What I Become Album Notes

I recently watched a James Taylor interview during which he said, “I am myself for a living … it’s pretty much what you see is what you get.” I’ve spent the majority of my musical life performing in various groups, occupying different roles, and collaborating with other artists. It’s only been the past couple of years that I’ve set off to figure out how to present myself the most simply and the most honestly with my songwriting.


With What I Become, I believe I’ve met that goal as best I can. I recorded this EP in a single night in front of a single microphone with my one guitar. When I’m alone in my room working out songs about my own feelings and experiences—that’s about as close to sincerity as I’ll ever get.


Though this record barely breaks the ten-minute mark on time, it shares thoughts on change, on identity, on grief, and on navigating the gulf between one’s own experiences and the reality of the wider world.


While this album is admittedly self-indulgent, the striving to know oneself would be worthless without the desire to share that self beneficially with the other valued people in one’s little universe. That spirit is also present in What I Become—the yearning that my true self will be enough to make the lives of a few others just a bit better. The ethos of this project is found in the lyric, “I want to be the man you believe me to be.”


Though I owe the debt of my own self to many, for this project I must specifically thank Kevin Folk for teaching me the production skills needed to execute these recordings in a way somewhat proficient, Tim Poole for his advisement and infallible musical ear (“I don’t think you’re going for a dominant seventh note there”), and my dearest Madison, who was the first to notice the theme of this collection of tunes and encouraged me to share my most introspective material.


If you hear it, I hope this record might help you take pause and take time to find yourself in the happenings all around you and in the love of those you hold dear.

Michael LaBella is an independent folk songwriter from Pennsylvania who has performed extensively in the northeast US since 2018. In 2020 he released the self-produced solo EP, 'There's a Morning.' In May 2021 he released his first LP 'Appalachia.' His latest effort, 'What I Become' releases everywhere October 2021.

Michael takes after the sentimental acoustic style of classic American songwriters including James Taylor and John Denver, and writes about his own experiences of love, sorrow, friendship, nature, spirituality, and growing older. Above all else, he values sincerity and hopefulness in his songwriting, and compassion and community in his performances.