Guest DJ Michigander reps fellow Midwest migrants and indie rock influences

Fellow Early Riser Jason Singer was bright-eyed and equipped with back-up coffee when he joined me for Morning Host duties on March 8. The Nashville Artist of the Month, who writes and performs as Michigander, plucked some of his favorite tunes — several new and a few of those by his Nashville independent artist peers — for a live broadcast playlist that illustrates many of his inspirations and admirations in music. We also played three of his songs: an optimistic, pre-pandemic-penned number called “Better” and two from the forthcoming It Will Never Be The Same EP, “Stay Out Of It” and “Superglue.”

Hear the whole hour with Michigander here, and learn more about the artists he picked.

Nashville Peers

Abby Holliday, a singer-songwriter from Cincinnati, sings about an “Ohio Laundry Room.” The recent transplant to Nashville will open for Michigander on the tour that starts March 28 in Phoenix and winds back this way for a hometown show at EXIT/IN on April 29. Singer said of his friend Holliday’s songs, “There are zero misses. She’s top notch and has the Thing. You know when you meet someone and they just have the Thing? She has that.”

Joy Oladokun has a new song “Changes” we’re playing on WNXP, and Singer said he’s a “big fan” of Oladokun, whom he met in Chicago when both Nashville-based artists played Lollapalooza in 2021. I reminded him that Joy Oladokun was an early Nashville Artist of the Month on WNXP so Michigander is following in her footsteps. “I’m honored.”

By the way, here’s footage from Michigander’s Lolla festival set performing the song “Better,” which we played to start the hour.

Gabrielle Grace is a Nashville-based transplant from Texas whose debut album There Are Two Sides to Everything lands on June 1. Michigander picked Grace’s “I Wish That I Could Tell You,” and Singer urged that you’ll want to fall in love with this artist now so you can say “I saw her when.”

Young Ritual is another local artist who happens to 1) be releasing new music (we played “Ages”), and 2) be a friend of Jason Singer’s that also hails from Michigan —part of the movement Singer dubbed the “Michigan migration” to Nashville based in part on Singer’s luring artist friends to move south. Thirdly, Dylan of Young Ritual plays in the touring Michigander band, which you can soon “meet” in their Sonic Cathedral session!

Heavy Hitter Inspirations

Manchester Orchestra turned a fan, Jason Singer, into a co-writer and tour opener last year. The Manchester-Michigander collaborative single “In My Head” was released last April, and Manchester Orchestra dropped a new six-song album The Valley of Vision just this week. We played their 2017 hit “The Gold.” Singer said this about the surreal development with the band he loves:

I was a longtime fan of the band. One time I covered a song of theirs and I tagged in [singer] Andy Hull. He saw it, followed me. Fast-forward a little later, some people connected some dots and I got to go write and record a song with them in Atlanta… We recorded the song and were like, “Oh that was a cool demo and experience.” But then we agreed it was better than a demo, we should just polish it up and see if they were down to release it, and they were. And then they invited me to go out on tour.

Michigander on Manchester Orchestra

Andy Shauf“Halloween Store” is a song from Shauf’s new record Norm, which Singer saw performed at The Basement East at the WNXP Presents show in late February. “I saw so many people there. Great show. The whole town was there.”

The War On Drugs “Pain” got a bunch of plays when Michigander was gigging around in 2017, said Singer.

They’ve been one of my favorite bands for so so long. When I was doing some of my early touring, they were putting out records, so that record would become the soundtrack of every tour. A Deeper Understanding was a game-changer for me. That was a CD that did not leave the stereo in the van. I think that “Pain” is one of the best mixed songs of all time.

Michigander on The War on Drugs

boygenius – The super trio of Julien Baker (another former Nashville Artist of the Month), Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus is releasing new music as boygenius, including the Michigander-picked track “Not Strong Enough.” Singer said:

I actually saw Julien [Baker] on one of her early tours in Michigan, and Phoebe [Bridgers] opened and there weren’t that many people there. That’s my only claim to “I saw a band before they were huge” kind of thing. I’m obsessed with all of their music and I think this new song is crazy good.

Michigander on boygenius

Coldplay “Talk” off the 2005 record X&Y was a song Singer first heard “in a family video rental store in Saginaw, Michigan.” He said, “I unashamedly love that band.”