If your life has been hectic, you ought to try Michael Bernard Fitzgerald's time-management secret. It's a combination of BlackBerry, iCal and mom, but don't tell anyone about the last part.
"Yesterday when I was stressed, my mom took me for tea at Starbucks," Fitzgerald recalls. "At first she was like, 'I don't know about this whole quitting school and pursuing guitar thing,' but now she's really supportive. The only two CDs in her car are mine."
While he didn't complete the program, Fitzgerald attended the University of Lethbridge for a few years studying drama. He started a solo acoustic project when he went to live in Australia in 2004 for a little while after high school. It has since evolved into a full-fledged music venture, sometimes elaborate, but always entertaining and full of a whole lot of, well, soul. Fitzgerald picked up some friends on the semi-local level bill who play saxophone, trombone and trumpets, and isn't sure just where they'll be in 20 years.
"I think I see our future being soccer dads in Volvos," he says. "I'll be the coach."
Following the release of the new EP, This is MBF, Andrew Ball was the man behind the drums and Joel Fraser took on guitar and piano. Josh Gwilliam is handing over bass duty to Chris Van Berkel this weekend. With the newest set up, MBF is planning to start recording again.
"We're going back to the studio in November," he says. "That's something to be hopeful about. So the beginning of '09 there's going to be a new disc. I've also been booking this tour for awhile, so that's cool."
Fitzgerald, who works on and off as a waiter and has graced the stages of MacEwan Hall, Virgin Fest and Calgary Folk Fest, is going to Montreal and back on a 35-day tour. Currently, about 30 shows are booked on it.
"I wanted to play two shows a day, so an afternoon show and an evening show, so in a lot of places, we're going to do that," Fitzgerald says.
If you've never seen the quirky live show, MBF plays the whole new EP, including soul stunner Maxine, as well as some old favourites. Listening to him play, you wouldn't be able to tell he was never serious about guitar lessons. He's been crafting a trademark upbeat acoustic soul pop style with his band lately. You might be able to tell from his lyrics and personality, however, that he is a hands-down fan of love.
"Fall in love," he says. "Fall in love with anything. The best thing you can do is just go fall in love."
While a few of Fitzgerald's influences are Jason Mraz and Motown, the flair manifesting itself in his music, he is open to new endeavors.
He adds creating music that has real significance to other people is something rewarding about being in the music industry.
"It's also rewarding that we get to do this and it's a bit of a self-sufficient entity now, which is definitely a first."