Blessed with a great voice and a good musical background, Michael Naughton has been actively performing as a solo musician and band member of the Rugcutters in Key West for two years. And, like “Caffeine” Carl Wagoner, Michael is one of the only regularly performing musicians born and raised in Key West.
Mike is self taught, and picked up the guitar five years ago. Active in the school music program, Mike originally played drums, then trumpet, and later played tuba in the jazz band. “After middle school I put down the instruments.” As a member of the Key West High School choir, he sang with the more advance vocal performers. “That was fun!”
Mike’s family was a big influence on him. “Mom had me listening to Phoebe Snow and Stevie Wonder..she was a singer the played with Skipper Kripitz. Stevie Wonder is still in my top 5.”
Mike is thankful for all the encouragement he received from other musicians to get up on stage and perform. “I was a waiter for a year at Conk Republic before getting up enough nerve to get up on stage and sing. I talked to Chad Burtch, and he encouraged me to go for it and now I do every Friday at Conk Republic from 1:00 to 5:00 PM. I couldn’t picture doing anything other than music with the rest of my life.”
“Chad Burtch, Rusty Lemmon, Rick Fusco, and James Whitehead all helped me a lot getting in the door with referrals for gigs. Also the band I play in “The Rugcutters”.”
Mike has begun to do some song writing, and talked about what he needs to do to be successful as a full time performer in Key West. “I like playing covers and want to write and perform my own music, but first I need to make sure I learn and can play at least three hundred songs. You want to have a variety and have all the artists that people ask for. You have to be able to cater to the audience. It also gets boring without a deep set of songs.”
Speaking about the future, “I want to be be well know and touring for the songs I write and perform, maybe doing some weddings. I would totally settle for a life right here in Key West doing what I love doing.”
Michael and his girlfriend Crystal Smith have a three year old daughter, Nevaeh, who give him lots of love and support and help him stay focused on being successful. You can find out more about Michael Naughton and his schedule on Facebook.