March 16, 2021

A ‘stunned and confused’ Mike Waters digests Grammy win

A ‘stunned and confused’ Mike Waters digests Grammy win

Humble Melbourne singer-songwriter Mike Waters is still digesting his Grammy win.

A song he co-wrote some years ago in Los Angeles, ‘U Move, I Move’, was recorded by John Legend for Bigger Love, which took home Best R&B Album at the 2021 Grammy Awards.

Waters’ first response to the win: “I am stunned and confused. What do I do with this information? How am I even remotely adjacent to this? A Grammy… What?”

A self-confessed ‘late bloomer’, Waters had already built a successful 10-year career as a software developer when he quietly began writing songs on the side aged 26.

Two years later he found himself in Los Angeles with a new name and a publishing deal.

His ability to write vulnerable songs had them recorded by Louis Tomlinson (‘All Along’), Grace VanDerWaal (‘Clearly’), Demi Lovato, Kshmr (‘My Best Life’), Baby Ariel (‘Perf’), Max Frost (‘Drowning’, a collaborative single) Don Diablo (‘Back To Us’), Illy (featured vocalist on his Two Degrees album and Mitch James (‘Sunday Morning’, ‘Bright Blue Skies’).

These songs have collectively notched up half-a-billion streams globally.

‘U Move, I Move’ was written with Bulgaria’s Trey Campbell and Finnish producer Jonas W. Karlsson, and is about “commitment and vulnerability” from a male perspective.

Initially, male singers were reluctant to pick it up, so it was decided the song would instead be pitched to female vocalists and recording artists.

However, John Legend heard it by chance and fell in love with it, bringing in the multi-platinum Jhené Aiko, who’d emerged on records by B2K and Big Sean and whose third studio album, Chilombo, scored three nominations at the 2020 Grammys including album of the year.

Waters returned to Australia to focus on his own career, signing with Sony Music Australia and generating over 800,000 monthly Spotify listeners.

“There was a certain freedom that came when I realised I was now writing these songs for me to sing and when that happened, I started writing the best music I’ve ever written,” he said.

His 2020 debut single ‘I’m Doing Fine’, co-written with DNA, dealt with men suffering mental health problems and insisting to concerned friends they were fine.

It gathered two million global streams.

His current single ‘Wrinkles’, of conversations with his grandparents about their early days, has hit 1.1 million streams to date.

Waters plays a gig this Friday (March 19) with Maddy May at Howler in Melbourne.