Indie musician Michael J Copley (MJC) is a prolific songwriter known as a master of melodies, an excellent performer, and a writer that creates beautifully layered compositions rich with rhythm and harmony. MJC has a beautiful tenor voice which is often complimented with a strong piano or guitar base.
MJC is mainly influenced by rock, house, and jazz which he tries to emulate a strong pulse, syncopation, and harmonic tensions in his songwriting. MJC has been described as an alternative rock, folk, singer songwriter, or bedroom pop artist.
Born just outside of Calgary Alberta Canada, Michael J Copley, a Canadian American has been writing music since middle school.
MJC first wrote music for a musical theatre class where he wrote a 20-minute soundtrack for his groups original production. MJC rented a 4-track recorder and pieced together a half dozen instrumental songs which were never used in the production, being deemed by other classmates as not good enough.
Despite the negative reception, MJC recorded two additional tracks where he sang and played guitar. He showed a few friends who liked the songs and didn’t believe that is was him. This is when he knew that he had a songwriting talent. That summer, MJC purchased his first Mac desktop so he could use GarageBand to improve his recordings. It wasn’t long before he developed a unique songwriting style.
As MJC progressed, his piano teacher and mentor, a Canadian JUNO award winner, encouraged him to go to music school. Michael settled on a Berklee College of Music affiliated music program close to his native Calgary, Alberta. At Selkirk College in British Columbia, Michael J Copley learned how to use the DAW ProTools as well as expanding on his songwriting and performance skills.
In his second year of music school, his mother became ill with cancer and he developed a horrible tendonitis in both arms which greatly discouraged him. Despite wanting to drop out to support his mom, his dying mother encouraged him to finish his two year diploma program.
Upon graduating, MJC compiled some of his best school projects into his debut album which he released as What Is In Your Head in 2012. This album explored themes of love and death reflecting his inner turmoil with his dying mother and failed relationships.
Shortly after his debut album What Is In Your Head, MJC’s mother passed and he continued to pursue his musical dreams. A band was formed with high school friends. The band began building a strong rock repertoire which they played at bars and coffee shops around Alberta and British Columbia. At this time MJC’s song Downstream was accepted as a finalist in the annual Calgary Folk Fest songwriting contest.
At this time, one bandmate demanded the band name be changed from Michael J Copley to include everyone. MJC had written most of the bands material and had already ordered physical copies of the debut album for which the band name was fixed until a future release. The group became disenchanted with MJC and they promptly disbanded the week of the songwriting contest finals. In a panic, MJC found another friend to play the acoustic guitar for the upcoming contest, but the remainder of the band never showed for their first big break leading to an underwhelming performance.
MJC, heartbroken about his mothers passing and the difficulty of managing band mates began to withdraw and began releasing unpolished solo versions of his songs on Soundcloud. MJC continued to perform locally but decided to serve a religious ministry for his Church where he moved to Hong Kong. Re-centered, he returned home to continuing his musical dream.
The lack of jobs during the Albertan oil recession of 2014 strongly influenced MJC to pivot towards engineering, a secondary interest of his. MJC moved to Utah where he completed an undergrad in civil engineering and music minor at BYU and then a masters of civil engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.
Between his engineering classes, MJC continued to write and produce new material. In 2022 after a ten year gap in releasing anything official, MJC released Afterlife, an album that honors his family and friends who’ve passed from various cancers and ailments.
Afterlife is a two song album which delves into the loss people feel following a loved ones passing. You can find MJC’s newest releases on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and many other music streaming platforms. MJC has many projects in the works including music videos and future album releases. MJC is a practicing civil engineer and writes music in is his spare time.