Canvas Rebel Interview – Mike Campese

Mike Campese outside promo. "The Fire Within" Photo Session.
Mike Campese outside promo. “The Fire Within” Photo Session.

Meet Mike Campese
JANUARY 29, 2024

We recently connected with Mike Campese and have shared our conversation below.

Mike, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today Are you able to earn a full-time living from your creative work? If so, can you walk us through your journey and how you made it happen?

Yes, I have been earning a full time living solely from my music since I was like 19 years old. I did start earning money teaching guitar when I was in 10th grade in high school. My very first guitar teacher started asking me to fill in for him back then. I wasn’t planning on teaching, but it was natural for me and I have been doing it ever since, as well as touring.

Also, I started composing music at a very young age as well and performing since the beginning, releasing albums and merchandise year after year. I started writing for publications early on and some occasional session work for people as well.

With teaching, composing and performing I have been able to earn a full time living.

Mike Campese Soundcheck Live, Pic2. By Nanci Sauder Ruest.
Mike Campese Soundcheck Live, Pic2 By Nanci Sauder Ruest
Mike Campese Soundcheck Live, Hollywood CA, by William Greenberg.
Mike Campese Soundcheck Live, Hollywood CA, by William Greenberg

Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.

I’m an all-around music performer, session artist competent in many musical styles, electric and acoustic. I’m a very versatile musician that writes vocal and instrumental arrangements, records and tours live. I have been featured and I’m a lesson writer for many national and International guitar magazines. I have been teaching private lessons since high school. Also, I’m an honors graduate from the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California. In 2023 I was inducted into the Thomas Edison Music Hall of Fame, in NY.

I have shared the stage with many national acts and worked with bands such as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and many others.

I have released 11 solo albums to date and tour throughout the world with my own music. For a more detailed bio you can visit the website at

I started playing guitar at a real young age and I realized I was a natural at being creative. I started creating since the very beginning, from basic riffs to complete songs. Also, I realized I had the knack for teaching as well.

My mission was always to be the best I can be, I loved it so much from the beginning and practiced all day, some days up to 12 hours. I always love to learn new things and I’m very open to everything. I feel that it is important to be open to all types of music. I like to set my own path and tap into my creative mind/heart and let it speak through the music.

I feel the whole point of being a creative artist is to be yourself and to be different than anyone else. Tapping into your inner being is the key to bring out the music inside of you that is unique. We all have early influences and have learned a lot throughout our life through real experiences.

As an instructor, I like to bring out the creativity in each student and encourage them to create their own ideas. Every student is a different experience and I don’t teach everyone the same thing, I like to fix the problems they have like a doctor would to each person.

Mike Campese Outside Promo.
Mike Campese Outside Promo.
Mike Campese Abbey Road Institute - Guitar Master Class - Paris.
Mike Campese Abbey Road Institute – Guitar Master Class – Paris

What do you find most rewarding about being a creative?

To be able to do what I love and make a living is huge. A lot of people can’t say they can do that and hate their jobs.

When you can create something that people like and enough for them to purchase, it is very honoring.

To me, it is a much better accomplishment when you can compose your own music than always playing someone else’s.

Another reason why it is awarding, is to be able to travel to different parts of the world and to meet new people, fans. See new sites etc.

People tend to treat artists a bit differently it seems like and they tend to look up to you.

You can be yourself and do what you like, wear what you want.

Mike Campese Promo, Sitting Down.
Mike Campese Promo, Sitting Down.

How can we best help foster a strong, supportive environment for artists and creatives?

The society should buy more albums and not just stream or download them. I don’t think people realize that the artists don’t make much of anything from streaming services.

You make less money with downloads as well, because it is cheaper for people to buy the full album and the hosting services take a commission. The artist makes the most from the physical sales and the merch right from their website.

Also, there needs to be more support to see the live shows and the venues need to pay the artists what they deserve.

Another important thing is for people to follow their favorite artists on social media and share their work.

Contact Info:

Image Credits

Dan Doyle, Nanci Sauder Ruest, William Greenberg

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