“I started playing guitar when I was 18; that was my first real introduction to anything in music,” Grabner says.
Although he was mainly self-taught, a certain college course was quite impactful on his music career.
“I was mostly self-taught, though I did take an intermediate finger-style guitar course in college, which was probably the only beneficial thing I did while I was at college,” Grabner says. “But beyond that, all self-taught.”
Grabner is fairly well recognized and popular in the Fox Valley music community, booking many shows and gigs before COVID began. Getting to where he is professionally took a lot of hard work and dedication.
“From age 21, I really started taking performance seriously,” Grabner says. “I just played a lot of open mics; I went out and busked on sidewalks in Downtown Appleton, … just did anything I could to get my music in front of people, and eventually … places actually started hiring me to play.”
When describing his current body of work, Grabner says it’s “a bunch of really depressing folk songs.” But that’s certainly not all there is to his music. He also describes his style as folk, Americana, alt-country and acoustic rock.
“My songs are very introspective, so you know my songs are really driven by how I’m feeling,” Grabner says. “When I’m writing usually if I’m sad it generally tends to be more productive for me but falling in love always seems to be good for my material as well. ”
Grabner has posted tons of videos playing both new and old songs throughout the pandemic on his Instagram and Facebook music pages.
Grabner finally finished a long-time-coming album produced by Mark Golde at Rock Garden Studios this year. It’s titled “Restart” after one of his more popular songs. He also made a music video with Golde during the pandemic for the single at Stone Arch Brew Pub in Appleton.
“Making a music video was weird; I don’t necessarily feel comfortable in front of the camera, [actually] I don’t feel comfortable in front of the camera,” Grabner says, “but … [Golde is] very good at what he does, and he was good at making me feel more comfortable, and I think that it turned out really well.”
Other than “Restart,” the only thing in the books for Grabner this year so far is a gig at River Tyme Bistro May 16 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
For more info on Grabner’s music, visit michaelgrabnermusic.com.