Some might say that Canadian singer-songwriter Mike Celia is a bit of a late bloomer compared to most. While that might be true, Mike has been playing guitar and writing music since his early teens. The idea of music becoming anything more than a hobby seemed like a daydream. However, upon returning from a backpacking excursion overseas in 2005, Mike found himself on a stage for the first time at Toronto’s Hugh’s Room performing some of the music he’d kept hidden over the years. The outcome of this show would push his life into an entirely new direction.
In 2007 Mike released an EP entitled “Things I’ve Sold” which was recorded mostly in his basement with a close friend. The EP earned him a Toronto Independent Music Award for “Best Blues” and has gone on to gain five nominations at the Mississauga Arts Awards. Since the release of his EP, Mike has toured coast to coast and found himself almost fully immersed in a lifestyle and culture of live music, building new projects and opportunities.
This year, Mike will be releasing his first full length album and newest release since the 2007 EP. The album was produced by his brother David Celia, a well respected artist/touring musician who enlisted the talents of some of Canada’s top studio musicians, Jorn Andersen (Alannah Myles, Kevin Breit) and bassist Russ Boswell (Harry Manx, David Wilcox, Mary Margaret O’Hara) to join them in the studio to create a live off the floor organic record. The result is a charming, natural and soulful album with shades of roots, R&B, folk and blues which is slated to be released in June 2014.
Further to his musical endeavours, in 2012, Mike began an entirely new project with four strangers who would quickly become a big part of his musical family today. He joined forces with a beat-boxer, a vocal bassist and two lead vocalists to form Eh440; an a cappella band with a twist. They are set to release their first record consisting of mostly original material in May 2014. The band has already travelled throughout both the US and Canada performing festivals and venues like the Air Canada Centre, North Carolina State University, SING Festival, SoJam A cappella festival, Sudbury Summerfest (opening main acts like Monster Truck, The Sheepdogs and Great Big Sea), Alianait Arts Festival (Nunavut) and Aqpik Jam Music Festival (opening for Andre-Philippe Gagnon) to name a few. They were also seen getting a “deal” on CBC’s Dragon’s Den in 2013.
Over the years past, Mike has continued to write and perform original music across the Canadian landscape. From venues as quaint as a basement bar to the Air Canada Centre, Mike has seen his fair share of audiences. Over the years he expanded to lend his skills to other projects. He currently plays lead guitar for Tanika Charles & The Wonderfuls, rhythm guitar for Shafey (a project by Prince’s guitarist Donna Grantis and Sarah Shafey) and has had the honour of playing lead guitar for the Grammy award winning band Digable Planets during their 2011 NXNE performance at Toronto’s Dundas Square. Some other notable performances include St. Lawrence Theatre for the Arts, Roy Thompson Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario, Mariposa Folk Fest and Hart House Chamber Strings’ annual “POP”s concert (supported by a 30+ piece orchestra).
Whether in the living room of a seaside home in Nova Scotia or in a sold out Air Canada Centre, Mike has continued to engage an array of audiences with his relatable music and lyrics that speak from the heart. Look out for the record this summer!