than you’ve done before. What’s the story behind it?
The story is like the first real happy love song that I’ve ever written. I wrote it with Chris Carrabba from Dashboard Confessional and Sam Tinnesz, who’s another writer here in town, and a guy named Seth Mosely, who’s a producer.
We got in a room one afternoon and I had this idea for that chorus, and it originally sounded like a folk song, you know, like stomp your boot kind of song, but then we changed it to this kind of vibe. It’s the first real, conscious, happy love song I wrote, that hopefully a lot of people can relate to and sing along to. That’s one of the most exciting songs for me. I just think it’s so fun to hear and different for me.
What’s your perfect day in Nashville look like?
Ooh, that’s a good question. Wow, man, I’d wake up pretty early and it would not be a weekend because it’s too crowded here on the weekends. It’d be a Tuesday morning. I would go out to breakfast and I’d probably go to Stay Golden, which is a coffee shop/restaurant by my house.
I probably would go there at like 8:15 a.m. and then I would go home and make music for a while or respond to emails and all that. And then I would go out to lunch to a different cafe called dose and I would get the turkey pesto sandwich, which I might actually do today.
I would go to Grimey’s and get some records. Then I would chill for the afternoon, come home and then go out for dinner. In this dream world, I would probably go to Rolf and Daughters for dinner because it’s like an Italian place that’s very, very good and then I’d cap it off with Jeni’s ice cream.
And then you could do some music at The Basement.
What are your must have items on tour?
I have these little travel packing cubes that I put all my clothes in, so I can fit everything into my suitcase.
I have a noise machine that I use. I bring two water bottles, one smaller one and one larger one so I always have water. Nectar, which are these hydration things that you put in water. I don’t really travel without those much anymore. I bring my iPad so I can watch movies and catch up on television shows.
Anything good you’re watching?
I’m watching Last of Us. I just finished season one of White Lotus. I would like to watch season two. I would like to watch Narcos.
Those are the things I must travel with. I also carry a copious amount of headphone options. I like my AirPods, but I also have some over ear headphones and wired headphones, too, because you never know when you might need them.
I have a Theragun, which is a massage gun I always bring for my legs, arms and my back because it’s super comfy. I usually bring too many pairs of shoes, but I’m going to not do that this tour.
You’re from Michigan originally, obviously. Are there any off the beaten path places in Michigan you would want people to visit?
Yeah. I’m all about restaurants. There’s a restaurant in Detroit called Mi Pueblo. It’s in Mexican town and it has the best tacos. Not a lot of people know about it, so hopefully people will go there after reading this. There’s a coffee shop in Midland, Michigan called Creation Coffee that my friends own. I love it. I think they’re really great. There’s this hot chicken place in Grand Rapids Hancock that is very, very good.
How does it compare to Hattie B’s in Nashville?
It’s not the same, but they got their own little thing going and it’s good.
I’m a photographer and I think the last time I saw you was at Lollapalooza.
Oh, wow. That was the coolest day of my life. As a Midwest kid, that’s kind of like the pinnacle of festivals in our area. It’s been around forever and I’ve watched videos and seen all my favorite bands play it and then I got to play it. There were like 8000 people there or something crazy for our set, which I was not expecting. It was just super cool. I wasn’t expecting more than a couple hundred people there to see us. It was special. I cried when I got off stage.