Micah Thunder uses his upbringing for influence and his personal experiences for inspiration while crafting his sound and lyrics.
The innovative musician attributes his songwriting and love for music to his family.
“My dad is a dancer, and my earliest memories are dancing with him in the kitchen to music … just a wide variety of really good rhythmic music,” Thunder said.
He said his extended family also has talented musicians who exposed him to an extensive catalog and helped him incorporate different beats into his own style.
Though he learned the piano in his youth and was around music, understanding theory was difficult. Yet, he still managed to progress and write his own songs.
“I knew I wanted to move more towards feeling music and being in the groove and watching people perform,” he said.
Thunder will open for True Story House at Echoes on Friday, Dec. 9.
During quarantine is when Thunder really started to perfect his style with the help of Albuquerque’s supportive music scene. He reached out to other local musicians for assistance and advice, and the response was tremendous. From his experience, he said he approaches his music with humility and understands the value other musicians and producers add to his progression as a writer.
After he started collaborating with artists he created cross-genre songs.
“I like to bend my genre, I don’t want to get stuck being in just one type of music,” Thunder said.
The singer-songwriter began releasing singles in 2020. Though he produced an upbeat pop rock sound, his lyrics were deep with a tendency to touch on the meaning of existence and the afterlife, which directly related to his situation at the time.
“I was living out of my car and at a low point in my life, and I just felt like to create and to capture what I was going through helped me to release it,” he explained. “There’s more existential themes in my earlier music. … But I also know that I’m capable of writing music that’s uplifting and more about everyday things.”
This transition is on display in his first full album, “Pioneer,” which was released on Nov. 4.
“I want to see what’s cool, what people are in to, but I don’t want to compromise my own vision of what I want to be making at the same time,” he said about the album. “I felt like I was trying to strike that balance of what I’d done in the past and where I was trying to go.”
Thunder’s eclectic influences and inspirations can be heard throughout “Pioneer.”
His music drifts between folk, rock, reggaeton and pop, but there are also hints of Spanish guitar on the record. With the help of producer Edgar Wonder, the structure of each song appeases the modern listener, including the rhythmic escalation in “Science of Love” – which sounds like it could be presently in rotation on mainstream radio.
One constant throughout “Pioneer” is the use of the saxophone, courtesy of local musician Alex Alundy.
“Sax has always kind of been my jam in some ways,” Thunder said. “There’s something really hard about that sound, so I’ve just always wanted it.”
Thunder has put a lot of effort into his music, and his background and personal experiences are shared through his style.
He said, “I really like having something that sounds like it comes from my environment, that it’s not just made in a vacuum. … I like keeping it playful.”