Totally Michael: Casually Satisfying Dance Pop

What do you get when you combine a bee suit, an electric guitar, tons of synth, and a guy named Michael? The answer is Bloomington, Indiana‘s Totally Michael, a one man party that has hit it off with Indianapolis music fans and people around the entire United States who love a good time. Bloomington is home to Indiana University and a thriving music culture, one that has produced successful national bands like Murder by Death and also a number of accomplished underground artists like Good Luck. Totally Michael is yet another act that proves Bloomington is second only to Indianapolis for great music in Indiana.

Video of Indianapolis area musician Totally Michael performing his hit single, “Casual Satisfaction,” live.


Totally Michael, known only as Michael when he’s in street clothes, got his start playing in a “crappy punk band” in high school, where he learned that musicianship matters less if you keep the crowd involved. After his punk band dissolved, he set out to create his own mark on the independent music world.

Michael combined his talent for writing short, catchy pop songs in the vein of pop punk legends Blink 182 with home recording software and the power of the internet to create his alter ego, Totally Michael. Much like Indianapolis punk band Sloppy Seconds, Totally Michael is a true believer in the D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) attitude. He took his first tour by himself in his own car, a junky 1984 Accord, created his first two EPs by himself on home recording equipment, and is the sole creative force behind all his music, stage antics, and image.

Video of Indianapolis area musician Totally Michael performing “Winona” in New York City


Totally Michael is even his own publicist. Much like fellow Indianapolis artist Sally Anthony, Totally Michael’s success is largely driven by his grassroots internet presence. His two self recorded EPs and his full length, eponymous album are all available on the internet, and his MySpace page has over 350,000 hits. His hit single, “Casual Satisfaction”, has become something of an underground sensation online, with videos, remixes, and references popping up all over YouTube, blogs, MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that his live shows are always over the top, unforgettable occasions. At the start of his career, Totally Michael would dress up in a “sexy” bee suit (complete with fishnet stockings) for his shows, often taking the stage by himself and guiding the crowd through a number of routines and games. Nowadays he’s ditched the bee suit and performs as himself, though he hasn’t lost his entertainer’s spirit. One fan has described Totally Michael as “an MC who occasionally plays guitar” because he’s constantly guiding the mood and creating a great environment of sing alongs, friendly kidding, and heavy dancing.

A video of Totally Michael performing “Death Hill (Over and Over)” live


Totally Michael‘s performances rely on getting the crowd involved and invested in their own fun, and his songs are the perfect backdrop for dancing, laughing, and having a good time. Totally Michael’s songs feature lots of synth, addictive guitar hooks, drums that sound like they were spawned by a $20 keyboard, and witty, often hilariously explicit lyrics. The hooks and choruses happen frequently and are easy to latch on to, meaning that any crowd will be able to sing along. Despite the fun, friendly atmosphere, a Totally Michael show is no place for Indianapolis kids. Many songs feature sex, high school insecurity, and hilariously dirty lyrics, but it’s the perfect entertainment if you’re over 21.

Video of Indianapolis area musician Totally Michael performing “In Her Diary” in Los Angeles in 2009


Totally Michael recently went on a national tour with hip hop artist MC Chris. He’s played at several Indianapolis music venues and Indianapolis bars, in addition to tons of basement and house shows. You can catch him at venues throughout the United States, and occasionally he’ll even stop by his musical home of Bloomington.

For more information on Totally Michael, including upcoming shows, song samples, and news, please visit the artist’s homepage.

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