Mike Lauzé - Big Voice - Bright Future

…by Laura Tutlies

Mike Lauzé is one good musician. Thanks to his Dad, he has been playing guitar since he was seven years old. Mike is talented, personable and good at what he does. Mike has never performed just once anywhere that he has been invited to play and sing. Mike Lauzé is always asked to return. In 2010 he sang at numerous venues. Just out of high school Lauzé has to be careful about his schedule because he has a day job as an apprentice electrician. He likes the work that pays his bills but he loves being a musician. Most lately, Lauzé was a featured guest at the Summer Winds Mike LauzeFestival, a pre-show performer for Sierra Noble and is a welcome weekend fixture at Legions, curling rinks, community clubs, as well as at some select gospel services throughout Manitoba. Both Noble and Lauzé are Metis and with these rich Canadian roots their Celtic and country style is grounded in fiddle and guitar music that insists that the listener tap their foot, slap their knee or simply clap along.

The first time my parents heard him perform was at a 'do' two years ago at the Selkirk legion. When Mum realized he came from East Beaches she phoned the very next morning and said, "Whenever that boy plays nearby, Dear - I want you to get us tickets." I guess my 81 year old Mum is a Mike Lauzé 'groupie' - so-to-speak. She is not alone nor is Mum's love of good country music specific to her age group. If you are eighteen or eighty, this young man has vocals that are hard to resist. OK - the truth. I'm next generation and I'm a groupie too. That said, I have noticed the attention Mike gets from a crowd his same age.

Lauzé has the kind of voice and talent that, when you hear him perform for the first time, you double take and must ask "Who IS that guy?" A few years back Bonnie Grace was responsible for chairing the annual Family Festival held in East Beaches. The annual winter event always showcases new local talent during the Friday night opening ceremonies. Grace had been at a community 'Fish Fry' in the fall of 2007 when she heard (then) 14 year old Mike Lauzé take the stage, strike a few cords, and belt out a country song that sounded like it came right from a Nashville professional. "Book that young man for the next Family Festival.", said Grace "He has talent!"

Mike's music leans on the old country favourites - which he performs with perfection, however the real charm is in his presentation and the clear, true voice that sings the songs. These days Lauzé is writing his own tunes and testing the waters in the world of modern country music. Mike says, "my own songs revolve around good times I've had with my friends. I really like the old tunes from Johnny Cash and Hank Snow - I was raised on them - but I also like the new guys who are singing country style. While I'm stringing wire {through the day} I'll be humming away and a few lyrics will come into my head. I'll go home, grab my guitar and next thing I know, I've got a song." Mike says there are many songs he is piecing together but he has at least five original tunes with lyrics, that he thinks might be good enough for an album.

Dwight Klatt, a well known local musician has an instinct for talent. He first hear Mike play & sing when a group of friends and neighbours were 'just jamming - "Probably at a bonspiel" says Klatt who, like Mike, spends a lot of time in the winter perfecting his curling skills. Mike's grandpa tells it this way, "Mike has always related well to adults and he's a good kid but never shy about joining in when music is involved." Anyway, Klatt "got the kid up to sing" and launched an ever burgeoning musical career for Lauzé. Dwight tells me that, "Mike has a mind of his own. Mike is good at the old tunes but he has his own style." As testament you might like to tune your radio dial to the country station and catch the pair singing live on air to country lovers.

For Lauzé his first public performance ended up becoming something much more than just a crowd pleaser. "No one knew I could sing and play until they heard me that time in Grand Marais at the fish fry. It felt really good to be with a band and in front of an audience but right around that time my best friend got sick with West Nile virus. He is still in a wheel chair today because of being sick. We were both in Grade 10 - I guess that was 3 years ago - but anyway - to help him out with medical bills, the community of Pinawa held a fund raiser for my buddy. Someone had heard me sing in Grand Marais and the organizing committee asked me to sing at a benefit for my friend. I had already figured out that people liked what I sang but more than that, I was really glad that I could do something to raise money for my friend." Since that benefit, Mike has been asked twice to play at functions for the 'Kidney Foundation', another charity close to his heart.

Lauzé loves music and he loves the excitement he hears from the audience when he plays. "It is great to hear people clapping or singing along, although the best for me", he says " is when they get up to dance while I play and sing. I love the energy in the room." He says the highlight of his musical career so far was when he played with Sierra Noble while she was in Selkirk last fall. Both Noble and Lauzé are Metis. With these rich Canadian roots their Celtic style, both have been grounded in fiddle and guitar music that insists that the listener tap their foot, slap their knee or simply clap along. You can catch Mike next at the 2011 Family Festival in Grand Marais on February 11, 12 & 13th.

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