Michelle Kaye


A swirling eddy of expert, trance-like rhythms quickly convinces that Michelle Kaye's 'Don't Disappear' will be around for a long time to come.

Michelle Kaye is a virtual chameleon when it comes to matters of genre. She’s equally at home writing a pop-inspired anthem as she is composing a classical piece. Returning to music after a long hiatus steeped in tragedy and sadness, Kaye summons an undeniable joy and enthusiasm with her smooth, mezzo-soprano vocals. In light of her background, her new single ‘Don’t Disappear’ becomes a dance floor plea to evade the heartache and devastation life may bring. Instead, Kaye entreats us to keep pushing, keep moving and keep trying, no matter what obstacles we come up against. It’s not the first time this message has been iterated in song, but it is an unquestionably convincing rendition of that timeless fight for the soul. Independent reporter Blake Wright recently caught up with Michelle to talk about her background and her hopes and expectations for the coming days.

BLAKE: When did you first get that feeling that your music career was gaining momentum?
MICHELLE: That feeling came when I won ‘Best Pop/Dance song’ from The Akademia out of Los Angeles, California. I thought, ‘Wow, now I can say that I’m an award-winning songwriter.’ It’s a great feeling to know that someone is recognizing your efforts. Also, when the news came that my song ‘Don’t Disappear’ was being aired on 5 major radio stations around the world, including Rio de Janeiro and Japan, it really hit home, and I knew that I was gaining momentum.

BLAKE: Your song ‘Don't Disappear’ is receiving a strong listener response on radio. What was your initial reaction when you first heard it played?
MICHELLE: I remember I was in my apartment, and I heard it playing and started smiling and laughing and thinking ‘Thank you, God’. Also, ha, this is the time of social media, so when I heard ‘Don’t Disappear’ playing on a Los Angeles radio station, I immediately posted it on Facebook! It’s an exciting and proud moment you want to share with your friends and family. I also sent a text to my dad. He was really happy for me.

BLAKE: What was the inspiration behind your debut radio single?
MICHELLE: ‘Don’t Disappear’ is about a time in my life when I actually ‘disappeared’ from life. I had given up on my music career, was distant with friends and family, and didn’t really know what I wanted out of life. Then I got diagnosed with type 1A breast cancer and went through the treatment alone. It was a hard time in my life. Well, I eventually got better and re-invented myself and decided to keep the faith that everything was going to be okay. I decided to let go of the fear and get out into the world. Writing this song was empowering; to be able to express what I was going through helped in the healing process as well. My wish is that other people out there struggling will feel the hope in the song too.

BLAKE: It is often said that great art arises from difficult experience. Is there something in your life experience thus far that you would describe as the ‘catalyst’ or ‘fuel’ for your desire to create music?
MICHELLE: Yes, definitely. My mother, Kaye, passed away in 2004. Before that year, I literally had not been playing my piano for the last twelve years. I decided to purchase a digital piano and started to play again. It was like therapy! All of a sudden I was creating original music out of nowhere! Losing my mom was the hardest thing I ever had to go through. I still miss her terribly, and she never knew I started to make music as my career. She was a beautiful, loving soul whom I get inspiration from on a daily basis.

BLAKE: How would you characterize yourself as a musician? (Ex. Down-to-earth, serious, fun-loving...)
MICHELLE: I think we as artists are very diverse, and it’s hard to categorize ourselves as one characteristic. I create my music from whatever mood I’m in when I go to my keyboard. So, I would characterize myself as many things: happy, positive, down-to-earth, serious—so does that make me complicated? I hope not! I think I’m more eclectic. I don’t follow trends with my wardrobe, I don’t follow trends with my songwriting and I feel comfortable going against the grain.


BLAKE: What has your experience been like working with the other people on your team?
MICHELLE: The Akademia is my team, and they are doing wonderful things for my career. They are quick to answer my questions, they’ve placed my music on the radio, and they helped get this interview. It’s been a very positive experience.

BLAKE: Did you come from a musical background? Are there other musicians in your family?
MICHELLE: Three generations of women have played piano in my family: my grandmother, my mother, and myself. I was classically trained from age 5, whereas my grandmother played by ear. I picked up on that as well—must be the genes! I’m also a percussionist, and two of my aunts played drums, as well as my mom, so, yes – it runs in the family! I feel very blessed to have been introduced to music at such a young age. My sister played the tenor saxophone in high school and was quite good! My brother, on the other hand, is more of an artist rather than a musician. He has a great eye for graphic design.

BLAKE: What do you find most rewarding about being an artist? What do you find most challenging?
MICHELLE: I love being able to sit down at my keyboard and create whatever comes to my mind. There are no limitations with music. I love that if people are exposed to my music I have the opportunity to bring them joy, positivity, comfort, healing, etc. The part that has been most challenging for me is the business side of being an artist. There is so much you have to know, and you need to have discernment as well. I read a lot of books and read articles on the internet, but you can guarantee I made phone calls to the copyright office, ASCAP, and SoundExchange for help too! For me, it was a little complicated when I first started out.

BLAKE: Who are your role models in music?
MICHELLE: Amy Grant is one of my role models. She is so sincere and honest in her songwriting. I love her devotion to singing God’s praises. She also helps out a lot in the community by giving back. Prince is another one. He is a musical genius, but also a very intelligent business man. His music has crossed over so many platforms – radio, film, theater, etc. And lastly, Level 42. They are so versatile and creative with really deep lyrics.

BLAKE: Describe your best or most memorable performance.
MICHELLE:Back in 2010, I had a concert at a mansion on Summit Hill in Saint Paul, Minnesota.  The room had a great vibe to it, and I was playing on a $150,000 Bosendorfer piano!  What could possibly go wrong?  The piano guided me through my performance, gently nudging me in the right direction with the right feeling.  It was amazing!

BLAKE: What advice would you give to young, aspiring artists out there who are unsure and need guidance?
MICHELLE: I would recommend finding a mentor. Talk with people who are making it, ask how they got where they are. Read, research, and rehearse. But most of all, keep the faith and follow your dreams!

BLAKE: What's next for you as an artist? Anything in the works? If so, what can you tell us about it?
MICHELLE:Well, my current single ‘Don’t Disappear’ is the title track from my new LP ‘Don’t Disappear’ and I’ll be promoting more music from that release. I can’t say yet which song I will be releasing next, as that will depend on my campaign strategy from The Akademia. I will say that I have found a local church and am honored to perform with the youth ministry worship team.  My hopes are to reach out to the younger generation and teach them messages about the love of Jesus Christ.  I’m looking to find a producer for my next LP that is already in the works, and am focusing on establishing a real ‘home’ for my business, Michelle Kaye Music & Productions.  In the near future, I envision touring and finding talented, God-fearing musicians to be my bandmates to help share the gospel around the world.

BLAKE: Awesome! I hope to hear your new work very soon, and I expect to hear great things about your career, too!


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