Michael Grubbs is racking up the travel miles. The musician – best known for his recurring cameo appearances on the teen drama One Tree Hill – recently finished the album Salvation with his group Wakey!Wakey!, and since then he’s been on the road solo, performing a stripped-down, acoustic version of the band’s newest material. We caught up with Michael earlier this month during a break in his schedule to discuss the latest developments in his career.
After having finished the record with the whole band, why venture out on his own? “We had initially thought about doing the whole tour with everybody, like a great big production,” he explained, “but it became clear to me that my fans wanted the more intimate singer-songwriter experience.”
He wasn’t concerned about overlap between the record release and his solo tour, or any questions it might prompt about the status of the band, which very much still exists. “We’re the kind of band that has a really dedicated following. They all kind of stay right on top of things,” he said, adding that those fans probably won’t be surprised to see him on his own. “Wakey!Wakey! has always basically been my project. I’ve kind of put together the lineup that’s set for the album at this time, or what’s best for the project.”
But Michael is also planning to reunite with his bandmates in the very near future. “We’re getting ready to go to Europe. We’re going to do that and then we’re not really sure what lies in store,” he told us. “This tour has been such a massive undertaking. It’s been a lot for me to do.”
What would he call the biggest highlight of touring? “I think it’s just being able to meet so many fans and be able to be in so many cities,” he reflected. “It’s insane that we get to go and have interactions in these cities. We’re not playing stadiums or enormous crowds of people. A lot of times it becomes a real intimate thing with the audience. Then to get home and look at all the sweet letters I get from fans…it makes me feel like I’m doing something right with my life.”
Having been able to reach audiences around the world in both music and television, it’s no surprise that it’s much harder for Michael to pin down what he’s proudest of through everything. “That’s a really tough one. It’s such an expansive career,” he continued. “My goal has always been to make a soundtrack to a really successful life, and to be that for our core fans. I think that’s what we are. Something that’s right there for you like an old friend as you go through different parts of life.”
He did telll us that he still gets One Tree Hill references, two years after the series ended: “They’re pretty constant. A large part of our fan base came from that show. I’m definitely proud to have been a part of it.”
What does his own TV and music taste run toward? “When it comes to TV stuff, I’m a huge sci-fi nerd. I love Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, any nerdy sci-fi stuff I think is the coolest thing in the world. Breaking Bad of course [and] Game of Thrones,” he told us. “When it comes to music, my taste goes more toward pop. I really love Katy Perry albums, I can’t help it. I love the new Sia album. I really enjoy the songcraft behind it and the production that goes into it. It’s really amazing to me.”
For the latest on Michael and Wakey!Wakey!, including their current and future tour dates, visit the group’s official website (wakeywakeymusic.com) and follow them on Twitter (@wakeywakey).
(c)2014 Brittany Frederick. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.