Senior impresses with musical drive
Among Michael McInerney’s projects in 2017: album, score, rock opera
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The music program at LT covers plenty of ground—between band and orchestra, theater performances, vocal groups, radio shows and various other personal projects among students, there’s no shortage of melody in the student body. Michael McInerney ‘17 has taken full advantage of these past four years to soak in all of the musical inspiration from LT and beyond.
“Think of the most eccentric, musically talented person you know, and place them back in 1976. That’s Michael McInerney,” WLTL General Manager Chris Thomas will tell you.
Those experiences are coming to fruition for McInerney this year, with a number of big projects incoming from the musician and singer. The secret to such rapid creation? Consumption, he says.
“I find inspiration literally everywhere,” McInerney said. “I’ve written songs from lines I read in books, and I like to incorporate themes and techniques of particular poetry and art. I really dig the whole nature-based Romantic movement, as well as Beat Poetry and nonsense sort of abstractions.”
McInerney has been writing music since before he was a freshman, but many of his projects are culminating in his final semester at LT. He will record his first album later this spring, is working with Hunter Pendleton ‘17 on the score for Pendleton’s upcoming movie and has begun the earliest stages of writing a rock opera (one of the ongoing pet projects in his spare time).
“Sometimes I go a few weeks without writing songs, [but] sometimes I write multiple songs in a week,” McInerney said about his dense musical schedule. “I guess it all depends on how inspired I am and how busy I am.”
In addition to his personal projects, McInerney is a member of senior Madrigals and varsity choir and also performed in LT’s February production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” as Judas, one of the two leads. In his wide experience with these activities, McInerney has brought unique outside influences.
“The biggest thing is that Michael knows how to produce a rock and roll sound that a lot of kids his age don’t,” theater teacher Eugene O’Reilly said after working with McInerney as the director of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” “I don’t want to compare him to Lady Gaga but I’m comparing him to Lady Gaga, who can do almost any style, and that’s what I see in him.”
McInerney’s talents extend far beyond performing. He hosts his radio show Psychedelica Britannica every Monday on WLTL and writes prose and poetry, some of which will be published in this school year’s Menagerie literary magazine. Throughout all of his creative work, McInerney has found new ways to express his creativity.
“Everything Michael does is always thinking over the top,” Thomas said. “How can things be more creative, how can more people to enjoy it, how he can stand out in a unique way. I think he brings that to his music, to his life, and also to his radio show.”
This spring, McInerney expects to record his first album. Though he has been performing in professional spaces for years and recorded several demos at home and WLTL, this will be his first work in a professional studio. The album will be most directly influenced by Michael’s long history with older rock and blues.
“Modern music has a very distinct sound, but sometimes it has a tendency to get a bit homogenous and sterile,” McInerney said. “Raw energy and undeterred creativity matter a lot to me, and I find them especially in the works of the old rock ‘n roll masters.”
The album is expected to be completed by the end of the school year, and then released over the summer.
Planning to attend Belmont University next fall, McInerney expects to feel right at home in Nashville.
“I love that there are so many opportunities to both further my abilities and my career, what with it being the Music City and all, and I also like all the old, retired rock stars walking around,” he said. Laughing, he added, “Oh, and I can’t forget the barbecue. I could probably eat catfish forever.”