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Michael Damani Returns With Powerhouse Single “Better Off”

Written by on August 25, 2021

Chicago-based guitarist Michael Damani‘s new single “Better Off” marks an exciting return to songwriting.

After gaining acclaim as Wyatt Waddell’s lead guitarist and touring internationally with the legendary Original Chicago Blues All-Stars, Michael Damani is in search of his own path. In August 2020 Damani released his debut solo single, “White City, Black World,” with hopes of fleshing out a full-length album. A year later, on Aug. 25, the artist released soulful ballad “Better Off” as an ode to relationships lost. In the artist’s words, it’s about being “better off for having known this person, but also better off now that the relationship has ended.”

Photo by Jogay Tillman

The song features myriad local talent; Wyatt Waddell contributes bass and backing vocals, drummer David Blair II throws in his signature laid-back beats and singer Ifeanyi Elswith fills out vocal harmonies. Fellow Chicago musician and Damani’s wife, Danielle Strautmanis — AKA Living Thing — also lends her vocal talents in tandem with Elswith.

Waddell’s bass shines bright, delivering reinvigorating Motown-esque rhythms throughout the track — however, as fans have grown accustomed to, Damani’s guitar steals the show. His fiery solo reminds listeners no matter where his songwriting takes him, he is a lead guitarist at heart.

Jimi Hendrix’s influence on Damani is outwardly evident — whether it be through his wailing blues licks or his hat choices — yet never becomes derivative. His infusion of classic blues rock guitar with soulful writing creates a sound thoroughly his own and remarkably refined, especially considering how young his solo career is.

Damani’s guitar contributions can be heard within tracks all over the local independent music scene; consequently hearing some of the same musicians he has worked with come together on his own track brings those collaborations full circle.

Stream “Better Off” on Spotify and Apple Music, and follow Michael Damani on Instagram and Twitter.

Written by Erik Anderson

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