Since his childhood growing up in Alabama, music has been in Michael Anderson’s soul. He released his first album in 2009, using the name Mike Anderson, and later began using the moniker Anderson East. Under that name, he self-released an album in 2012, but it’s his recent debut under Low Country Sound/Elektra Records that’s placed Anderson East on the map. From its title to some lyrical inspiration, Anderson’s Delilah draws on his Southern Baptist roots and mixes blues, R&B, gospel, and country with a little bit of rock to create an album marked by his soulful, gravelly voice. From grooving to his cover of George Jackson’s “Find ‘Em, Fool ‘Em and Forget ‘Em” to swaying along with “Devil in Me,” Anderson’s Delilah is a captivating album.
Cliché: What drew you to music?
Anderson East: I think, as a kid, I needed some type of outlet that wasn’t an organized sport or something of that nature. I think when I got an electric guitar, that void was filled. I was so infatuated with how music made me feel at such a young age, and so appropriately, making music was the only thing that could heighten that feeling.
What instruments do you play, and how did you learn?
I mainly play guitar. I can fake a few others. But I learned just by trying to play along with records.
Where does your moniker stem from?
A Japanese comic book and the show Monk on the USA network. Both of them really spoke to me and changed my life.
Who/what are your musical influences?
The Carpenters and Jane’s Addiction.
Where does the title Delilah come from?
It comes from the story of Samson and Delilah in the Bible.
What inspired your album?
A beautiful and challenging woman I met in a movie theater in Chicago.
Before you found George Jackson’s “Find ‘Em, Fool ‘Em and Forget ‘Em,” were you considering another cover song for the album?
Yeah. I had been messing with the No Doubt song “Don’t Speak.” I have always loved that song. I think it’s a great modern American pop song that has legs to do something fun with.
Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
I think Beck would be an awesome guy to hang out and make some music with.
What’s your favorite song to perform live?
“Satisfy Me” is always a blast to play, but I find a lot of joy playing all these songs. “What a Woman Wants to Hear” is also a lot of fun in the proper environment.
Your next few months are filled with tour dates, including some with The Lone Bellow. What are looking forward to about touring?
Well obviously, I look forward to playing the shows, but I’m also really excited to meet all the folks at the shows and eat some new food along the ride. Also, we’ve scheduled in about five days four of our own private roller skating parties. Those are gonna get wild.
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Photographed by Becky Fluke