Inside Joke with Micah Davis
Micah Davis want’s to let you in on an inside joke.
A junior at Old Dominion University, the title of his newest album, “Inside Joke,” is set to release this summer. What would be an amazing feat for anyone is surprisingly the least interesting thing about Davis. Gifted to play several instruments by ear at age eight, proficient in software and inspired by “The Social Network,” he has an infectious desire to learn, create and make connections with people.
Today, at 20-years-old, Davis, who performs by the moniker “Masego,” describes himself as someone who “just naturally creates.” He writes, plays, mixes and produces all of his own music and videos, while also working with artists who approach him.
His interests branched from music into software and he is developing an app, due this spring, that uses search engine optimization (SEO) and social networking to connect artists, musicians and communities with their local music scene and venues.
Although, for Davis, music began as a solution to a problem, it quickly transformed into a vehicle he is using to arrive at his greater ambition of affecting change in the world through production, technology and connectivity.
Davis’ creative journey began when he was eight. His parents, who are pastors, were having a hard time finding dependable musicians to lead their worship services. He hated to see his mother upset over something as wonderful as music. As a child who was used to knocking out beats using pens and the like, he thought that with some real drumsticks, maybe he could play and solve his parent’s problem.
After sitting in on a rehearsal and listening to a simple beat, he said, “Show me what playing this actually looks like,” and watched his mother tap out the song for him on the piano. He immediately began to play along on the drums, and never stopped.
Soon after realizing his natural abilities, Davis branched into playing the saxophone and the piano, also by ear. Since then he has led many performances, in churches and other venues, including ODU.
Although he’s never had formal training and doesn’t know all of his scales, he has continually built upon his talent by practicing along to the radio and learning from the musicians he meets.
“It just progressed. There’s not really a rule to it. I just naturally started playing,” Davis said. “As I hear someone better than me I just say, okay, sponge from that and get better exponentially.”
His describes his current music as a mixture of jazz fusion, EDM and alternative R&B with tracks that display his singing and rapping abilities. “Inside Joke” is Davis’ second album and most serious project to date.
It was conceived from a trend he noticed among himself and his friends. He realized that their favorite songs were the ones made them feel connected to the music by slipping in little nuances that they could later turn into inside jokes.
“Nowadays, the albums I enjoy are the ones where it’s just something that only me and my group of friends can understand. Like, ‘oh you sampled Kevin Hart’ or ‘you did “Oh kill ‘em” there.’ Stuff that just makes us feel like we’re a part of it,” Davis said.
“I want the album to be something serious; more than ‘here, this is what I have to say.’ I really want it to be where the people that hear it feel a part of something greater. I’m such a nerd when it comes to production stuff. I really want to take the time to make it an experience. I produce music but I also want to involve people.”
In addition to being a musician and producer, Davis is also a lover of software with an interest in using technology to solve social issues, much like one of his inspirations, Mark Zuckerburg, the creator of Facebook.
“I want to affect change… He [Zuckerburg] saw a need for change and knew how to fix it. I’m not going to create Facebook. That’s the goal though, so I need to start doing stuff like that,” Davis said.
He has taken his first step towards doing that in developing an app called “Network,” which is designed to help musicians and artists make connections with their communities. “Network” uses a database that gets information about venues and shows through social networking sites, accessing the places that locals love.
“I just made it where the database is what you want to hear. When you search ‘open mic night,’ Google brings up whatever spots are best SEO’d. The people that you don’t hear about are these local places, these hot spots in town that everybody is raving about on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook,” Davis said.
“So what I did was, I made it where the database gets information from social networking sites. What we’re talking about, which is what you want to hear about if you’re a musician.”
After this semester, Davis plans to take a hiatus from his formal education at ODU in pursuit of more hands on experience and perhaps a program focused tightly on music production in cities like Los Angeles and Atlanta. His long term vision includes continuing to make and produce music, technological entrepreneurship via apps and websites and travel to teach the valuable skill of networking to other people.
“If you have an idea there are people to help you get it done. My phrase of the year is ‘making connections and building relationships.’ If you can display yourself as, ‘Hey, I’m just eager to learn, eager to get better. I don’t think I’m the best at all.’ People are just like okay, I’d like to teach you this,” Davis said.
“People should stop being in cliques. Everybody’s in a clique. I would rather have it where we can have our close knit group of friends but still coexist and create and make something better. If I can just relay that message to people as I travel, that would be awesome.”
You might see Micah Davis around campus playing a saxophone or occasionally leading a musical event. An easy going guy with an invested interest in networking, he would love to connect with you. To learn more about him and his music, visit his SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/MasegoMusic.
By Adrienne Mayfield