Hi! Can you share the story or inspiration behind “The Guy Who Won”? What motivated you to write this single?

A: After being lied to for so long by the guy who did NOT win the last presidential election (claiming he “won” with no evidence, as dozens of courts ruled the exact opposite) and after seeing the damage that lie has done to the Country – month after month, year after year… it wasn’t hard to find the motivation to set about writing this song, in honor of the actual winner – “The Guy Who Won.”

Could you walk us through your songwriting process for “The Guy Who Won”? How do you typically go from an idea to a finished song?

A: Several weeks back, on a Friday evening, I was sitting on the edge of the bed (in the dark) strumming a guitar. I’d been at it for about 30 minutes, trying out this and that idea. Nothing much had clicked up to that point, and the closest I’d come to anything worth mentioning was strumming along to a series of anguished howls. Suddenly, mysteriously, the inner storm passed. In its place I was left with an inviting, almost cheerful, chord progression that felt worthy of further attention. Not long after that, the thought occurred of dedicating whatever I came up with to the guy who really won. As with most of my songs, it took a number of weeks and multiple recording sessions following that initial moment of truth for the various melodic, harmonic, lyrical elements of the song to fully coalesce.

Who or what are your biggest musical influences, and how have they shaped the sound and direction of “The Guy Who Won”?

A: My biggest influences range from the heroic spirit of Beethoven and endless inventiveness of Mozart… to the irresistible curiosity and songwriting talents of The Beatles.

The lyrics of “The Guy Who Won” seem to convey a deep message. Can you elaborate on the themes you explored in this song?

A: Dickens famously opened his 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities, with the line, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Though many scientific breakthroughs and technological innovations have transformed the way we live our lives (much of it potentially for the better) it doesn’t take long watching almost any news program to realize as well that we’re living in a dangerous world. While in theory, love makes the world go round, when it doesn’t work out that way in practice, we turn to the rule of law to provide justice for those who are wronged. We are in fact a nation of laws based on the idea (many have fought and died for) that in a democracy everyone gets a voice in making informed decisions about electing our leaders. When it comes to electing the most important leader of all – the president – I was taught to believe that that should be someone to inspire, not mislead or deceive. With one of our major parties now in the process of nominating/blindly following someone seeking power over us whose values have been shown time and time again to be more about creating havoc, settling scores, and unfairly clinging to power than serving the people and finding solutions to the difficult challenges facing America, I think it’s time to stand up and be counted as aspiring to something better than that.

What was the production process like for “The Guy Who Won”? Did you face any challenges during recording or production?

A: I got lucky years ago when I stumbled upon a recording engineer one Christmastime with the enormous talent and empathy of Paul Horabin at ReadyMix Music in the San Fernando Valley. He’s long been THE go-to-guy for each of my first four albums (now on the way toward a fifth). We’ve worked together on so many songs – with so few hiccups – that the biggest challenges faced when recording “The Guy Who Won” had more to do with navigating the ever-clogged and wild west-like 405 Freeway in my car (as a longshot to reach the studio safely) than anything that occurred in the sessions while playing my 12-string guitar or singing lead & harmony vocals.

Were there any notable collaborations on “The Guy Who Won”?

A: During the writing and recording process I often seek the advice of one guy in particular: guitar teaching legend Kit Alderson. This time was no exception. As usual, Kit’s thoughts and encouragement (about everything – from choice of words… to how to get the guitar to sound just right) were a game-changer.

Is there a personal story or experience that connects you to “The Guy Who Won”? How does this track reflect your personal journey or beliefs?

A: I think that most people with an appreciation of American history and the painstaking sacrifices it took to build this country into what it’s become these last almost 250 years realize that what happened on January 6th of 2021 was not only heartbreaking and deadly for the hundreds of law enforcement officers called upon to defend the U.S. Capitol against the violent mobs who stormed it that day, but that it was also an attempt – led by the former president – to overthrow the will of the people which presents a grave, ongoing threat to our fundamental freedoms, The Constitution, our way of life, and very existence as a nation. The idea that someone who would attempt a coup like that could, four years later, in this election cycle, once again be entrusted with the power of the presidency is preposterous, beyond dangerous, and completely un-American.

How has the audience responded to “The Guy Who Won”? Have you received any feedback that was particularly meaningful to you?

A: In the short time the song has been out it has clearly begun to strike a chord with a lot of people. 

Have you had the chance to perform “The Guy Who Won” live?

A: I’ll sure be looking forward to doing that! In the meantime, please stay in touch through my website – https://michaellyonmusic.com/

Following “The Guy Who Won,” what can your fans expect next? Are there any upcoming projects or singles that you’re currently working on?

A: I have a goddaughter named Hannah, and at the time she was born a song came to me in her honor

Now that she’s getting married, her father and I have begun collaborating on a song for the wedding. (In Lennon/McCartney fashion, I’ve got most of the three verses to my liking, while he’s really stepped up with a cool bridge for the song.) Looking forward to soon getting that tune to the finish line – definitely BEFORE the “Big Day” several weeks from now. 

As for songwriting in general: It’s like the glowing necklace of airplane lights at night you often see off in the distance, on final approach to LAX. A number of new songs are very much out there. They’re currently making their way toward their destination. Just as soon as the runway is clear for them to make a happy landing, what FUN to record them – and start celebrating!