“I am a creative, I am a Christian, and my motto is to live authentically.”
Atlanta, Georgia native Mike Sarge loved music from a young age, especially Christian hip-hop. During his youth, he learned to play the clarinet, the violin, and drums. Though he enjoyed music, his love for it “was never to the extent where I took it like, ‘One day I’m going to be an artist.'” He always thought that he was not a good enough musician to pursue it, but “maintained being a fanatic listener.”
After graduating from college, Sarge joined the military and decided to use some of his income to buy recording equipment.
“I said ‘Worst case scenario, if it’s bad, whatever.'”
He had a lot of fun making songs, “and then it just turned into something that allowed me to vent.” Starting as a therapeutic outlet at age twenty-three, Mike Sarge began to see talent in his musical abilities and has since released several albums.
Last month he released a new EP, titled 706, after the area code in Augusta, Georgia, where he spent the previous nearly nine years of his life; the Air Force just moved him and his family to Hawaii. “I learned so many lessons when I was in Augusta and was able to find myself as a person.” He hopes that through listening to his EP, those who hear it will want to embrace their story, knowing that it has made them who they are. “I don’t know if you’ve ever had a day where you couldn’t explain your emotions or your feelings, and then you heard a song, and you were like, ‘That’s it. That’s exactly how I feel.’ music has allowed me to do that.”
706’s first song is titled “Where You From (AUG)” and sought to be an anthem for those who call Augusta, Georgia, home. “People have pride in the city, but they don’t have anything they can hang their hat on necessarily.” He hoped that Augusta natives and residents would hear the song and think, “Oh yeah, this has the feel of the city.”
Mike Sarge’s love for coffee was an inspiration for his following song, “Mocha.” “Myself and a lot of my co-workers, especially in the military, that’s kind of a thing we joke about.” One of his co-workers challenged him to make a song about coffee. “I started working on it and was only going to write a verse, record a video of it, and put it on Instagram and YouTube. As I was working on it, I was like, ‘Yo, this is a lot better than I thought it was going to be.'” He loved it so much that he decided to put it on 706. Sarge’s favorite coffee drinks are Starbucks Frappucinos.
His favorite song on the EP is “Good Enough,” saying, “Regardless of any situations you’ve been in, and wherever you are in life right now, you’re good enough. I believe that’s a message that everyone needs to hear.” Sarge believes that when people realize that they are perfect the way they are in the eyes of God, they can better accept His call on their life.
He seeks to encourage people who feel like they are not qualified to do whatever they may want to or be called to do, noting, “you’ve been through the fire, made the mistakes, gone through speed bumps and the walls sometimes, and in those moments, it allows for God to truly show himself.”
“Not only are you good enough, [you can] continue to grow, learn from your mistakes, and learn from the things you do well. You’re going to be able to tell that story to someone and inspire them to go do something.”
The final song on 706, “Little Red Bird,” was inspired by a tragic experience. Last year, one of his co-workers was a great encouragement to him, constantly checking in to see if he had completed his album. “I was honest and was like, ‘Look, the things that I’m talking about, I’ve never really discussed these things, never said them in songs, and I don’t know how people are going to take it.” This woman, a good friend of his, called him a punk “because she knew that would get under my skin. She was like, ‘Well, that’s what you sound like because I’ve never known you to be scared about telling the truth.'”
After that point, she would only talk to him about work-related subjects and his progress on the album. When the album, titled Hunger Pains, came out in June of this year, Sarge gave her one of the first physical copies. Knowing that she was not a fan of hip-hop, “she walked over to my desk and goes, ‘This is amazing. I love this, and I hear you in it. I can hear every part of you.'”
The Monday after the album came out, Sarge had been planning to share with her the good news that it had charted on iTunes. When he arrived at work, another co-worker was crying at her desk, and he learned that she died unexpectedly over the weekend. “It messed with me hard to the point where every time I would think I was getting emotional enough that tears would be coming, it’s like something would block it.” Having to go through this troubled him for months, and he decided to write about it.
After learning that he would be transferred to Hawaii, Sarge had a final concert in Augusta planned and learned that this co-worker’s sister was planning to attend the show.
“I thought, ‘Okay, maybe I can perform it and let it go,’ so I did.'”
Performing “Little Red Bird” for the first time was not only an emotional experience for him but also the audience. Sarge performed much of the song with his eyes closed, and when he opened them, he saw numerous audience members crying. After the song, he told the crowd that he planned not to release the song, but “as soon as I hopped off the stage, people were talking to me, and they were like, ‘Oh no, you’re releasing that.’ Her sister even told me ‘She would want you to.'”
Outside of music, Mike Sarge said he enjoys helping other artists, watching sports, playing video games, and spending time with his family.
“I’m growing every single day, and I pray that I can help people whenever I can.”