In this modern age of music, genres blend together as naturally as the river flows into the sea. With the expansive library of all the music of the world from every time period at our fingertips, creative artists seem to be more and more liberated from the archaic mentality of being pigeonholed into one genre or demographic. Mike Love is at the forefront of this movement. With a foundation rooted in the spirituality and message-based music of Reggae and Rastafari, he blends the sounds of progressive and classic rock, pop, R & B, soul, blues, flamenco, jazz and so much more. Healing is at the core of his music. With ever evolving live performances, Love keeps his organically grown fanbase returning again and again to witness the evolution of tried and true fan favorites, and the ever-expanding repertoire of new music that is constantly surfacing. Fans often leave live performances remarking about how they have just been to church, or had a bad day turned around.
Born and raised on the island of O’ahu, Hawai’i, Love was brought up in an environment surrounded by musical influence and the inspiring natural landscape of his island home. Forging a deep connection with nature, his message of returning to a more natural and spiritually grounded way of living was solidified at an early age. Growing up under the musical guidance of his father and grandfather, both composers, as well as his steel pan instructor Frank Leto and piano teacher Beth Uale, Mike’s natural musical instincts towards melody and harmony were shaped and deepened. Mike started playing the guitar at age 15 and played in multiple bands throughout his teenage years, playing his first live gig with a band at age 16.
It wasn’t until he joined forces with local musicians Tavana, Brad Watanabe (currently of The Green) and longtime collaborator and current drummer Sam “Ites” Gonsalves to form the band Melodious Solutions, that his musical vision started to take shape. Furthering his talents as a composer/lyricist and arranger, Love subsequently fronted the 10-piece band Dubkonscious for a few years, entering into his first studio experience as producer as well on the band’s album “At the Foot of the Mountain.”
In 2008, he started a solo weekly residence, performing at a local Irish Pub on Mondays. During his long four-hour sets there, he developed a unique one-man-band style, using looping, multiple instruments, and an array of different vocal techniques and musical styles. As his creativity and delivery in a solo format blossomed, so did his audiences. Slowly and organically, this became his main project and his solo career was born. In December of 2012, Love released his first solo album, the critically acclaimed fan favorite “The Change I’m Seeking”. With instant classics like “Permanent Holiday”, “Barbershop”, and “Human Race”, his fanbase rapidly grew, worldwide, with the success of a handful of viral videos on YouTube. Love also delved into more passionate subjects on the album, with tracks like “Earthlings” exhibiting his desire to “Veganize” the world and wake people up to the injustices of animal cruelty, and “No More War”, a call to “bring the troops back home” from these “wars that no one really wants”. It was clear that finally Love had found his voice and was ready to share his music with the world.
He began touring that year with best friend and musical soul-mate Paula Fuga, playing shows to enthusiatic crowds in the western U.S. supporting bands like Groundation and Nahko and Medicine for the People. As the buzz spread, so did the reach of Mike and his band. The next year brought them all over the U.S. playing club shows and festivals alike. Love supported Trevor Hall and Xavier Rudd on major tours throughout the eastern U.S. and Canada, winning over many fans in the grassroots style he had become accustomed to. You’ll often catch Mike saying “I just keep playing the music, and this thing just keeps growing. It has a life of its own and I’m just grateful for it.” International touring soon followed, with warm and enthusiastic receptions across Europe, Central America, Australia, Polynesia and more. Throughout it all, Love has remained humble, citing the healing power of the music that comes from a larger place as the sole reason this all has been possible.
With the release of his second album “Love Will Find a Way” and follow-up companion album “Love Overflowing” featuring sing-along tunes like “I Love You” and “No Regrets”, he solidified the bond with his fans and exhibited the evolution that lovers of his music had come to expect. Returning to the studio with road-tested material and a more intimate connection with a worldwide audience had obviously resulted in a more refined and focused sound and ideology.
Currently, he has formed a super-band, hand-picked from all of the top musicians he’s worked with over the years, dubbed aptly, Mike Love and the Full Circle. They have honed their skills and come together as a tight unit at home on O’ahu and have now begun to tour, taking Love’s music to even greater heights. As they prepare to return to the studio in 2018, we can anticipate that the new album they are concocting will be the most dynamic, heartfelt and spirited offering yet. In the years to come we can only expect more growth, more innovation, and of course, more Love.