Music may have saved his life. After surviving cancer at age 16, music became his helpmate in processing the ‘big questions’ that came to him at an early age. At 18, he took his newly found passion for life and music traveling the country in a van with a group of wacky Catholic hippies giving retreats to young people. College found him criss-crossing through Europe with his guitar. His creativity blossomed and matured in very unconventional ways, finding Tiernan hanging with monks deep in desert monasteries and later living in the Vatican as a seminarian in his 20’s on the way to becoming a priest. Yet he left that calling for a higher one - music. Years later, now a seasoned performer and award-winning songwriter - what would a person like this have to say about life? Plenty, especially when magnified through the prism of a song.
Meet Michael Tiernan. Through the experiences of what could be ten lifetimes, Michael is an artist who has plunged into and explored the deep spaces of personal and worldly conflict, the beauty of love and nature, as well as the meaning of suffering and pervasive unhappiness that threatens our human experience on all sides. In his music, he resurfaces from these depths beaming with a positive outlook for all of us.
2018 finds Michael in a flurry of creative activity. He recently released his 6th studio album with an EP entitled “Love and a Gun”, produced by 2017 Grammy winner, Andre de Santanna. In “Love and a Gun”, Tiernan dives deep into the often heart-wrenching events of the past couple years both in the world at large and in his own life. “It’s impossible to have watched the news at any point this past year and not have your heart broken and your hope challenged”, says Tiernan, usually known as a songwriter who employs songs to try to look at the brighter side of life. “Music has always helped me process the things that break my heart.”
Fortunately, it’s not just the bad stuff that can break hearts. “Thankfully, hearts can be broken wide open with brimming love, too”. He vacillates between tender acoustic love songs for his kids ("Best Love"), to playful blue-eyed soul love ballads like "Tired Eyes" and "Renew, to all-out rock-driven criticisms of modern dilemmas such as war, gun control, and misuse of technology ("Your Attention). Michael is also currently recording a new EP album to be released later this year, as well as working on a retrospective album that will be a compilation of selections from his last six albums, remixed in an electronic style, performed by the artist/producer, 9 Theory. Michael is also accompanying his latest release with 3 new music videos.
Throughout Tiernan’s career, he has seamlessly melded elements of folk, reggae, bluegrass, blues, soul, and modern pop rock into his own brand of acoustic guitar-centric music. Bart Mendoza from the San Diego reader comments, “Tiernan’s rep grows with each release. Crucial to his success is that he’s a great all-around entertainer, from musicianship to between-song banter. All of his albums to date have won or been nominated for music awards around the country, but it’s his live set that’s helped Tiernan become one the area’s most popular singer-songwriters." The San Diego Troubadour notes Tiernan's releases are "relentlessly catchy, slickly produced pop that reflects Michael Tiernan’s ability as a master of hooks - and it has something to say.”
Some of Michael’s songwriting and performing accomplishments have included:
- 2-time Los Angeles Music Awards winner for Winner for: Male Singer/Songwriter of the Year and Triple-A Album of the Year
- Songwriter of the Year, Pacific Songwriting Competition
- International Acoustic Music Awards Male Artist of the Year Runner-Up
- International Songwriting Competition Finalist
- Great American Song Contest Finalist
- Best of San Diego, San Diego Magazine
- Falcon Ridge Festival Songwriting Finalist
- Kerrville New Folk Songwriting Competition Finalist
"Acclaimed singer-songwriter Michael Tiernan is a master of the soaring chorus and catchy hook line. His music places equal emphasis on piano and guitar, so fans of Coldplay, Crowded House and even Oasis’ softer moments will find much to admire in Tiernan tunes, such as “Write Me a Love Song.” Currently working on his fifth album, Tiernan’s rep grows with each release. Crucial to his success is that he’s a great all-around entertainer, from musicianship to between-song banter. All of his albums to date have won or been nominated for music awards around the country, but it’s his live set that’s helped Tiernan become one the area’s most popular singer-songwriters."
- Bart Mendoza, San Diego Reader
Full Length Biographical Articles and Interviews:
"The Spirit of Music and Survival According to Michael Tiernan" - San Diego Troubadour
"Michael Tiernan taps his darker side" - San Diego Union Tribune
"Tiernan following his spirit." - The Denver Post
"The journey that led to Michael Tiernan's music" - Del Mar Times