Mike Derek – My Dad
A former Sunshine Boy in the Toronto Sun, Mike Derek grew up on a farm in Ontario Canada. He started his career singing in a church choir as a baritone. He moved to Kitchener, Ontario and gravitated to singing in Nursing and Retirement homes for the aged, as well as Sunbeam Centre for handicapped children. His concerts consist of a live performance at Civic Square in Kitchener, which was well received by an audience of over 300 people of all age groups.
Mike recorded a single in Nashville under famed producer Richard Donahue called “Down in the Boondocks,” and now he returns strongly with “My Dad.”
“He isn’t much in the eyes of-the world / but he is a world to me” is part of the opening line to this remarkably well-written and produced single by relatively unknown Mike Derek, who unbeknownst to me has-actually had some success in the past with an album under said famed producer. His bio isn’t detailed enough to add a lot of history, but this is a fresh piece of work to start with where anyone’s concerned in hearing what he’s doing now. The opening line combined with some guitar picking has a country-pop flavored ring to it, but it’s done more in the easy-listening vein.
Mike Derek isn’t just cracked up to influences though, he’s an original artist in his own right with his own truth to tell about his dad, and even more as the song goes on.
The whispering backing vocals get a mention for adding drama to the verses, and that’s just one quality they’re placed there for, it adds a classic touch that tops it off. Not that he’s any stranger to layers of sound, but it works wonders over the right words to bring out the best in the song. The rest is gravy, all checking out in the vocal, lyrical and musical departments. You can’t play it just once, so don’t expect to.
“My Dad” could even be considered folk or Americana in today’s mix of genres going around. It doesn’t matter where it’s coming from, these are hard to get away from to call what’s being done. You get something beyond category with Derek though, even if he leans in-the area of the Josh Grobin’s of the world.
There’s something unique about him that still stands apart, and this track takes you to that special place with a subject that’s difficult not to reckon with. Keeping it simple and to the point is where it pays off the most, and that is where this song does the business and earns high marks.
Written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, you’d easily believe it was Derek himself by the way he conveys the lyrics from the heart, but it doesn’t matter in the greater scheme of things, especially with such an excellent writing job is backed by an equal singing effort. You believe the words and the music and that’s the primary element that makes a good song as well as a good front person to champion it. You get all that and tons of soul and a great deal more in one package, which makes you want more of what Mike Derek is potentially capable of. If this is any indication of what’s in-store then I’d welcome plenty more.