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Pianist/Vocalist Michael Gott On His Music and Career

I had the opportunity to discuss Michael Gott's music, career and life with him after his cabaret show at Stone Street Theatre on November 10.

I asked him how he put so much emotion into his music when he plays. "The song must mean something to me," he replied. "Otherwise, I don't think the audience won't respond to it.  I once read a quote by Robert Frost, 'No Tears in the Author—No Tears in the Audience.' I just try to feel what I think the song is saying while I perform it.  I guess you would call it a Method Acting Approach to Music."

Who Are Your Favorite Lyricists?  "Johnny Mercer, Ira Gershwin, and Oscar Hammerstein II," was the immediate response.  "I really enjoy the craft that goes into excellent lyric writing.  I love examining the lyrics of a classic like 'All The Things You Are.' [Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II]."  When asked about his favorite composers, his pick was Stephen Sondheim, Richard Rodgers, Kurt Weill, Harold Arlen and Jule Styne.  He also enjoys the more contemporary sounds of Joni Mitchell, Billy Joel and Elton John.

When asked about his topic pick among vocalists, Mr. Gott stated that he doesn't care for performers who are technically proficient but who "don't listen to themselves."  "Barbara Cook, Judy Garland, and Julie Wilson, those are my idea of great performers.  They listen to themselves when they sing and are full emotion.  When they deliver a song, you know they care about what they are singing and their audience.  It shines through when they perform."

Mr. Gott thinks that his music is a large part of a his spiritual life as well.  "Music is how I connect to the audience."

I asked him how he enjoyed collaborating with others in musical theatre as in the musical All Stressed Out and Nowhere To Go.  "Oscar Hammerstein II said that musical theatre be a collaborative effort," he answered, "And I think I have had the opportunity to work with some gifted and giving individuals."

Michael Gott has been with The Mansion at Turtle Creek for twelve years, is the Musical Director at the Mystic Note Nightclub, and performs in Cabaret whenever he gets a chance.  What would he like to do in the future?

"I would like to make more recordings," he stated."However, I understand that life is a series of 'Open Doors' and prefers to take his life and career with a 'Just Do It' attitude.  I am open to whatever life brings me in the future." 

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