MRF, Go To The Gym, Manhattan Digest
Credit to: MRF

Who doesn’t love a viral video craze?  Who can’t wait to see what the song of the summer is?  I’ve got both of them for you right here! Boston native and jazz aficionado MikeMRF” Flanagan has just released his insanely catchy song “Go To The Gym”, with an emphatically awesome video to go along with.

“Go to the Gym” is a fun uptempo cut with Sax Ostinato from MRF, a New Orleans style drum feel and a layer for stepping from Justin Waithe who chants on the chorus.  Lead vocalist Lisa Bello put her MC skills onto this track, and the music video takes us from being a misfit in the yoga class, to gym stereotypes, to a step team and even a “Newsie” influenced barbell routine. This song showcases a hard-hitting, high energy fun side of the trio in which they utilized completely different abilities than we saw in the soulfully beautiful, heartbreaking radio single ‘Trying”.  You can check out the video in its entirety RIGHT HERE! If you think Kanye’s “Workout Plan” was fun, you haven’t seen anything yet.  For those who aren’t in the know, here is more about this diverse and powerful trio.

MRF, Lisa Bello & Justin Waithe topped the iTunes charts in 2013 with MRF’s sophomore album “Mob Music”.  In addition to being nominated for 5 OUTmusic awards, they landed on the initial 57th GRAMMY Awards voting ballot for Best R&B Album this past year.  You can check out my previous interview with MRF here.  Mike was nice enough to sit down with Manhattan Digest about “Go To The Gym” and his future goals with the brand that he is building.

MRF, Manhattan Digest
Credit to: MRF

Hey MRF, thanks for sitting down!  Tell me about the concept of “Go To The Gym” and how it came about?

Thanks, Ryan! My pleasure. I knew I wanted to do a song called “Go to the Gym”. I would catch myself singing that as a chorus and felt it was time to bring it to life. Lisa, Justin and I have so many different tricks up our sleeves, I knew this one would allow us to bring out some that people hadn’t seen from us before.

Your music is pretty much known for being a bit more soulful and relaxed yet can be powerful in the sense ala “Trying”.  What made you want to do an uptempo type song?

It really boils down to knowing that we could make this kind of song. I wanted to make a hit geared towards radio that would get catch the attention of everyone young and old. Lisa’s, Justin’s and my songwriting is always based off of our experience and being that we all fall into the category of gym head, I knew we would have a lot to bring to the table with this one. Justin is a Zumba instructor in his spare time. Lisa has been an athlete her whole life and I like to pick things up and put them down.

Has the thought of ever doing a parody type video crossed your mind before?

I like to work at the surface of parody but not cross all the way into it. I’m kind of relying on our fans for that actually. We hare hoping to start a campaign where people who hear the song or see the video will make Instagram videos, or FB or Twitter videos of themselves doing a crazy exercise, dancing, lip synching, vogueing, stepping etc. and post it with the hashtag #GoToTheGymWorldWIde We want this to catch on and even get other celebrities doing it. Actually if someone could hit up Michelle Obama, that would be fantastic. 😉

Where did you draw inspiration to do this sort of video?

I wanted to give people a good time that everyone, no matter what their relationship with the gym, could relate to. This song isn’t geared towards one demographic of people, there’s something in it for everyone. We see Lisa making a mess of a Yoga class, guys that are way too serious, working out in flip-flops, the novice that tries to go all out right away, but most of all we see people having a good time. And that’s kind of what I want the song to inspire people to do is not be intimidated by a gym, just go enjoy yourself and who cares what you look like stating off.

I’ve been working out in gyms since I was 14. I also worked front desk at gyms for about 8 years. Ive experienced from Equinox to mom & pop and everything in between. I had a lot of inspiration to draw from given all the crazy stuff I’ve seen over the years. But also, I drew from the talent of my dream time (Lisa Bello & Justin Waithe). Their talent amazes me more and more with every new venture we work on. I knew I wanted Justin to step on the track and then lead a step team. I knew that after I laid down the instrumental and Justin laid down the chorus, that Lisa was going to SPAZ on her verses. That’s my favorite part about us. I know what to provide and get a sense of what the outcome is going to be but I’m always aware that it’s going to be 10 xs more than I could have even envisioned.

MRF, Manhattan Digest
Credit to: MRF

What was the process of filming like for this?

We did a 12-hour day of shooting and crammed in as much as we could. Scheduling with that many extras, the company and the musicians makes for a lot of constraints so we had to bang it out in one day. We filmed at Iron Force in Natick, thanks and shotout to Mike Cassavant. Surefire Creative Studios shot and produced the video. Each of us had roles in choreography and we really helped push each other through the day. Honestly it was a BLAST and I would do every minute of those 12 hours over again tomorrow.

Do you have high hopes that this will catapult the MRF brand to a higher level?

I would love for this video/song to explode and have that direct people who don’t know about us to our music/content. I still want the Mob Music album to reach as many people as possible and our new stuff is going to be even crazier!

Do you have plans to attend and perform at Bear Week again this year?

I will be there 🙂 I’m performing everyday that week actually. I’ll be at Tin Pan Alley Mon – Fri 4:30 – 7:30, the Bear Week Jazz Brunch on that Friday as well from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM.  This is something I do every year!

What else can you share with our readers about what’s next for you?

We have our next single ready to go. We did a very Mob Music cover of “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and that will be out at the end of May. Look for that video as well. I’d also say that a new album should be on the horizon for early fall.

For more information on all things MRF, check out his official site.