COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — After 10 years performing in Columbus, a local musician moved to Atlanta to start a new chapter. This Friday, Mike Jerel makes a return to the city he calls a second home to “blow the block up” with soulful sounds.
Jerel is the first performer in Uptown Columbus’ Fall Friday Night Concert Series.
“I want there to be so much joy in the air,” said Jerel on a Zoom ahead of the concert.
Originally from Ashburn, Georgia, the musician is a Columbus State University (CSU) alumnus and spent the better part of the last decade entertaining in the area as a solo performer and with Tower of Power, for which he is lead singer.
Friday’s concert is a free community event held on the 1000 block of Broadway starting at 7 p.m. According to Jerel, he will be performing original songs, covers and a few hits from Tower of Power for local fans, although the band won’t be with him.
Jerel said, “It’ll be stuff that I like to sing the most.”
Generally, Jerel prefers to perform what he calls “music for the soul,” a combination of R&B, soul and anything else which strikes him as lyrically intriguing and enjoyable to listen to.
“I feel like we have so many fabricated ideas or even layers that we may put on outside,” said Jerel, “but what really matters is wisdom and soul. And my music speaks to that.”
It was Jerel’s grandmother who introduced him to music as a child. His grandmother would perform in people’s homes in Ashburn and Jerel would accompany by playing the drums. He kept playing music throughout high school and college and now makes a living as a professional performer.
“I was telling some people two or three days ago at the airport that I’ve tried pretty much every avenue of music,” said Jerel. The artist has also spent time as a music educator and worked in music production.
“The stage keeps pulling back and drawing me back in,” he said, “and so, it’s something about that energy that I build when I’m on stage that is like, you can’t get that in a studio.”
For his performance Friday, Jerel plans to bring a few guest artists to the stage with him. He said he wanted to keep those identities a surprise for now. He told concertgoers to bring their lawn chairs and dancing shoes to the event.
“I would love for the community to come out and experience the entire show,” said Jerel, adding he loves it when guests arrive early and get to see the ebbs and flows of the entire set.
After Jerel’s performance, the Friday Night Concert Series will resume the following week with performances from local band Relative Sound and Departure: The Journey Tribute Band. The performance will begin at 6 p.m. on Sept. 15 on the 1000 Block of Broadway.