Michael Blume can be described in many ways — singer, rapper, activist, but never boring. The New Jersey native was in DC recently to entertain and inform a packed Union Stage crowd. The Yale graduate used the platform to deliver his style of R&B and rap with a dose of progressive commentary.
On “R U Mad,” Michael rapped and chided the intolerant, asking the question “are u mad that I’m gay?” After the song he acknowledged that many in the audience probably are not bothered by his sexuality, but the current US administration doesn’t care about black lives, transgender people, or immigrants.
Blume is a socially conscious artist that packed a message in his music — but don’t get it twisted! He was all about having a good time. He glided, danced, and bounced around the stage, taking every opportunity to connect with the audience.
Midway through “I Am Not a Trend (No Rules),” Michael did a bit of call-and-response, imploring the audience to join him in singing “I got no rules, bitch.” The conductor of soul wasn’t convinced. “Come’on, it sounds like you still got rules…” he playfully taunted the crowd. As an entertainer, he clearly made his own way and that freedom came through in his performance.
Michael took a moment to step away from center stage to slide behind the keyboard to play “Manufactured Love.” The piano-driven R&B song explores materialism. He told the audience that today we have become more concerned about the things that we can buy and not enough about taking care of the people we love. He didn’t come off as preachy but instead as an honest friend sharing his observations.
“Manufactured Love” and “Colors,” each with more 1.5 million streams on Spotify, launched Michael’s career. “Colors,” the bass heavy R&B track, was anchored by Michael’s soulful voice.
Listen to “Colors,” by Michael Blume on SoundCloud:
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On “Lifting You,” Michael sang to the mostly college age crowd that “I see the beauty inside you, but it’s worthless till you see it too, you got to love yourself first.” It’s graduation season and Michael was singing his commencement speech. His message was strong and melodious, and one you’ll want to put on repeat.
Michael, on tour with sibling duo Lawrence, will perform in Los Angeles on May 24, then San Francisco on May 25, before closing out the tour in Chicago on May 26.
Here are some photos of Michael Blume performing at Union Stage on May 17, 2018. All photos copyright and courtesy of Will Colbert.