Northeastern alumnus Michael Weferling, Music Industry, is a Pop/R&B recording artist who just released his first single, Temporary Lover. Michael created the song and its music video to encourage a discussion around the current time and space that we are living in, and how social media deeply affects how we approach dating and relationships. He views music as an opportunity to deliver important messages and bring people together – and Temporary Lover is no exception.
“The song addresses questions about how we can navigate life and relationships properly when we are given polarizing messages of unattainable ‘relationship goals,’ while at the same time, encouraged to be ‘savage’ to one another,” Michael, who lives and works in New York City, said. “I hope the song evokes a feeling of being connected, even though ironically I am speaking and writing and singing about feeling disconnected.”
With the right communication and delivery, music has long been recognized as a powerful way to reach masses of people – and a way to make the world a better place.
“I have always loved that pop music brings large groups of people together to bond over messages and experiences that we all have, but may not have the words or skills to communicate properly ourselves,” Michael said. “I want my music to reach everybody and remind them that they are not alone. When you remind people that they are important, they treat themselves and thus others around them with importance. I aim to make thought-provoking music that lots of people can connect with and that reaches a lot of people and makes them feel connected.”
Michael’s creative process usually starts with a unique melody that he creates himself; this is why he likes to have his phone on him when he is writing, so he can remember what he thought of note-for-note without missing a single detail. In true musician fashion, Michael finds he is constantly going through chord progressions in his head. He writes down the lyrical structure of the song on a note pad or in a journal and refers to his phone for the melody when in the studio.
“While every writing process is a unique experience every time, I usually start with the melody and usually build the instrumental around the melody on my own. I’ll tell the instrumentalists how I want it to sound, usually by singing their instrument’s part, painting an audible picture of how I envision the guitar, bass, and drums to all sound like. I am fortunate to have talented musicians in my life that help bring my music to fruition,” he described. “Once the melody is fleshed out with a finished or bare bones instrumental structure, it’s time to go to a producer. For Temporary Lover, we ended up with a combination of programmed and live instruments.”
Since producers can be extremely busy (usually juggling more than one project at once), it is important to know exactly how a song is going to sound before going into a recording session. Michael’s preparedness for the recording of Temporary Lover made the whole experience swift, exciting, and energizing. In addition to knowing what the song will sound like, at this point, many artists have also already started to think about their music video. For Michael, he immediately began to think about the visuals, music video, and art direction of Temporary Lover when he was writing the song, considering what the song may not be able to communicate on its own.
“A lot of artists think about their video when they are writing their songs. It’s important to have visuals to go along with the message,” said Michael. “The most ‘on the nose’ aspect of my video was that I wanted the video to be millennial pink. It’s an immediate call-out to the generation that I am holding accountable. I was inspired by Outkast’s, ‘Hey Ya!,’ Mariah Carey’s, ‘Heartbreaker,’ Foo Fighters’ ‘Learn To Fly’ music videos as well as Eddie Murphy’s ‘Nutty Professor’ films. Each of those projects showed their stars playing multiple characters playing off of one another. I wanted the video to be shiny and glossy – pristine on the surface to contrast the dark truths that the song exposes.”
The music video for Michael Weferling’s Temporary Lover was filmed over the course of two days, and it was a collaborative, memorable, and fun experience. A fellow Northeastern alumnus, Laura Mueller-Soppart, helped secure the space it was filmed in – she knew the owner of the bar, and was collaborating with him on other projects. Laura played an important role in making the video come to fruition. The power of connections truly runs deep in the music industry.
“When filming, we had a really small crew, but everyone delivered and showed up to make the most of it and make it all happen. Every single second in a music video counts,” Michael added. “Filming the video was one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. We were all exhausted by the end, but the hard work, love, and energy was captured in the final product. It was all worth it.”
While this project may be behind him, there are so many more to now focus on. He hopes to continue exploring and blending genres of music and listening to other unique sounds and perspectives that may influence his own artistry.
“You can definitely be different and still have masses of people connect with you,” Michael described. “That’s the beauty about the time that we’re living in. Yes, sometimes over-exposure can make it so that certain artists and sounds are lost in the mix, but if you can use your influence to open people’s hearts and minds, you can make the world a better place.”
While at Northeastern, Michael held co-op positions at Rolling Stone magazine, PFA Music (a music PR company), and Vevo, the music video and entertainment platform. He credits his entry into Rolling Stone to one of his Northeastern classmates, Erika Santucci, who held a co-op position there before him. He started out in the Advertising & Sales department, but through networking, ended up in a more creative role under the Photo Deputy.
“This position was a perfect fit, and it was just so fulfilling. I learned so much from that experience,” Michael explained. “For my second co-op, split between PFA Music and Vevo, I was mainly working on administrative tasks. At Vevo, I was able to do light coding for them, organizing their music video catalog and artist accounts as well as help set up for talent, staff, and executives. I was able to see what a Vevo launch looked like, and I now have an appreciation of what goes into a video launch.”
These co-op experiences taught Michael about all of the moving pieces that make up the music industry. He learned that there is so much put into every single facet of a recording artist’s promotion to get their latest music out to the public – and how integral press, PR, and music video launches are to an artist’s success. There are many behind-the-scenes people that help create a star.
Now that Michael has more experience and perspective since graduating, he leaves current Music Industry students with some advice.
“Never give up, and do your research. When you’re seeking out something, perhaps a specific co-op position, it is important to look up the people who are involved with it. Tailor an e-mail to the correct people to get your foot in the door, but also expect the certain frustrations that come with the industry, like not hearing back from someone,” Michael concluded. “Keep your options open when it comes to places to work and co-op; it’s always better to edit down your choices than to only have one top choice and have it not work out. To sum it up, just have patience and persistence!”
We look forward to seeing what comes next for Michael! Be sure to follow him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You can check out his music on iTunes, Apple Music and Spotify (search Michael Weferling), and Soundcloud.
Directed by HABIB KAWAN
Written by MICHAEL WEFERLING, SIMEON AWOSAN & HABIB KAWAN
Executive Produced by MICHAEL WEFERLING
Produced by HABIB KAWAN
Starring MICHAEL WEFERLING
Supporting Cast – In Order of Appearance:
Director of Photography HABIB KAWAN
Gaffer NOLAN ROY
Production Designer MICHAEL WEFERLING
Editor HABIB KAWAN
Graphics RODOLFO MUSTAFÉ
Creative Directors MICHAEL WEFERLING & ROYTEL MONTERO
Wardrobe Stylist MICHAEL WEFERLING
Head Makeup Artist HOOKS NUEVA YORK
Music Composer MICHAEL WEFERLING
Casting Director MICHAEL WEFERLING
Special Thanks to:
HOUSE OF ENID
THE PHLUID PROJECT