Following in the wake of Justin Bieber, Susan Boyle, and (notoriously) Rebecca Black, Mike Tompkins is a beneficiary of the YouTube age, and he would be the first to admit it. Thanks to the video-sharing giant, what began as a dare from a friend quickly snowballed into a full blown performance and production career, landing Tompkins spots on The Ellen Show and The Today Show and finding him rubbing shoulders with established industry stars like Timbaland. "My friend thought I couldn't make a pop track with just my voice". Tompkins responded to the challenge by posting a cover of "Party in the USA" by Miley Cyrus and was pleasantly surprised by the response: over 2,000 views in just two weeks.
In hindsight, the numbers are laughable compared to the views Tompkins gets from his current following, but at the time the response was enough to spur him on to further creation. By the time he posted his version of Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" eight months later, his online following had grown exponentially, pushing the video's views to over two million in just two short weeks. Since then, Tompkins has garnered over 188 million views and currently has nearly 1.3 million subscribers to his YouTube channel, where he continues to blend traditional acapella-style covers with modern video and audio production.
It's one of those feel-good stories; a struggling, dedicated artist who is barely scraping by doing what he loves, when out of nowhere an altruistic hand reaches down, pulling him up from the bottom to the top. In a move that could not have been better scripted, Tompkins' Katy Perry cover went viral exactly one year after he and his wife decided to spend the next twelve months pursuing his music career. Everything since then has been a rollercoaster ride for the couple.
Along the way, Tompkins has found ways to stay true to his faith. Sometimes that comes in the form of altering the raunchier lyrics that are so prevalent in pop songs. When it comes to singing, Tompkins follows a strict rule: If he wouldn't say something to begin with, he won't sing it. "I want to sing something that I would actually say." While Tompkins doesn't market himself as a distinctly Christian artist, his fans tend to notice there's something different about him and he will often receive messages from fans commenting on how they can tell he is a Christian by the way he carries himself.
He credits some of his ability to stay true to his moral standards to the fact that he is managed by believers. Christian management was something that Tompkins was praying for from the get-go, and God provided it for him. "It just appeared," he says. And it appeared in the form of the Jonas Brothers' Dad, Kevin Jonas, someone who is intimately familiar with the darker side of the music business. This experience is invaluable. "I have management that will always see [my faith] as the first priority, so that's really helpful."
Behind all the musical success, Tompkins considers his relationship with his wife to be the priority in his life. "I'm definitely a husband first," he says, and that fact is evident, as his wife Kayla travels everywhere with him and helps to manage all aspects of his career.
The next step for Tompkins is the release of an all-acapella, original record which could drop as early as October, 2014.
'Need You Right Now' - Bethany Mota Ft. Mike Tompkins (released Nov 13, 2014)