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Interview: Talking with Michael Brondstetter About “Sunset Silhouette” and Topanga Canyon

Michael Brondstetter
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FEATURE

Interview: Talking with Michael Brondstetter About “Sunset Silhouette” and Topanga Canyon

San Diego-based singer-songwriter Michael Brondstetter recently releases a delicious new single, “Sunset Silhouette,” reminiscent of Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, Dave Matthews, and the sound called ‘the Topanga Canyon Sound.’

Michael’s sound blends elements of folk, pop, rock, and blues, along with hints of country-pop and reggae aromas into luscious sonic concoctions, at once mellow and vibrant. Notwithstanding the creamy lushness of his music, it’s Michael’s voice that sets his songs apart. Easy to listen to, slightly rasping yet silky smooth, there’s a distinctive, alluring quality to his vocals.

With more than one million streams on Spotify, appearances on morning television shows, and performances at The Mint, Genghis Cohen, The Bootleg, Bar 20, Pig N Whistle, and The Lost Knight, Michael’s affluent music draws listeners in, offering a range of emotional moods.

“Sunset Silhouette” rides an enticing rhythm topped by gleaming guitars and scrummy brass accents. A fat bassline gives the rhythm an immersive cadence as Michael’s cashmere tones narrate a tale of moving toward true love.

Muzique Magazine spoke with Michael Brondstetter to find out more about his writing process, his influences, and the Topanga Canyon Sound.

If you could date any other musician or celebrity, who would it be and why?

No one actually! But I would love to talk to John Mayer or Jason Isbell about songwriting.

What inspired your new single “Sunset Silhouette?”

A story I heard from a couple that met at a restaurant where he worked parking cars.

What got you into music?

For as long as I can remember I wanted to play, sing. My father thought it a fool’s career, so I didn’t get started till my parents separated/divorced. 

Which musicians/singers influenced you the most?

Just too numerous to name them all. Early on my parent’s big band/jazz. Later Rock & Roll, Folk, until the British invasion and Blues Revival along with the LA Laurel Canyon sound

Did your sound evolve naturally, or did you push it in a deliberate direction?

I think it’s a natural progression. Producers give their impression of how they hear the song going and I learned from that process.

Your sound has been called the ‘Laurel Canyon Sound.’ Please explain what that means.

The music produced there has often been labeled as folk or soft rock for its mellow sound, but the canyon was a melting pot, crossbreeding the genres of folk, psychedelia, pop, blues, country, and rock. Laurel Canyon bloomed with melodic, atmospheric, and politicized songs that defined the moment, made by artists who defined a generation. Now, decades later, the influence of these artists of the canyon is still being heard today in artists like Harry Styles, Lana Del Rey, Mumford and Sons, Haim, and more.

Which artists in your opinion are killing it right now?

Besides the obvious like Dua Lipa, Weeknd, Ed Sheeran, Doja Cat, Billie Eilish, I like Lord Huron, Brandi Carlile, Bahamas (Afie Jurvanen), Joey (Brothers) Landreth, Leon Bridges, Black Pumas, Head and the Heart, John Mayer.

What inspires your writing? Do you draw inspiration from poems, music, TV, or other media?

That little voice and sound that’s in my head. I follow my inner voice. I think that all we see and hear is part of what inspires us.

What can you share about your writing process?

It usually starts with music. Especially since that’s what gets people to check out a song. The lyrics are the last thing that gets added.

What can we expect from you within the next 6 months? Any releases planned? Future gigs?

I’ve a set at Bar 20 in West Hollywood on Saturday 21st of August at 7:45 pm. I’m in the process of recording a new bunch of songs which I hope to release at least one within the next few months.

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Tinker Talavera is a music lover, author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.

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