Michael “The Pannist”

by Cynthia Johnson

Michael “The Pannist” Hospedales was born and raised in Trinidad by his father and grandmother. Surrounded by a large family and immense support system, Michael became interested in music and the creation of music at very young age. He shares, “I started playing the steelpan very young. I was around 6 years old when I started. As I grew older I felt like the instrument was not being given it’s just due. I feel like it’s not being explored to its fullest potential. It was either associated with Carnival or cruise ship music. That needed to change and I thought that I could be the one to do it.”

Michael thinks of himself as without a genre, as he’s able to adapt and play almost anything. His music is massively influenced by the Caribbean. He looks up to the likes of Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff and Machel Montano. His biggest inspiration is Carlos Santana. Michael hopes to be to the steelpan what Carlos Santana is to the guitar.

Michael moved to the US after completing high school and now resides in Brooklyn, New York. He says it was tough adapting to the American way but now that he’s accustomed to it, he’s been able to start a career and flourish. While he enjoys New York, he shares “Growing up in the Caribbean is an experience I wish everyone can have. I truly mean that, from the culture, to the school system, to the simple everyday interactions. It is amazing!”

When asked about the Caribbean impact on the world, he says, “I believe that the Caribbean has a very big influence on culture. Everywhere you go there are Caribbean people, Caribbean food, Caribbean music, Caribbean business places, Caribbean events. Now there’s even an influx of non-Caribbean people gravitating to the Caribbean culture to be a part of the experience and tradition.”

Michael has had the opportunity to play very large events in the short time that he’s really been focusing on a career in music. He has worked with Stadic music and Jonnyblaze productions, the Mapy Violinist and has worked on multiple musical videos that were commented on and reposted on the personal platforms of other artists. His most humbling experience so far was seeing himself on the big screens at Trinidad’s Parco airport where his music was playing on the video screens in arrivals and departures.

Michael is doing his best to show the very real possibility of a music career with the steelpan. He wants other players to know and see that it doesn’t just have to be something played during Carnival season.

His upcoming projects include performances with Nailah Blackman and Erphann Alves. By popular demand, he also has a special project coming up, a music video for Kes- Savannah Grass. Stay tuned for lots of amazing new music, videos and performances.

Follow Michael the Pannist on Facebook @officalmichaelthepannist or on Instagram at @michael_thepannist.

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