Country Music

Country Crooner Mike Easterday on Appearing on CMT's Music City Madness and the Perils of Getting His Music on the Radio

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The Yuma native, who now resides in Gilbert, has been performing around the Valley as a solo act and with his band since he moved to Phoenix for his college years. In 2009, you might have seen him on the CMT reality show Music City Madness, on which he finished in the top eight.

One year later, Easterday released a self-titled EP that fully encapsulates that raw country sound and feeling, as well as really showing off his songwriting abilities. Always writing new material, the crooner took time to speak with Up on the Sun about his music and career.

How did you get started in music? I'd sing Disney movies, like The Lion King. I would go back and rewind like [singing], "I'm gonna be a mighty king." I would write down the words to it and do that stuff. Then I took choir in high school, but I dropped it for agriculture.

Then I came up to Phoenix and put an ad on Craigslist because I wanted to be in a band, and I found my guitar player, and he started a band with me. I was going to school here at ASU, and I just really wanted to be in a band, and that's pretty much how we got everybody into the band. I met the guitar player, and we became really good friends, and it took us forever to get the other two people. Then we started playing around here. Our second gig was actually here, at San Tan [Flat].

Who are your influences as a musician? I'm a huge Garth Brooks fan, if you couldn't tell, and then the standard stuff when I was growing up, like Kenny Chesney. But the person who sticks out is Garth Brooks -- I started learning guitar with his book. Yeah, but George Strait, too, and all those people like Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash -- stuff like that. My brother liked that stuff a lot, so I kind of listened to that, too. Whatever my mom had on the radio station.

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Chelsea Hough
Contact: Chelsea Hough