Born in Texas, raised in Hong Kong, Mikel Rafael started playing guitar at fourteen, inspired by Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, though it was Jeff Buckley who became his hero and veered him into the singer-songwriter direction. At eighteen he moved to Los Angeles to pursue music. He initially focused on playing electric guitar for local bands, while quietly honing his songwriting abilities. After going through a series of bands, he started testing out his material in open mics, and quickly gained a reputation among the local artist community as an evocative story-teller and gifted lyricist.
He quickly went from playing open mics to solo acoustic shows. At one of these shows he met ex-Mowgli’s producer and radio DJ Christian James Hand, who enjoyed his music so much that he offered to record him for free. Together they recorded a total of eight live, on-the-spot performances of Mikel Rafael originals, which were released as an album in late 2016 called ‘This Twisted World of Ours’ under his then-stage name Mikelangelo. Hand played some of those songs on his podcast and on a show he was then hosting on the now-defunct 100.3’s ‘The Sound’, which further expanded Mikel Rafael’s audience.
In early 2018, Mikel Rafael started writing new material for a new EP, which he released in October 2018 titled ‘A Sidewalk’s Dream’. He continues to pursue his passion, and regularly performs around local LA venues.
Mikel Rafael on Radio Venice
Radio Venice S09.E12 – November 25, 2018