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Michael Tiernan

Music may have saved his life. After surviving cancer at age 16, music became his helpmate in processing the ‘big questions’ that came to him at an early age. At 18, he took his newly found passion for life and music to traveling the country in a van with a group of wacky Catholic ‘hippies’ giving spiritual retreats to young people. College found him criss-crossing through Europe with his guitar. It was through hanging with monks deep in desert monasteries and, later, living in the Vatican as a seminarian in his 20’s on the way to becoming a priest, that he discovered his true calling was that of a songwriter. He left the seminary and landed in his native Southern California, beginning his quest to re-invent himself as an artist. Years later, he is now a seasoned performer and award-winning songwriter. What would a person with such a story have to say about life? Plenty, especially when magnified through the prism of a song.

Meet Michael Tiernan. Through the experiences of what could be ten lifetimes, Michael is an artist who has plunged into and explored the deep spaces of personal and worldly conflict, the beauty of love and nature, as well as the meaning of suffering and pervasive unhappiness that threatens our human experience on all sides. In his music, he resurfaces from these depths with a positive yet real outlook for all of us, while taking us on a sonic joy ride through the many genres he straddles in his music.

Throughout Tiernan’s career, he has seamlessly melded elements of folk, reggae, bluegrass, blues, soul, and modern pop rock into his own brand of acoustic guitar-centric music. Regarding Michael’s most recent release, the San Diego Union Tribune’s George Varga notes, “On his fifth and most accomplished album, the 12-song “Inside Your Head,” the usually upbeat San Diego singer-songwriter and former seminary student also explores more gritty themes. Some of them are conveyed in the titles to such absorbing songs as “Dark Heart” and “Rage.” The result is the most musically and lyrically varied work of Tiernan’s career.” The San Diego Troubadour notes, “Inside Your Head” is relentlessly catchy, slickly produced pop that reflects Michael Tiernan’s ability as a master of hooks-and it has something to say.”

2017 finds Michael currently set to release his 6th studio album on March 25th with an EP entitled “Love and a Gun”, produced by current 2017 Grammy nominee, Andre de Santanna. In “Love and a Gun”, Tiernan dives deep into the often heart-wrenching events of the past couple years both in the world at large and in his own life. He vacillates between tender acoustic love songs for his kids, to blue-eyed soul playful love ballads, to all-out rock-driven criticisms of modern dilemmas such as war, gun control, and misuse of technology. Michael is also currently recording a new EP album to be released later this year, as well as working on a retrospective album that will be a compilation of selections from his last six albums, remixed in an electronic style, performed by the artist/producer, 9 Theory.

Bart Mendoza from the San Diego reader comments, “Tiernan’s rep grows with each release. Crucial to his success is that he’s a great all-around entertainer, from musicianship to between-song banter. All of his albums to date have won or been nominated for music awards around the country, but it’s his live set that’s helped Tiernan become one the area’s most popular singer-songwriters."

- 2-time Los Angeles Music Awards winner for Winner for: Male Singer/Songwriter of the Year and Triple-A Album of the Year
- Songwriter of the Year, Pacific Songwriting Competition
- International Acoustic Music Awards Male Artist of the Year Runner-Up
- International Songwriting Competition Finalist
- Great American Song Contest Finalist
- Best of San Diego, San Diego Magazine
- Falcon Ridge Festival Songwriting Finalist
- Kerrville New Folk Songwriting Competition Finalist