His ‘Little Falls’ song wowed the crowds at the 2012 Relay for Life
By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
One part pop, one part rock and roll, one part country and three parts folk, that’s Michael Shynes’ gift to music lovers. His versatile range will be heard Friday at the Great River Arts Association (GRAA) beginning at 7:30 p.m. A sure crowd-pleaser will
be “Little Falls,” the song he sang at the 2012 Morrison County Relay for Life.
“I didn’t record it immediately because I didn’t think much of it and didn’t think it would take off,” said Shynes. “But others from small communities have said they can relate to it.”
Shynes, 25, graduated from the Little Falls Community High School in 2005, and during school, he was in a garage band called “Tomorrow’s Forgotten.”
Shynes said he leaned more toward an organic and heartfelt style of music than the usual pop or rock and roll styles he sang then.
“I also wanted more control over the music I performed,” he said. “I wanted to continue singing, but also wanted to write my own songs, so I taught myself acoustic guitar and piano.”
Shynes said it was strange that as a child, music was a very small part of his life. Now it’s a huge part.
“After high school, I became interested in composing. I would record myself singing and playing, which helped me become a better singer,” he said. “That’s how I did my first album, ‘Dreamscape.’ It took me the entire summer to put it together.”
Since that first album in 2008, Shynes has traveled around the country singing with vocalists from the American Idol, the Voice and more. He has played in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City. Some of his songs have appeared in independent films such as “My Senior Year,” made in Minneapolis, and “Fish,” made in New York City.
“There is an element of fear when one gets on stage alone, with just a guitar,” he said. “There is no band to hide behind. I feel bare, but I think it has made me a stronger singer.”
But, no matter the fear, he said he loves it. He feels as if the audience really knows him when the concert is done.
“I have not signed with any recording company,” he said. “Right now, I have the freedom to write what I want and not be at the whim of a company who only looks at the bottom line.”
When not recording or composing, Shynes is a youth counselor at the St. Cloud Children’s Home, run by Catholic Charities. He works with teens who are battling addiction, the effects of abuse and mental issues.
“With music, life can be up and down,” he said. “This job keeps me grounded. What some of those kids have gone through and how they appreciate what I do has redefined my definition of success. It’s a very gratifying job.”
Shynes said he leads two lives, counseling and pursuing what he calls his crazy dream of being able to support a family, play music and travel.
Shynes currently lives in Little Falls. He said he feels crystallized and closer to his music living in a small town.
For more information on Shynes’ concert, contact the GRAA at (320) 632-0960.