Take 5: Mikey Votano

Australian music artist & performer Mikey Votano releases his first UK single ‘Shut Up & Dance’ –  a uniquely clever cover of Walk The Moon’s hit, in a vintage style of 1950s rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly & blues. The video for the track shows workers stranded on COVID-19 free cruise ships, who were turned away from many countries, dancing along to the track. These include 63 people from 13 countries & 6 continents and consist of dancers, acrobats, musicians. Interesting! We decided to find out more with a Take 5…

When did you realise that you wanted to be a music artist? What or who has inspired you ? 

I was in Sydney, playing this tiny jazz club with an even tinier stage, sandwiched between too many musicians, the house was packed with dancing, sweating bodies having the best time.  I knew then I wanted to be an artist, to have the chance to create something exciting, beautiful, something that evoked emotional response.  Hopefully I’ve managed at least a little of that. 
I was always in trouble at school, mental health was a taboo subject & I was the disruptive ADHD kid.  I had a run of music teachers who saw me & what I had to offer, not just symptoms of a chemical imbalance I was born with.  They instilled a passion for music which completely changed my life. But, if you’re talking about artists, I love me some old school vintage swing, soul & rock ’n’ roll.  Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, Roy Orbison, everything Motown, anything that grooves hard & feels great.   

Who, living or dead, would you dream of collaborating with?

Quincy Jones. The man is a genius. He played with Elvis, arranged for Frank Sinatra, produced for Diana Ross. That’d be something pretty special.

Tell us about your single –’Shut Up & Dance ‘-  why record that song ? Tell us about the video too!

It’s a premake of Walk The Moon’s hit, ’Shut Up and Dance’, if… it had been recorded in the 50s with a sexy saxophone solo.  The tune never fails to get me on the dance floor & I wanted to recreate it for lovers of rock n roll, especially those who love to swing dance.  Filming for it’s music video was cancelled earlier this year as the world began to change.  If it wasn’t for a whole group of fans, 63 of them spanning 6 continents, the video wouldn’t be ready today.  These champions filmed themselves dancing, singing & celebrating times that were &, once safe, will be again.  I couldn’t be more humbled by their efforts.  It’s a track I’m super happy with & a video I know will make you smile.  

Tell us three things you love about the city/town you live in, and why (SYDNEY)……

Sydney, Australia is home, it’s where I grew up but I don’t really live there.  I spend half the year based out of Sydney & half out of London, UK, yet tours on land & sea mean I spend less & less time in either location.  I love that being an artist allows me to explore the world, meet new people & see new places but I will always love Sydney for the following reasons.

  • It’s where my family are. I’m half Italian which means I have a lot of them & there’s never a dull moment being home.  I miss them all immensely while away.     
  • It’s a multicultural city.  It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’re into it’s an accepting beautiful place.  Which also means you can find a pretty decent feed no matter what you’re after. Dumplings, Pizza, Burgers, Curries, Tapas – Sydney does it all pretty good. 
  • Sydney Harbour.  If it’s not the most beautiful harbour in the world it’s pretty damn close. 

What are you most looking forward to this year? 
Getting back out there.  I miss performing so much.  I feel very fortunate to be able to do what I do, my job is who I am & not being able to do that has been more difficult than I anticipated.  I’m thankful for my health & the health of those I love & once we know those most at risk will be safe I look forward to getting out there & taking the stage once more.