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Michael Damani Is “Vibin’ ‘n Thrivin’”

Written by on December 14, 2020

After touring as the lead guitarist for Wyatt Waddell and the Original Chicago Blues All-Stars, Chicago-based musician Michael Damani is working on his solo career. He released single “White City, Black World” in August, which was featured on our November In Rotation playlist, and hopes to build up to a full-length album in the future.

For our Quick Bites digital profile series, here’s a rundown of Damani’s influences, opinions on ska music, coffee preferences and what his listeners can keep an eye out for.


Where are you from?

I’m from Silver Spring, Maryland outside of Washington, D.C. 

Where do you live now?

I’ve been living in Chicago for the past 7 years. 

What 3 songs do you have on repeat right now?

“Is It Any Wonder?” – Durand Jones and The Indications 

“Masterpiece” – SAULT 

“Morning Sunrise” – Isaiah Sharkey 

What 3 artists are you most influenced by?

Stevie Wonder, Isaiah Sharkey, Jimi Hendrix.

What’s up next for you?

Right now I’m working on releasing singles and building my online profile in preparation of doing my first full-length album. I’m also working on a music licensing project with some fellow creators. 

When did you start making music?

I started playing the guitar and piano in high school at age 15. But prior to that I briefly played the drums when I was intrigued by my 3rd grade teacher who told our class about the drum lessons she was taking.

Favorite song to perform?

I love performing my original music more than anything, but perhaps my favorite song to cover would be “One Rainy Wish” by Jimi Hendrix. 

What’s the first concert you went to?

I remember attending a small music festival in the downtown area of Silver Spring when I was maybe 12 or 13. There was a saxophone player on stage who sustained a note without taking a single breath for what seemed an eternity. It was crazy, we couldn’t believe what was happening. 

What was your favorite movie as a child?

As a child my favorite movie would have to have been iRobot. I was big into the Sci-Fi movies.

What are your thoughts on ska music?

Ska music has a super rich history that I wish modern day standards could live up to. But at the same time I’m very open-minded and can get down with virtually any style of music.

How do you drink your coffee?

Coffee just depends on the mood! Sometimes take it black, sometimes cream and sugar, but I’ll never turn down a spicy chai. 

What’s your favorite kind of bagel (and topping)?

Everything bagel with smoked salmon, no question. 

What’s one phrase you started saying ironically but now can’t stop?

Well, it didn’t start with irony, but one phrase I started saying not too long ago is “Vibin’ ‘n Thrivin’.” If you ever ask me how I’m doing, that’ll probably be my response. 

Most unexpected artist you listen to? Favorite song of theirs?

Joni Mitchell’s first album “Song to a Seagull” is without a doubt one of the greatest albums ever recorded. If you haven’t heard it, do you ears a serious favor. It’s majestic.


Follow Michael Damani on Twitter and Instagram, and stream his single “White City, Black World” below.

Edited for length and clarity by Morgan Ciocca