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All of these songs are available on the latest Citizen Fitz CD.

The Mesmers

I also played with a rock band called The Mesmers (sounds a little like The Doors meet Beck). We have several albums out.

The Mesmers: Fitz's Subway to Another Life

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Listen/Buy: iTunes | CdBaby | Amazon

The Mesmers' second CD: Produced by Fitz (vocals co-produced by Larry Friedman). Engineered by David Hanbury. Mixed by Miro Pajic (drum tracks on Hang up, Try Again pre-mixed by Dave Hanbury). Mastered by Dietrich Schoenemann. Recorded at Tamarack River Farm, Servo Studio, Gimlet Studio, & House of Jam Studio. Cover art & Photography by Fitz. Interior photography by Will Smith.

The Mesmers: The Mesmers

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Listen/Buy: iTunes | CdBaby | Amazon

The Mesmers first album recorded in the band's basement and mixed by the talented Bruce Miller.

Mailing List

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Shows

Bandsintown

About

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Greetings. I'm a singer/songwriter who uses lots of synths. My music kinda sounds like Thomas Dolby meets a National Geographic Special. It's great for your road trips, travels, or simple office escapes.

Citizen Fitz (Aka Michael Fitzgerald) is my one-man electronic act formed in 2011 (forming is SO much easier with only one person - I did it over coffee one morning). My goal is to grab the synthpop genre, shake it soundly by the scruff of its robotic neck, and fashion a more organic, "someone actually played that" sound - often with exotica and reggae elements.

Oh, and with killer songwriting. Why can't synthpop songs be as well crafted as country tunes? I write all my songs so they could be covered by wildly rich rock or country acts (hint, hint). I also write a few instrumentals with dreams of hearing them on NPR between news segments or as soundtracks for indie films.

The Basics:

  • Who's in this act? Citizen Fitz (aka Michael Fitzgerald) who sings, plays and programs the synths.
  • What type of music? Singer/songwriter & Synthpop with touches of Exotica.
  • What does it sound like? Maybe Thomas Dolby meets a National Geographic Special.
  • What's your dreary list of influences? Harry Nilsson, Vangelis, The Magnetic Fields, Gary Wright, Carol King, Duran Duran, Elton John, Thomas Dolby, Howard Jones, Men at Work, Jean Michele Jarre, Toto (only for that Africa song), Brian Eno, Steve Miller, lots of singer/songwriters and electronic acts.
  • Are you experienced enough to hire? Yes. I've played live music for years in a wide range of venues. I only choke on stage if offered a ham sandwich.
  • What cool electro-cred gear do you use? Well, I'm glad you asked. Please see my exhaustive blog posts about all my synths and gear.

The Travel Angle

A lot of my music is about the romance and experience of travel: exotic lands, strange customs, and that remote island filled with dinosaurs. In fact, I write most of my material while traveling. Something about the drone of the road, the isolation for the familiar, and the pushing of personal boundaries brings the songs right out.

My upcoming first album was mostly written on a three and half month trek across the U.S. From Virginia to Florida and almost all the way to California I roamed and wrote. I saw amazing things and met many fascinating people and blogged all about it.

I hope to travel more. Maybe to Sri Lanka and visit that cafe where "Hungry Like the Wolf" was filmed. Maybe to Cambodia and see Angor Wat. Maybe to India to see the Taj Mahal. Travel, blog about it, and write many more songs. That's the dream.

Biography

"I've always been the type who just goes and does his own thing."

Some people just seem gifted with lives that are filled with elements of interest and intrigue. They're the kind of folks you're secretly jealous of at a party as they're surrounded by a set of friends, regaling them with the juicy tales of their latest adventure or misadventure, as it may be. Artist on the rise, Citizen Fitz, better known to his parents and the tax collector as Michael Fitzgerald, is such a person, living his own life of adventure as he's navigated roads as a private investigator, independent web designer, musician, blogger, and travel fiend, even having taken two years off to simply tour the United States. And each element of these experiences informs his art.

The music bug bit Citizen Fitz while at college at Old Dominion University where he was treated to an electronic music course where he would learn the joys of tape-based sound manipulating, adding preverb and flanging, while also diving into the expansive universe of textures that the synthesizer would provide him.

He bolstered that experience with playing in a band while there and was given the opportunity to explore, offering up sound effects with synthesizers and odd bits of gear and falling in love with the process and the instrument.

So why choose the synthesizer over a more conventional instrument like the guitar? The answer is a simple one as Fitz shares, "The problem with the guitar is that there is really nothing you can do that is new. Am I going to compete with likes of The Edge or Jimmy Page? Not likely? At least with the synthesizer you can do something that's only been done a couple hundred times, not ten thousand."

Yet, just playing music and making sounds wasn't enough for Fitz. In fact, it irks him to hear so many synthpop acts do just that.

"I simply like music that isn't dumbed down, bands that aren't afraid to maybe use a large word and present some smarts. I think a lot of music is intentionally dumbed down and I've never quite understood that."

He adds, "I'd say that to make something emotionally satisfying doesn't mean that it can't be intellectually satisfying as well. They're not as mutually exclusive as a lot of folks believe. I think it can be smart and have emotion and I like pieces that have both."

It's that sentiment that the artist has brought to bear on his self-titled solo debut, Citizen Fitz. Inspired by his love of travel, a key component to the man and his mission, the album offers up both fact and fancy, drawing from truth and fantasy. Influenced by 50s and 60s exotica music, Fitz seeks to take his listeners of journeys of great fantasy, indulging the ideas of faraway locales and adventure through songs like "Cargo Cult," "Moving Things Around," and "Sargasso Sea," hoping to help his listeners to see through a new set of eyes and ultimately discover something new.

Travel serves as a muse for the artist with much of his musical inspirations coming while on the road in pursuit of new experiences. Additionally, the process of travelling itself has lent itself to influencing his musical decisions, understanding that an overly mapped out trip will lead to an uninspiring adventure.

"I find the same is true with music," he offers, "That if you're a little more ambitious and let things run their course you find that it's, 'Oh! Look what appears! This is a really good riff! This is a really good song!' Whereas if you try to map things out and hold onto them too tightly, it just never really works. It's like whatever skeletal plan you map out is never going to survive the actual trip or the actual creation of the music. It will diverge wildly."

But the result is a discovery that, while unexpected, is pleasantly received and whether or not it aids you in learning more about yourself in a foreign land or renewing your appreciation for the familiar elements of home, it's a journey well worth taking. The work of Citizen Fitz, whether through his diverse blogging world or his fantastical travel music, is a similar kind of discovery and you're bound to find some nuggets of treasure if you're willing to take the trip.

Stage Requirements

I can perform all my music live with a small laptop and keyboard rig. I've got a Bose L1 Compact PA which is perfect for small venues. For larger venues or those who prefer to run their own sound I'll need:

  • 1 Shure SM-58 Mics or similar for vocals
  • 1 DI for Keyboards
  • 1 Floor Monitor
  • Power draw is 6 Amperes @ 120VAC

For really big shows I can rope in a slew of top-notch musicians (no, seriously, they get paid to do studio work). So if you're looking for something larger contact me and I'll see what I can pull together to fit your needs.

Acknowledgments

Special thanks to Kate Davis for helping with this site's design and Jared Lee for the album art.