Mike City-Presents The Feel Good Agenda Volume 1.

Label: BBE.

Mike City’s big break came seventeen years ago in 2000, when he wrote and produced Carl Thomas’ number one hit I Wish. This proved to be a game-changer for Mike City. Suddenly, people within the music industry started to take notice of Mike City, who had been forging a career as a songwriter and producer. However, writing and producing a number one gave Mike City’s career a major boost.

Soon, Mike City was being asked to work with some the major names in hip hop, R&B and soul. This included Brandy, Rihanna, Angie Stone and Jamie Foxx. Mike City was going up in the world.

The rise and rise of Mike City continued when he cowrote Heard It All Before for Sunshine Anderson. It gave her a top ten hit on both sides of the Atlantic in 2001. Heard It All Before was one of five song Mike City cowrote for Sunshine Anderson’s 2001 debut album Your Woman. When it was released it sold over 750,000 copies in America and was certified gold. Mike City seemed to have the Midas touch

Philly born singer, songwriter and producer Mike City had also come a long way in a short space of time. He started off as a singer, but later switched to drums and bass, then decided to try keyboards. This was all good experience for when he launched his production career. However, recently, Mike City returned with his long-awaited sophomore album Presents The Feel Good Agenda Volume 1 on BBE. It’s the followup to 1998s City Limits. It must seem like another country to Mike City.

Having written hit singles for Carl Thomas and Sunshine Anderson, suddenly, Mike City was much in-demand, and soon, was writing songs and producing some of the biggest names in hip hop, R&B and soul. This included writing a trio of songs for Lala Hathaway’s fourth album Outrun The Sky in 2004. A year later, Mike City penned Like It Was Yesterday for Brandy’s fourth album Afrodisiac. Then in 2006, wrote Dem Haters for Rihanna’s sophomore album A Girl like Me. Mike City had come a long way since he wrote and produced I Wish for Carl Thomas.

2006 saw Mike City was reunited with Sunshine Anderson. He was one of the co-producers of her sophomore album Sunshine At Midnight, and wrote four tracks. When Sunshine At Midnight was released, the album sold around 175,000 copies. There was no second gold disc for Sunshine Anderson. However, the success continued for Mike City.

He worked on Brandy’s 2008 album Human, and the same year, wrote Say It Ain’t So for Musiq Soulchild.  2009 saw Mike City contribute It Wasn’t Me to Urban Mystic’s album GRIII: Old Skool 2 Nu Skool, and produce a track for rapper Mack 10’s album Soft White. This brought to an end a decade where Mike City had spent working with some of the biggest names in hip hop, R&B and soul. He must have been hoping this success would continue.

The new decade started as the old one ended, with Mike City working with some big names artists during 2011. He cowrote and produced Shut Up for Ledisi’s fifth studio album Pieces Of Me. Mike City also worked on Lalah Hathaway sixth album Where It All Begins; Anthony Hamilton’s fifth Back to Love; Carl Thomas’ fourth album Conquer. 2011 had been a busy year for Mike City.

So was 2012, with Mike City much in demand. By then, he had established a reputation as a versatile songwriter and producer, who was equally at home working with hip hop, Nu Soul, pop, R&B and soul artists. Mike was known for his distinctive vocal arrangements and melodic production style. It was no surprise that he was asked to work with many high-profile artists. He contributed two songs to Dwele’s album Greater Than One, while another two of Mike’s songs found their way onto Angie Stone’s sixth studio album Rich Girl. He also found time to work with Faith Evans and Mashonda. However, the biggest name he worked with during 2012 was Brandy. Mike City cowrote and produced Music which featured on the Deluxe Edition of Two Eleven. As 2012 drew to a close, Mike City had enjoyed another successful year.

The only problem with working on so many albums was that Mike City was never getting the chance to record the followup to City Lights. While this was frustrating, Mike City was a high-profile songwriter and producer. This was something many kids back in the Philly would’ve dreamt of. To them, Mike City was living the dream, and would continue to do so.

In 2013, Mike City got the opportunity to work with Maysa, who was now one of the leading lights of the Nu Soul scene. She had previously been involved in the smooth jazz scene and worked with British R&B and soul band Incognito. However, she was about to record her tenth solo album since debut Maysa in 1995. Mike City wrote This Much for Blue Velvet Soul. It gave Maysa her most successful album since Metamorphosis in 2008.  Playing a small part in the album’s success was Mike City.

As 2014 dawned, Mike City began work on two high-profile projects. He penned Give It for Leela James 2014 album Fall For You, and then co-produced two songs on Faith Evans’ album Incomparable. Despite spending much of his time writing and producing for other people, Mike City found the time to collaborate with house producer Mark Francis.

He had been looking for someone to add vocals on his two tracks on his London Girls’ EP, and realised that Mike City fitted the bill. Mike City laid down the vocals on London Girls and It Keeps Things Interesting. These two tracks, became part of the Mike Francis’ London Girls EP, which was released in December 2014. This proved to be the first of three collaborations between the two men.

When Mike Francis was recording his Time Moves On EP, Mike City was drafted in to add vocals on Time Moves On and My Finger. These two songs became part of the Time Moves On EP, which was released in April 2015. However, the Mike Francis and Mike City partnership would return in 2016.

Ten months later, Mike Francis was preparing to release his I Need Your Love EP. Mike’s vocals featured on three of the four tracks, including the two mixes of I Need Your Love and Taking Over. These songs were released in February 2016 as the I Need Your Love EP. Mike’s return behind the microphone must have set him thinking about recording his sophomore album.

Before that, Mike City produced Trouble with Love for Amerie’s Drive EP, which was released in May 2016. By then, his star was in the ascendancy.

Recently, Mike City had been writing, producing and adding vocals to soulful house tracks. He was regarded as one of the top producers in the soulful house scene. However, Mike City was a versatile producer, who was capable of producing quality music across a variety of genres. Previously, he had worked on hip hop, Nu Soul, pop, R&B, rap, soul and now soulful house. Mike City was a versatile producer. Now he decided to put his versatility and experience to good use on his much-anticipated sophomore album, which eventually became Presents The Feel Good Agenda Volume 1.

For the recording of his sophomore album, Mike City was able to call on some of the artists he had worked with over the last sixteen years. Mike City made calls to Maysa, Dwele, Carl Thomas and Crystal Johnson. Among the other names Mike City invited to work on his sophomore album were Teedra Moses, Terri Walker and Junior, who was one of the biggest names on British soul scene. These artists joined Mike City and played their part in recording Presents The Feel Good Agenda Volume 1, which was recently released by BBE.

Presents The Feel Good Agenda Volume 1 opens with I Rock Wit U which features Dwele. It bursts into life with pounding drums, stabs of synths and percussion setting the scene for Dwele’s tender vocal. Mike City seems keen to make an impression, and meanwhile, carefully crafts the arrangement. Drums provide the heartbeat, while synths flit in and out, and are augmented by tough keyboards, percussion and whistles. It’s the perfect backdrop for Dwele’s soulful vocal on this delicious slice of sunshine soul.

Straight away, Everybody Loves A Winner showcases a melodic and memorable sound. Filters are added to the shimmering keyboards and big, bold drums before Mike’s vocal enters. Soon, he’s joined by a funky bass and stabs of horns. Later, strings and harmonies are added as the arrangement ebbs and flows. By then, a melodic, anthem-in-waiting is unfolding.

100 Miles features vocalist Carl Thomas. His vocal is ushered in by  a pounding 4/4 beat while glistening, mesmeric keyboards are drizzled across the arrangement. Soon, another layer of keyboards add a contrast, while Carl adds an impassioned, hopeful vocal. As He even answers his own call, and seamlessly the vocals melt into one, and play their part in smooth and memorable slice of Nu Soul.

As drums provide the heartbeat, a funky bass, keyboards and even some sci-fi sounds combine on When I Luv. Soon, Faith Evans is delivering soulful, sultry vocal and is accompanied by Mike City. Their vocals work well, and sit together in the mix. Just like other tracks, the drums make their presence felt. They sound as if they’ve been mixed with the dance-floor in mind. However, they don’t overpower the arrangement. Especially, the holy trinity of the keyboards, harmonies and vocals, which play their part in the sound and success of the track. No wonder, with diva Faith Evans rolling back the years.

There’s almost an eighties sound to the keyboards and drums, before a whoosh signals the arrival of Teedra Moses’ vocal on Been Too Afraid. Reverb has been applied to her vocal, and is used subtly, before she duets with Mike. By then, a squelchy bass synth plays its part in the retro, old school arrangement. However, it’s Teedra Moses’ heartfelt and soulful vocal that steals the show, on a track that shows another side to Mike City’s production style.

Filters have been applied to the synths as hi-hats hiss and are joined by thunderous drums. They’re soon joined by Maysa who duets with Mike, on this dance-floor friendly song. Maysa also rolls back the years, and is one of the stars of the album as she delivers a joyous, soulful vocal. It’s as if Mike is spurred on, and raises his game. They’re joined by harmonies, hypnotic, jagged synths, an electric piano and percussion. Together, they play their part in one of the most memorable and melodic songs on the album.

The tempo increases on the piano led Up To It, where Mike takes charge of the vocal. This time, the drums are mixed further back leaving space for the piano and growling bass synth. It doesn’t overpower the rest of the arrangement, which later includes another synth and a sprinkling of percussion. Still, the piano leads the way, and proves the perfect accompaniment for Mike. Indeed, the song would work just as well, if not better with the piano, drums and even subtle percussion accompanying the vocal. Meanwhile, Mike continues to deliver what are some of the best lyrics on the album, which are like a mini soap opera set melodic and hooky music.

Layers of drums and washes of crystalline and sci-fi synths usher in Crystal Johnson’s vocal on More Of Me. Soon, she’s joined by Mike and their vocals sit well together. Meanwhile, a growling, pulsating bass synth has been added to the multilayered, dance-floor friendly song.

Washes of synths are joined by a melancholy horn as Here Together unfolds. Soon, bass synth is added as drums crack, as Mike delivers the vocal. He’s joined by Terri Walker, and soon,  her coquettish vocal is transforming the song. It’s the final piece in the musical jigsaw. Suddenly, a  hook-laden, dance-floor friendly slice of bedroom soul has taken shape, where music’s past and present unite.

The name Junior is a blast from music’s past. Back in the eighties, he was one of the stars of the British soul scene. He makes a comeback on Sang and Dance. A growling, buzzing bass synth cuts through the arrangement, before horns soar above the arrangement and drums crack. They’re joined by Junior, whose accompanied by soulful harmonies. Later, horns and pizzicato strings are added and accompany Junior. Latterly, vibes are added and with the pizzicato strings play their part of another slice of dance-floor friendly, soulful music.

Closing Presents The Feel Good Agenda Volume 1 is You’re In Heaven, which features Lalah Hathaway. Keyboards shimmer and join with synths, a funky bass and marching drums. Soon, Mike delivers a heartfelt vocal, before he’s joined by Lalah. Straight away, she ups the ante. That comes as no surprise, as she is one of the most underrated Nu Soul singers. They duet, and later, she enjoys her moment in the spotlight. After that, drums, bass and synths continue to provide the backdrop for the vocals, as they deliver what’s best described as soul with a social conscience.

Nineteen years have passed since Mike City released his debut album Limits in 1998. Much has happened to the Philly born singer, songwriter, musician and producer, including working with some of the biggest names in music. Some of them feature on Presents The Feel Good Agenda Volume 1, which marks the return of Mike City as a solo artist. 

With the help of Maysa, Lalah Hathaway Faith Evans, Crystal Johnson and Dwele, Mike City recorded his much-anticipated sophomore album Presents The Feel Good Agenda Volume 1. It finds Mike City and friends combining elements of Nu Soul and R&B with funk, soulful house, hip hop, electronica and sometimes, a much more traditional soul sound on Presents The Feel Good Agenda Volume 1. It’s essentially a mixture of music’s past and present. 

Mostly, though, Presents The Feel Good Agenda Volume 1 is a 21st Century album that showcases Mike City’s skills as a songwriter, producer, singer and musician. He wrote, produced, played on, added vocals and mixed Presents The Feel Good Agenda Volume 1. Mike City is a talented 21st Century musician, who has come a long way since he released his debut solo album City Limits. Since then, he’s rubbed shoulders with the great and good of music and has over 200 credits to his name. It’s no wonder that his solo career has taken a back seat. Thankfully, he found the time to write and record the twelve tracks on Presents The Feel Good Agenda Volume 1.

It includes some of the great and good of music that Mike City has worked with over the past two decades. Mike City has written and produced songs for many of these artists. They return the favour on Presents The Feel Good Agenda Volume 1, which marks the return of Mike City. Along with his talented friends, which includes musical A-listers, and the occasional name from music’s distant past, Mike City returns with his carefully crafted, long-awaited and much-anticipated sophomore album Presents The Feel Good Agenda Volume 1 which showcases the multi-talented Philly born singer, songwriter, musician and producer.

Mike City-Presents The Feel Good Agenda Volume 1.

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