Journalist turned singer Michael Fairman has released his fourth single “Better Late than Never” (Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube and major music streaming platforms, plus accompanying lyric video), an upbeat song pulsating with soulful grooves and R&B harmonies, and polished with a modern pop veneer and positivity. The music, which perfectly captures Fairman’s late-in-life pivot to singing and songwriting, is a testament to the obstacles, challenges, and successes he has experienced. Written and produced by Fairman with Kyle Mangels, his songs often come from the perspective of the underdog. “Better Late than Never” is a rallying cry for never giving up, the singer says. “If you want something bad enough, isn’t it worth trying for it rather than forever wondering, ‘what if’?” he asks.
“The song is about the moments in your life when your back is against the wall, and you have a decision to make,” Fairman continues. “Do you go for it in love and in life and what you desire? Or do you hold back, let the opportunity slip away, especially as we get older, and time seems to be against us? It’s that ‘Rocky moment’, that ‘Hail Mary’ pass in a football game with seconds left on the clock.”
“Better Late than Never” brims with influences of the hitmakers of today with odes to classic Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye through a modern-day Nick Jonas or Harry Styles track. “I love groove songs, clusters of soulful harmonies, that take the best of the sounds in pop music today and combine them with roots of the past of rhythm and blues and soul”
“Better Late Than Never” was recorded during late winter of the 2021 pandemic. “It was tough,” remembers Fairman. “No one could go into a recording studio. We had to record everything remotely.”
It obviously worked. The song been added to playlists across the country and critics have responded favorably.
“Wrapped up in the ethereal feel of the sonic arrangements, Michael Fairman’s passion-fueled vocal range cascade upon this ambiance in a way that seems effortless; as if he’s destined to do this,” raved BuzzMusic. “(The artist) projects an illuminating sense of triumph through the melody, lyrics, and to the ears.” Echoed journalist Bailey Beckett: “Michael Fairman’s music is the year’s surprise. An unexpected, distinct voice, infectious beats and inspiring, underdog message make his songs the feelgood groove at a time when pulse and positivity are woefully needed.”
Fairman knows that sentiment personally.
“As a man in mid-life trying to get my music heard, I know about climbing mountains,” he says. “I am told multiple times a week that this is a pipe dream, but I don’t let it stop me. It may have taken me an extra thirty years than it did Shawn Mendes to get to this point, but my life experience makes me more confident now in my craft as a singer-songwriter. I know my strengths and weaknesses, and how to deliver a potential hit song, so I guess it truly is, ‘Better Late Than Never’.”
Not exactly late, though. Fairman has three previous singles, including “Other Side,” “Can’t Let You Go” and “Thing About Me”. His songs are often anthemic in nature and while they reflect on the harsh realities of the human condition, they offer positive messages of inspiration that can fit into listeners’ own life stories, encouraging them to feel and know they are not alone.
This isn’t his first venture into the music world. Fairman grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As a teen, he released his first record through a small label in Chicago. After high school, he relocated first to Los Angeles, and then to New York to pursue a career as a recording artist. He formed a band in his late 20’s and played in clubs and recorded more music but getting a record deal at that time appeared insurmountable. Before long, he was out of money from funding his music career and headed back to Los Angeles where he began a successful career in television and entertainment journalism. Music took a back seat to life, but it always stayed in his heart.
“The time wasn’t right then, but music is my first love, so I’ve found my way back again,” Fairman says. “In those days, artists were at the mercy of record executives seeing them perform live or getting their attention with a demo. Today, artists can put their music online for the world to decide if it’s hot or not.”
The world is speaking: “Better Late than Never” is hot.