New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
Grammy Award-winner and 5X Native American Music
Award-winner MICKI FREE has been on the cutting-edge of the music industry from the start of his career. Having been signed to a management deal with Gene Simmons
and Diana Ross
that launched his career, the singer, songwriter and incendiary guitarist joined the legendary R&B group Shalamar where he became friends with Prince. After his departure in the early 90's, FREE continued his solo career appearing on both the stage and in the studio with iconic artists including Carlos
Jackson, KISS, Little
Steven Van Zandt, Aerosmith, Neil Young
and Bill Wyman, just to name a few. His most recent album, TURQUOISE BLUE, was released via the Dark Idol Music
label, distributed by Burnside Distribution / The Orchard / Sony, on February 4. It features guest musicians including Gary Clark Jr., Steve Stevens, Christone "Kingfish" Ingram and Cindy Blackman Santana, the latter of whom appears alongside fellow Santana
band members Karl Perazzo and Andy Vargas on the riveting track "World On Fire."
FREE has released a new remixed version of the track, "World On Fire (Warrior Remix)," and has today debuted a music video which highlights the current state of international affairs with clips showcasing turmoil across the globe. He further elaborates on the song's meaning and the video's imagery in a Q&A featured at the bottom of the page.
Q&A with MICKI FREE:
- Can you share the main message of "World On Fire
" and how you developed the lyrics?
FREE: "To me the message is very clear in my song; I was inspired by all the turmoil going on in our world today; Roe v. Wade, the war in Ukraine, BLM, Native Americans fighting for water rights and ALL injustices happening worldwide. I literally wrote the lyrics based on current events happening in our world today; Covid, brother fighting against brother, racism, smashing a women's right to choose, war, famine, prejudice, any and all things that moved me."
- How did this inspire the music video?
"I literally wanted to bring my words to life in the video. To show images of the world today and all the injustices we are facing. My video is just a small part, a small mirror shall we say of my interpretation of the world today."
- You enlisted guest musicians Cindy Blackman Santana, Karl Perazzo and Andy Vargas who are all currently players in Santana's band. Can you tell us how they came to be on the track and the impact they had on writing its music?
is one of my biggest idols and friends; ever since I was a boy, I've been inspired by his music and guitar playing. To actually call him my friend and jam with him now is a honor and dream come true.
Cindy Blackman-Santana was in my band American Horse Trio; she is my sister and dear friend, the bridge/link between myself and Carlos. The song 'World on Fire' is actually my musical homage to Carlos
Santana, his feel, style and messaging. I became 'Santana Family,' as Cindy and Carlos
call it, with my connection with Santana, and jamming with Carlos
at his residency at The House of Blues in Las Vegas
and joining him onstage worldwide whenever possible. My dream was to have Carlos
play guitar on it as well, but he was busy recording his last album. I'm playing ALL the guitars on the song. Andy Vargas and Karl P. are my brothers as well. I asked them to guest on this track; their influences help give it the feel I was going for."
- "World On Fire
" is featured on your latest solo album TURQOUISE BLUE released earlier this year. The album highlights your reverence for blues-rock genre with some slight R&B undertones. How do you feel your past career influenced the music on this album and what separates it from previous releases?
"I've loved blues-rock as long as I can remember…the style of combining blues-based riffs and rock together moves my soul…I am driven by guitar tone.
Bands like Santana, ZZ Top, Bad Company, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones
and Aerosmith, to name just a few, have always been an inspiration to me. Their swagger and style and songs molded my guitar playing style. Joining the group Shalamar helped me understand R&B at its finest. Turquoise Blue to me is my best album to date, bringing together all my eclectic influences and style. I wrote the whole album during Covid when we were all confined to our homes. I did what I do best-write music. I was inspired to tell a story through my songs."
- You've just released a remixed version of "World On Fire (Warrior Remix)," what changes did you make to the song and why?
"The new 'Warrior Remix' is a bit more aggressive, and the Latin feel to the song is more apparent, bringing the percussion and solo guitar more upfront and center. Doing this adds more groove to the track, inviting the listener to move and dance.
I added a Spanish guitar intro solo to the song as well to introduce the listener to the journey we will be taking together on a Latin-inspired magic carpet. I really wanted the listener to connect with my Santana
influence in my guitar playing and percussive rhythms."
FREE was born in West Texas
of mixed blood Cherokee/Comanche Native American and Irish descent. Using his success in the music industry, FREE has advocated for the Native American community and created the Native Music
Rocks program, which gives Native American musicians performance opportunities. He also founded the first Native American record company (Native Music
Rocks Records). In addition to his guitar-driven blues rock albums, FREE has mastered the Native American flute and has recorded five flute music albums.
FREE was praised by American Blues Scene on TURQUOISE BLUE which stated: "He (FREE) has taken his influences, electrified them even further, added his own Native flair and created an album that belongs on everyone's player. At this time, between a global pandemic and the brink of war, 'Free-dom' is on everyone's mind, and Micki is leading the way.