Mike Flanagan is an American saxophonist, pianist, songwriter, composer, music director, educator, and actor. Mike holds a Bachelor’s in Jazz Saxophone and Music Education from Berklee College of Music, as well as a Master’s in Music Theory, Composition, and Songwriting from New York University, where he simultaneously served as an adjunct professor of composition. As a saxophonist, he has shared the stage with jazz greats Terri Lyne Carrington, Joanne Brackeen, Esperanza Spaulding, Cassandra Wilson, Christian Scott, Andre Hayward, Donald Harrison, Gray Sargent, Marshall Wood, Richie Barshay, Dave Zinno, singer/songwriter Matt Alber, and toured the U.S. and Japan. As a pianist, he has recorded for Kat Deluna, LeAndria Johnson, music directed for Lea DeLaria, James Jackson Jr, Ada Vox, Madame the Puppet, Varla Jean Merman, Esera Tuaolo, and worked with Ruth and Issa Pointer (Pointer Sisters).
Mike has released four albums independently under the artist-name MikeMRF and has topped iTunes and charted on Billboard three times. As a songwriter, Mike has won two OUTmusic Awards and a Lennon Award. His groundbreaking music video for his original song “Trying,” which he acted in and directed, has over one million views on YouTube. In spring of 2002, Mike and long-time collaborator Lisa Bello toured the U.S. with the release of their live album, “Wait Just Listen,” and sold out the main stage at City Winery Boston. In winter of 2023, Mike, Chris Grasso, and Lauren Scales teamed up for the Perfect Pairs tour. Currently, Mike serves as Entertainment Director for two Provincetown venues - Tin Pan Alley and the Post Office Cabaret - where he leads his own groups. He also performs regularly at The Club Provincetown, Lea Delaria’s jazz and music venue.
Mike Flanagan is an American saxophonist, pianist, songwriter, composer, music director, educator, and actor. Lennon Award-winning, OUTmusic Award-winning, and three-time Billboard-charting, he began playing professionally at age 17 and went on to earn a Bachelor’s of Music in Jazz Performance and Music Education from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. During his undergraduate studies, he was selected at the age of 19 to tour Japan as a member of the Berklee Swing Orchestra and by age 20 he held a two-night-a-week performance-residency as band leader at the Sheraton Hotel Prudential and featured world-renowned guest musicians such as Esperanza Spaulding, Terri Lyne Carrington, Joann Brackeen, Christian Scott, Andre Hayward, Bob Moses, Jason Palmer and more. After graduating Berklee, Mike began songwriting, producing, and releasing albums independently on his own label MRF Music, under recording-artist moniker, MikeMRF
In 2013, Mike released his sophomore album Mob Music which peaked at #1 on the iTunes Jazz Albums Charts and #2 on the Billboard HeatSeekers Chart. The album would go on to produce several radio singles and song placements in Film and Television (Off Season TV, Amazon and Bear City 2 and 3, both of which Mike acted in). The album also garnered a number of songwriting awards. In 2014, Mike won 2 OUTmusic Awards including the highly coveted Humanitarian Songwriter of the Year for his song "Be Strong (LGBT Youth)” and Best Spoken Word for “Tender." He received 5 nominations that year, the most of any artist, including Best Music Video for his groundbreaking video to his original song, “Trying", which he acted in and directed, has over one million views on YouTube. “Be Strong" was also selected as Boston Pride's Flag-Raising Anthem. Additionally, in 2014, the album’s jazz ballad "This Love" placed Top 10 in the U.S. Songwriting Competition and in 2017, the album title track “Mob Music” won the Lennon Award (Hip-Hop) in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.
The Mob Music album was followed by Mike’s 2016 EP, Yasko Sensei, dedicated to his late mentor and musical-hero, Yasko Kubota. The EP landed at #11 on the iTunes Jazz Albums Charts and #2 on Billboard's Most Added Chart for radio-single "Makes Me Wonder.” Mike continued his education at New York University in their Master of Music in Music Theory & Composition Master’s Program where he was made an Adjunct Professor of Composition upon entry. During his time at NYU, Mike toured the U.S. and U.K as Music Director for Lisa Bello, held a weekly live-music residency at ReBar Chelsea, and wrote the Mob Music 2 Album as the coursework and thesis for his Master’s Degree. Mob Music 2 was released on October 18, 2019 and hit #39 on the iTunes R&B Albums Chart and was featured on Apple Music. Album opener, "Tip Jar" landed in the Semi-Finals of the 2020 International Songwriting Competition and was featured in the Television Show “30 The Series” (Amazon Prime) along with two other songs from the album.
In April of 2022, Mike and long-time collaborator Lisa Bello released Wait Just Listen (The Live Album) and embarked on an eleven city album release tour, which included a sold-out main stage at City Winery Boston, accompanied by drummer extraordinaire Charles Haynes. Throughout his career, Mike has performed Ruth Pointer (Pointer Sisters), Cassandra Wilson, Matt Alber, Ada Vox, Varla Jean Merman, Esera Tuaolo, and many more. He has also recorded piano for Kat Deluna and LeAndria Johnson. Mike is a voting member of the Recording Academy (GRAMMYs.) and holds a MA Professional Educator’s License in Music (Instrumental, Vocal, General).
Currently, Mike is based in Provincetown, MA where he serves as the Music and Entertainment Director for the Post Office Cafe & Cabaret and Tin Pan Alley. Mike also serves as a house musician for The Club Ptown where he music directs for Lea Delaria, and performs multiple weekly live music residencies with a routine roster of heavyweights including Marshall Wood, Chris Grasso, Todd Baker, Lauren Scales, Donna Byrne, Dave Zinno, Gray Sargent, Tim Ray, Jeff Stout, Doug Olsen, Phil Person, Marco Panascia, Sheree Marcelle, Steve Langone, Richie Barshay, Brad Conant, Christian McCarthey, Keb Hutchings and many more.