Mikael Pederson Bio
For singer/songwriter and guitarist Mikael Pederson, music is a deeply personal and emotional journey, but more importantly, it is a way to connect with the world. He seeks to inspire and encourage others through his songs and performances.
Raised in Salem, Oregon, Mikael began his musical education at age 5 with the piano, then took up the guitar at age 12. By high school, he was singing and playing nearly weekly in a church of 5,000 people. He also was writing songs and performing with his acoustic rock band, which drew crowds that exceeded fire–safety capacity. Mikael then moved to Los Angeles to study music, meanwhile playing as a hired guitarist for many artists and musical groups, and traveling as far as Europe for shows.
While Mikael has drawn comparisons to John Mayer, Jack Johnson and Phillip Phillips, his other inspirations include Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Dave Matthews Band, Coldplay and the blues. These influences, combined with his compelling and vivid storytelling, have led to an album that, like the artist himself, goes far beyond initial impressions.
His new EP, “Turn This Around,” captures Mikael’s heartfelt approach to everyday life, and his Renaissance Man outlook of embracing all knowledge and pursuing a spectrum of interests. This first studio album, produced and engineered by Troy Welstad and mastered by Grammy Award winner Richard Dodd, was inspired by not only personal experience but also the greater issues facing the globe.
“Away from Here,” with its desperately moody and soulful tones, delves into the need to escape everything after the pain of a breakup, while the title track, “Turn This Around,” was stirred by a news article about human trafficking. As he does with many of his songs, Mikael became engrossed in the emotions of the individual, and that is reflected in the beautiful musical composition and the pleading in his voice, accompanied by a lightness that ultimately suggests hope.
No song better encapsulates Mikael’s path as a musician than “What Have I Got to Show for It.” Beneath the rollicking rhythm and folk influences lies the turning point at which Mikael decided to devote himself full time to music. He spent years juggling two worlds: the so-called “real world,” with a college degree, a stable job in sales and happy hour on Fridays; and the music world, with various bands, playing gigs in Los Angeles and touring internationally. But a year ago, he seized the opportunity to return to Portland, Oregon, and dedicate himself to his passion. The payoff on this investment has been the chance to share his happiness – and what it took to get there – with others through his songs. [+]