From singing worship songs with a group of friends from church in Boise, to busking in the breezeway in downtown Bend, to turning down "The Voice" because he didn't need it, Meekoh has come a long way in his musical career and it's only just begun. Don't recognize the name Meekoh? Perhaps the name Michael Lewis Martinez rings a few bells. Meekoh recently took on the stage name, but Martinez has been in the Bend music scene since 2009 and The Source Weekly readers voted him "Hottest Musician" in this year's Lust List.
On June 4, Meekoh celebrates the release of his first full length album, Evolve at Volcanic Theatre Pub. Those unfamiliar with his music can expect to hear some really good, soulful music spanning a variety of genres including rock, R&B, pop, acoustic, and EDM. On Evolve, Meekoh worked with Kyle Mitchell, formerly of Portland Christian-rock band Kutless.
"I want to show people how I've evolved as a musician and a songwriter. Evolve takes you on a journey, which shows me as a well-rounded artist," says Meekoh. "I wanted to be able to be myself and share a lot of different aspects of who I am. If people like to dance they are going to like it."
Meekoh credits Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, and John Mayer as early influences on his musical style, but says his own life and the people he has met have played the biggest role.
Along the way, Meekoh has had a variety of unique experiences that have shaped his musical journey in a unique way. When he moved to Bend in 2009, he started busking in the breezeway downtown. The cold weather and playing at night never detoured him from getting his music out into the world and having the courage to see what people thought about it.
"I've always enjoyed playing music, whether it be in my dark bedroom by myself or in the breezeway. I always sing from my heart," Meekoh recounts. "I get into it and it goes tunnel vision when I'm playing music."
Meekoh has had several breakout moments over the course of the last six years. From touring all over the country with Shannon Bex of Danity Kane to singing for George W. Bush, Meekoh continues to grow and rise in the music industry.
"I was asked to sing for the President through Icon City, a local non-profit that helps the homeless population," says Meekoh. "He was speaking at a dinner banquet trying to raise money for children overseas. They asked me if wanted to sing for him. They thought I was worthy enough to do that. If the President thinks I'm good enough, something's got to be going right."
9 pm. Thursday, June 4
Volcanic Theatre Pub, 70 SW Century Dr.