Interview with Michael Blakey
I had the honor of meeting Michael Blakey at his offices on Sunset and Doheny in Hollywood recently. Michael is an extraordinary success in the entertainment business, having started out as a musician and record producer, and eventually transitioned into a television and movie producer, and has now become an entertainment mogul. I caught up with Michael who was kind enough to give me a few minutes of his time to answer a few questions.
Jeff Timmons for TheCelebrityCafe.com:
Thanks for giving us a few minutes. We’ll jump right into it because I know your time is valuable.
Tell us how you got started in the music business, first as a musician, and then as a producer.
Michael Blakey: It all started when I was about six years old, all I wanted to do was to play drums. My parents at that time refused to buy me a drum set, but eventually gave in after hearing me make horrible noises on my home made drums which were comprised of metal cookie cans and a garbage can. You can only imagine how bad that sounded! For my eighth birthday, my parents bought me a junior drum kit and that was the start of my musical career.
TCC: Your discography is mind-boggling. It spans 42 years, and features many genres, including comedy. I know there are many, but if you could pick one studio experience that had the most impact on you, which would it be?
MB: It’s frightening to hear 42 years in the industry, but please let me emphasize I was just a very, very young child when I got my first break which was basically more luck than skill. I have many interesting studio experiences but one of my best is, I was recording at A&M studios in LA and was listening back to a mix of one of the songs I had recorded earlier that day when the assistant engineer told me there was a person who wanted to come and take a listen to what has been going on in the studio that day. That person was none other than the legendary Paul McCartney.
TCC: What was your experience like touring with musical legends?
MB: I’ve been lucky enough to tour with numerous very successful and well-known artists. Each tour is completely different, you never know what’s going to happen on any given day. The most amazing thing about any tour is the insanely loud roar when the band walks out on stage. Being a musician that is asked to go on tour with any major band is an huge honor.
TCC: You were a record executive for awhile. What was that experience like?
MB: Very different to being a musician. Having been a artist, and later becoming a music industry executive, gave me a very unique perspective from both sides. Often times the artists demands are impossible to fulfill, but from the artist’s point of view would be very easy. I must say, I have really enjoyed being an executive, being able to be involved in both the recording company and artists careers is the best of both worlds.
TCC: When did you know it was time to branch out and explore TV and movie production?
MB: That’s a really good question. In mid 2000’s the music industry started to suffer. There was a tremendous amount of piracy, the evolvement of the digital platform and streaming technology damaged the sales on a massive scale. At the same time unscripted television started to take off, so I decided to look into alternate ways of utilizing my knowledge in the entertainment industry. After much trial and error, I was able to get into the production of television, which I enjoy very much.
TCC: Were there any projects that seemed like they would never pan out, but turned out to be a surprise?
MB: There have been a few projects that I have worked on where I wasn’t convinced were going to be hugely successful. Some of those turned into blockbusters! That quickly taught me to never stop pushing on a project because you never know how explosive it could turn out to be.
TCC: You are also a manager, and have started a model agency as well. Management is a tough, time consuming job. What made you decide to get into that?
MB: I enjoy being a manager more than anything. The fact that clients trust you with their careers makes for a huge responsibility and one that cannot be taken lightly. In order for me to take on client, I have to believe in their career in exactly the same manner as they do. I have been lucky enough to meet many people in powerful positions within the entertainment industry and therefor have been able to utilize my contacts to the benefit of my clients. I enjoy having the responsibility and it is very rewarding fighting for something on a clients behalf and then obtaining the deal!
The modeling agency is indeed a new in venture, it’s one I actually I don’t own myself, but is housed within our offices. I certainly lend a helping hand and hopefully am able to cross some of the talent into my own productions. It’s fun and exciting.
TCC: I know the modeling agency is fairly new. What has been the highlight of that division so far?
MB: As I said, I don’t actually operate it, but I do get to hear when one of their clients lands a big job. One of the models was just hired for a Pepsi commercial. I think that is as big as it gets!
TCC: I follow you on Instagram, and see you are an exotic car enthusiast. Do you ever feel like you’re living a dream?
MB: I most certainly feel blessed and yes, sometimes I do feel that I’m living the dream. But what you should know, is, I do work hard and put in many long hours. I have always believed that you get out of life what you put in; and it seems that I put in a lot!
TCC: Lastly, I know you have a million projects going on. I don’t know how you find the time or energy to do them all. What’s right around the corner for Michael Blakey, and where can we go to learn more about what you’re doing?
TCC: I do seem to have millions of projects going on all at once, however my concentration and priority is always my management company. Taking care of my clients careers comes first and my TV productions come second. My website http://www.electrastarmgmt.com is the best place to catch latest news and developments as well as see the roster of clients we have on board.
TCC:Thanks so much for taking the time!
TCC: Thank you.