As the music industry and music itself are continually changing, artists are also evolving. Michael Gould Jr. aka Mike Bless considers himself a "melodic rapper," and with a diverse sound that's not exactly rap, but not totally RnB, he is the change in music that's happening today and the leader of a new era.
Born in Akron, Ohio but raised in a rough area in Buffalo, New York, Mike Bless was brought up by his mother and stepfather, who was a drug dealer turned addict. He experienced a childhood of neighborhood violence, moved around from house to house with his family, and even lived in a shelter at one point. However, one thing remained constant in his life: music.
Inspired by Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and LL Cool J, Mike Bless began his musical endeavors singing in his church choir in the fifth grade. Influenced by his neighborhood, he got into many fights and ended up expelled from public school in Buffalo. It was then that his mother sent him back to Akron to live with his father, a then counselor for troubled youth. While in Ohio, Mike Bless got involved with sports and music, excelled in both then began rapping for fun to fit in with other kids from around East Avenue (the street that LeBron James lived on). Eventually, he began a rap group with six other kids called E.A.P. (East Avenue Players). "I ended up playing basketball and getting back into music instead of fighting, so I kept one foot in the hood and the other in school; my childhood was balanced," states Mike Bless. Mike Bless returned to his roots, singing in the church choir, during his high school years in Akron. He and two other choir members began their own RnB singing group called "Original-T." This musical venture also became short lived.
In 2002, while visiting his mother in Pensacola, FL, Bless decided to relocate and make Pensacola his new home. Regardless of all the musical ups and downs, everything started to come together for Bless a year after his move. Bless began to invest in himself musically and financially by doing talent shows and competitions. Bless comments, "I paid well-known promoters so I could open up at major music artists' shows and through hard work and a great response from the crowds, the promoters eventually started contacting me to open up for shows."
Mike Bless has gained national exposure with over 700k myspace profile views, 1.5M myspace music plays, and successes in various competitions including T-Pain's worldwide Internet contest (ourstage.com) where he finished in first place. Consequently in 2008, Mike Bless entered Slip N Slide Records "The Next Big Superstar" competition in which he won over Mobile, Alabama. Bless then was flown down to Miami, the home of Slip N Slide Records, for the grand finale and was crowned "The Next Big Superstar". His accomplishment garnered him a record deal thru Slip n Slide Records and he is currently working on a 2010 release.
Bless' melodic style, definitely confirms his staying power in the music industry because of his diversity as an artist. He has worked with the likes of Drumma Boy, Scarface, Rich Boy, Pastor Troy, B.G. and Gorilla Tek to name a few. The talented "melodic rapper" writes all of his music, has been a ghostwriter for several major rap artists, and even wrote jingles for commercials. "The game is tired of the same old sound, so what separates me from other artists is that I make sure every time I sit down and do a record that I don't sound like none of the artists that you've heard before me," Bless states, "My goal is to be heard by as many people as possible and let my music do the talking for me."