Mychael Gabriel: The Interview

Mychael Gabriel Interview

Feature Photo: courtesy of O’Donnell Media Group

As the godchild of Sheila E. and Prince, you could say that making spiritual yet shredding guitar-centric rock was what young six-stringer Mychael Gabriel was born to do.

These days, you’ll seldom see an artist put as much heart, soul, blood, sweat, and tears into their craft, let alone the spoils of said craft. And yet, here Gabriel is, reminding us of the musical benefits of such hard work. Indeed, music – and guitar – were ingrained in Gabriel at a young age, and considering his musical lineage, there was never another way.

With parents who logged miles during the Purple Rain World Tour in 1984, for Gabriel, a career in mind-bending, soul-searching musical heroics was always in the cards. But that doesn’t mean he’s taking his gifts for granted. As evidenced by his latest offering, Genesis, Gabriel is furthering himself as both a songsmith and guitarist. Don’t believe it? Listen for yourself.

As he continues traversing the great musical unknown, Mychael Gabriel dialed in with to recount his musical origins, guitar musings, rig rundown, and what’s next for him as he looks ahead.

What first inspired you to pick up the guitar?

My upbringing greatly impacted me – even if I didn’t realize it at the time. My parents met and fell in love while working on the Purple Rain World Tour in 1984. My godparents are Sheila E. and Prince. Music always had an active presence in our household, and the guitar immediately hit a special place in my heart. The sound of the instrument, its versatility, and its ability to transduce raw emotion appealed to me at a very young age. I remember playing the concert film Sign o’ The Times on repeat as a kid – holding my plastic guitar and trying to mimic the motions I saw on screen.

Can you recall your first guitar, how you obtained it, and if you still have it?

I have a couple of “firsts.” My very first guitar was a youth-sized classical nylon string guitar. My first electric was a youth-size Lotus guitar, but my first full-sized electric guitar was a gift from my parents – a fixed bridge Ibanez with a maple neck and a black finish with a hue of dark green in the center. I still have all of them.

What were the first riffs and solo you learned?

“Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple had to be my first riff. I used to teach guitar – that’s such a classic introduction to ’70s rock guitar performance and a great way to build enthusiasm when you first start playing. And then, I was obsessed with B.B. King as a kid, so the first solo I attempted to learn was from a song of his called “The Thrill is Gone.”

Over time through trial and error, the best learning process I’ve found is to break down the music into smaller sections and then “loop” those sections until you have developed the muscle memory needed to move on to the next section. So be it if you have to go two notes at a time. Loop those two notes until you’ve mastered it. Okay – now add the third note, fourth note, and so on.

Eventually, you’ll develop the dexterity needed and find a lot of things will come easier and easier. I’ve found this method works whether you’re beginning or advanced.

What are five albums that band shaped you thus far and why? How is their influence best reflected in your playing?

There are too many albums to mention and a near-impossible task to pair down to five. I love everything from Stevie to Elton, Jimi to Satriani, James Brown to Parliament Funkadelic to D’Angelo, The Police to Hall and Oates to Earth, Wind & Fire to Led Zeppelin to the Beatles to the Rolling Stones. Not to mention Sheila E. and Prince, of course. I mean, the list is unending, and that doesn’t even include more contemporary bands or artists.

Who most influenced your sound, and how is that best illustrated in your style?

The human experience is such that we are made up of all the millions of experiences put together. I cannot credit any one influence.

Tell me about any original music you’re working on. Your songwriting approach and now that continues to evolve?

I just released an album titled Genesis. It is a multi-genre record, symbolic of my personal journey with sounds that have inspired me to become the artist I am today. The evolution of how I approached this record, in particular, was crucial. The songs and their message needed to be cohesive from beginning to end.

None of the songs on this album were selected at random, but all were written with the intention of a singular vision and concept for this album: part biblical allegory, part personal journey, and part rollercoaster ride representing the human experience.

What songs and recordings that you’ve done so far mean the most to you, and why? What lessons have you taken from them that you’ll carry forever?

All of them. As a creative, there is a natural high I get from writing and performing that’s unlike anything else. It’s a spiritual thing. To then be able to share that with the rest of the world through the technology of this day and age? I count that as a blessing – the cherry on top. The lesson and beauty in seeing something to completion are that you are now free to move on to creating the next thing – only now do you have all this experience of where you’ve been before.

How do you balance the want to craft quality songs with the desire to shred? 

Feel. It’s all about feeling. If you’re really in touch with the “feel” and “vibe” of the song you’re crafting, you’ll know what it needs. I ask myself, “What am I feeling? How do I want to feel? How do I want the listener to feel?” Sometimes you’ll find that shredding applies; other times, less may be more. It all depends on feeling.

What guitars, gear, pedals, amps, and effects are you using?

I have a PRS SE Custom with a coil tap that I use while touring, a Fender American Strat in the studio, a 1970s Ibanez acoustic, a custom semi-hollow, and a few other personal toys I’ve modded myself. Boss ME-80 is my touring pedal board of choice for portability.

In the studio, I’ll have a varied selection of pedals, from a Cry Baby Wah to various compressors, auto-wahs, choruses, and delays. I like to record a lot of what I do direct and reamplater as needed. I do this because I’m always forward-thinking about whatever may suit the track best—having flexibility that way just makes sense to me and my process. If I send guitar tracks to someone else for their project, I’ll generally print all FX and provide a clean one as needed.

What are your most immediate goals, and how do you plan to make them a reality? What’s next?

To continue to create and share my music with all of you! Let’s make it a reality together. Touring, music videos, and the release of a deluxe version of my album, Genesis, will include more songs and extended plays, and more general creation.

Mychael Gabriel: The Interview article published on Classic© 2023 claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business, or organization is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain creative commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with All photo credits have been placed at the end of the article. Album Cover Photos are affiliate links and the property of Amazon and are stored on the Amazon server. Any theft of our content will be met with swift legal action against the infringing websites. Protection Status

Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Elastica Songs
Top 10 Elastica Songs
Rita Mora Songs
Top 10 Rita Ora Songs
Hilary Duff Songs
Top 10 Hilary Duff Songs
Jessie Ware Songs
Top 10 Jessie Ware Songs
Emerson Lake & Palmer spinoff bands
A Look At The Two Spinoff Versions Of Emerson Lake & Palmer
100 Best Rock Albums Of The 90s
100 Best Rock Albums Of The 90s
15 Greatest Hits Albums With Best Unreleased Tracks & Non-Album Songs
18 Best Greatest Hits Albums With Unreleased Tracks & Non-Album Singles
Best Rock Albums Of 2022
Best Rock Albums Of 2022
Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Announces 2023 Inductees
Here we go…Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Announces 2023 Inductees
Springsteen To Appear On CBS Sunday Morning Show
Springsteen To Appear On CBS Sunday Morning Show April 30, 2023
Stephen Stills new album Live At Berkely 1971
Stephen Stills To Release A New Album Of Unreleased Live Music
Emerson Lake & Palmer Boston Garden July 12, 1977 ClassicRockHistory.Com - Mike Hill © 1977
Unreleased Classic Rock Photos Vol.1: ELP – The Mike Hill Series
Ritchie Henman of April Wine Interview
Ritchie Henman of April Wine: The Interview
Dave Lombardo Interview
Dave Lombardo: The Interview
Dan Wilson Interview
Dan Wilson: The Interview
Christoph Paul of The Dionysus Effect Interview
Christoph Paul of The Dionysus Effect: The Interview
Rob Thomas Albums
Complete List Of Rob Thomas Albums And Discography
Sonny & Cher Albums
Complete List Of Sonny & Cher Albums And Discography
Harry Nilsson Albums
Complete List Of Harry Nilsson Albums And Discography
The Waitresses Albums
Complete List Of The Waitresses Albums And Discography
The Grateful Dead's Keyboard Players
A Look Back At The Grateful Dead’s Keyboard Players
10 Musicians Who Survived Fire & Electrical Accidents On Stage
10 Musicians Who Survived Fire And Electrical Accidents On Stage
How George Harrison's Extra Texture Session Musicians Formed Their Own Band
How George Harrison’s Extra Texture Session Musicians Formed Their Own Band
10 Classic Rock Bands That Have Never Released A Live Album
10 Classic Rock Bands That Have Never Released A Live Album
Ritchie Henman of April Wine Interview
Ritchie Henman of April Wine: The Interview
Dave Lombardo Interview
Dave Lombardo: The Interview
Dan Wilson Interview
Dan Wilson: The Interview
Christoph Paul of The Dionysus Effect Interview
Christoph Paul of The Dionysus Effect: The Interview
Jackson Browne 'Running on Empty' Album Review
Jackson Browne ‘Running on Empty’ Album Review
Ringo Starr's Ringo! Album Turns 50
Ringo Starr’s Ringo! Album Turns 50
Carly Simon Hotcakes Album Review
Carly Simon’s HOTCAKES Album Still Sizzles After 49 Years
Why Elton John’s Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player Was One Of His Most Melodic LPs