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  September 2008
"Jazz Monthly Feature Interview" Michael Lington
Interview By Baldwin "Smitty" Smith

michael lingtonJazz Monthly:  Well, I am welcoming back to Jazz Monthly.Com once again, one of my great friends in the business.  He’s a fantastic sax player and I must say, he is bringing the heat with his great new record that is appropriately titled Heat, and it has a plethora of great tracks, explosive musicians throughout this record, great producers, and I gotta tell ya, this cat is no stranger to the groove and case in point is this great new record.  Please welcome once again the fabulous and amazing saxophonist, NuGroove recording artist Mr. Michael Lington.  Mike, how ya doin’, my friend?

Michael Lington (ML):  Hey, I’m good.  It almost felt like an introduction at a live show.  I got up and started walking up on stage, it felt like.  (Both laugh.)

Jazz Monthly:  Maybe I missed my calling and I should be an emcee somewhere, huh?

ML:  Yeah, exactly.  They ask me right before “What would you like us to say?”  I say “Just say your thing” and what you just said sounded like I was just getting ready to walk out on stage.

Jazz Monthly:  (Laughs.)  I haven’t heard that one.  That’s a good one, Michael.  Thank you.  I take that as a great compliment.

ML:  Yeah, well, that’s good.

Jazz Monthly:  Yeah, so, wow, man, you are bringing the heat.  Wow!

ML:  Well, we’re definitely trying, I could tell you that.

Jazz Monthly:  Yeah, well, is this a requested heat or a recommended heat?

ML:  It’s a necessary heat.  (Both laugh.)

Jazz Monthly:  I love it!  Great answer, man.  I like that, wow.  Well, you have been some kind of busy.  I mean, in spite of the record itself, you have been some kind of busy, man.  I’m seeing you showing up on American Idol and all these great shows and you’re keeping some fantastic company and you’ve done some seriously cool events too, I mean, high profile stuff.

ML:  Right.

Jazz Monthly: How are you keeping up, my friend?

ML:  Oh, you know, I mean, it always seems more when you’re on the outside.  I mean, we’re just having fun and, in the meantime, trying to make great music and validate the game a little bit, you know?

Jazz Monthly:  Yeah, absolutely, man and in all of that activity you recently became a U.S. citizen.

ML:  Right, true.

Jazz Monthly:  That’s gotta be kinda cool, yeah.  What’s it like?  Because being a citizen, we don’t get to experience that, you know?  Is that sort of a momentous kind of thing or what is it like?

ML:  Well, I mean, it kinda made sense for me because I had been here for 18 years and I just felt that this is where I was living, this is where my life was at, I had started establishing a family and my friends are here.  It was a natural progression to become a citizen. It was pretty surreal because suddenly what you have wanted for so many years was possible and there you are with a passport, an American passport.  It’s a real experience, it really is.  I gotta tell you, the way they did the ceremony was actually really cool.  Even though they had a lotta folks there, about six, seven thousand people were there, but it still felt very patriotic and there was a nice video message from George Bush and they talked a little bit about what it meant to be an American citizen and also what some of the duties are, and I gotta be honest here, I was proud.  I was really proud to be an American. I mean, I love my native land, native country, Denmark, but this is sort of the second phase of my life after I moved and I always felt at home here, so it was a natural progression for me.

Jazz Monthly:  Yeah, very cool.  Well, speaking of things happening like that and abroad, you have performed for the Crown Prince Frederik, the future king of Fredensborg Castle.  That had to be quite an event.

ML:  Yeah, that was pretty amazing.  The best way to describe that is like a movie set on a Walt Disney fairytale movie.  It literally was, I think, 400 VIP guests from, of course, around the world that were either kings and queens and ambassadors and all those kind of folks, and they were all wearing uniforms and it really looked like a movie set, quite frankly, with their official uniforms and medallions and hats and swords and, I mean, all this stuff.  It was an experience of a lifetime.

Jazz Monthly:  Wow, man.  Man, you’re living the life, you know that?

ML:  Well, it’s fun to see something like that because it’s really hard to get to see unless you’re invited to an event like that.  It’s pretty spectacular, which I was very honored to be a part of.

Jazz Monthly: Yeah, absolutely.  What’s it like to sit there and be in the audience for American Idol?  Not all of us get to experience that. 

ML:  Well, I’ll tell ya, it’s fun.  When you’re there, it’s like any other television show that you sit there and watch, but I realized how big of an impact American Idol had had on the American audience.  When I got home, it was one of those things, as I had turned off my phone, right?  And I’d turned off my computer while I was gone.  When I got back home, it was one of those “You have 171 new e-mails.  You have 79 new voice messages.  You have 73 new text messages.”  I mean, and I swear to you, I was on there for 10 seconds, 15 seconds, maybe 20 seconds, I don’t even know, but it just seemed not even long enough to make a difference and it sure did.  I never saw it.  I still haven’t seen it to this day, so I don’t even know.

Jazz Monthly:  (Laughs.)  Well, I didn’t have that many messages, but I got quite a few saying that they had seen you there.

ML:  Right, I mean, it was really interesting, but that’s when you realize what—and you can imagine being one of those contestants and being there week after week with basically something like 25 million viewers per episode.  I mean, yeah, it’s something different.

Jazz Monthly:  Yeah, that’s a cool experience, though, wow.

ML:  Yeah, it’s great and tying into that, actually, it’s really, really kind of a funny little coincidence, but the season I went was when my friend Ace Young was one of the contestants and he is now on my new album.

Jazz Monthly: Yeah, how cool is that.

ML:  So I actually remember seeing him there and remembered I liked him, and then when we were looking for somebody to sing the only cover we did on this album, which is…

Jazz Monthly:  “Baker Street.”

ML:  Yeah, “Baker Street,” yeah, the Gerry Rafferty classic “Baker Street,” and we were looking for somebody to sing and our A&R guy, Pete Ganbarg, who basically does most of the A&R for the whole American Idol/Clive Davis thing, he is working on David Cook’s album right now, and he did Daughtry and I guess Ace  Young wrote a song on Daughtry’s album and that’s how they all met, and he suggested that Ace should sing this track and, boy, was he right about that.  Ace, he kills it.  It’s great.

Jazz Monthly:  Yeah, he nailed that track on this new record, man, and it blends so well with the sax too.  I mean, it’s a great composition.  It’s just a beautiful track.  Wow.

ML:  I wish I could take credit for coming up with the idea of doing that song.  I always loved the song, but it was my label guy David Chackler that said “You know, you gotta do that song,” and then after I started listening to it, I realized that the hook of the song, the chorus of the song, is actually the saxophone.

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