EP: I'm Just Happy to Be Here

(Pre-Release info)

This EP marks Michelle's first release in 7 years, and her first release of new original music in 11 years. During her hiatus, Michelle homeschooled her son, who needed a change of educational scenery for a while, and this time segued into the pandemic. When the world shut down, Michelle tackled electronic music production.

Immersing herself in her own world, Michelle began merging electronic-production values, jazz sensibilities, and Latin and Brazilian rhythmic roots, that ultimately culminated in this EP. Citing Bonobo and Jazzanova as primary production influences, Michelle offers up electronic music that veers into future jazz, broken beat, and house territory.

The EP’s first single, “New Brighton,” is a whimsical bossa-tinged groove that recalls a rare feeling of freedom during the restriction of shutdown. “Be Right Back-Remixed” re-imagines a song from Michelle’s previous release, critically acclaimed acoustic Latin Jazz album New Beginning (2013); the resulting reggaeton-inspired bop features Kristen Strom’s original sax lines, but chopped and flipped into a new, playful melody, a process that symbolizes Michelle picking up where she left off artistically while adding a new twist. “Alone Together” ventures into leftfield and shifts between duple and 6/8 time, an electronic version of the composition Michelle created as a result of being awarded a composer’s grant from San Jose Jazz in 2023.

Coming as complete surprise, the grant award made Michelle realize that people in her community still valued her artistic contributions; it had been ten years since Michelle released original music (shortly after releasing New Beginning, Michelle began advocating for her son and ultimately homeschooled him to best meet educational challenges he was facing). This grant, plus her son’s newfound educational success and independence, gave Michelle the resolve to release some of her electronic pieces; the result is I’m Just Happy to Be Here. Given her backstory, Michelle’s choice of EP title is clear.

It would not be sincere at this point to release another acoustic jazz album; that is not where Michelle’s musical explorations have led her over the last few years. Hopeful that the new music will resonate with listeners of her past works and garner new audiences, Michelle offers up this latest collection of works as yet another "new beginning" of sorts. As she navigates this new chapter, she remains grounded in her rich musical heritage and driven by a passion for exploration and innovation.

More details coming soon!

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