Attention all Beyoncé fans in the house: It's time to make way for the sassy, hypnotic, live acoustic cover of "Naughty Girl" by the king of travel pop, Chicago-based singer-songwriter Mike Mentz. The track is the first single taken from Mike's forthcoming live album, Live in Floyds Knobs, which has already been nominated by the Independent Music Awards for Live Performance Album of the Year. "Sometimes you play somebody else's song just 'cause it feels good. And good god did this feel good!" remarks Mike.
Mike's brilliant acoustic version of "Naughty Girl" strips the original song, taken from Beyoncé's 2003 debut album Dangerously In Love, down to its mesmerizing, raw vocal melody and mysterious, seductive vibe. Enter the harmonies of friend and fellow musician Serena Isabelli along with Mike's expressive, soaring vocals and you've got one magical little Beyoncé cover to take in.
"An idea for 'Naughty Girl' had been echoing around in my head for a few years, and this felt like the perfect time to give it a go," Mike comments on the origins of introducing the cover into a live performance set. "I convinced some incredible players to join me on stage, and with the live audience providing a buzzing little atmosphere...it felt like the right kind of electric moment that a song like this deserves. We had never played it together before that night, and I think we all knew by the last note that something special had just happened."
When Serena Isabelli stepped on stage with Mike, "Naughty Girl" went from random experimental idea to, as Mike puts it: "hell-yes-absolutely-that’s-going-on-the-record!" He adds, "Serena’s voice is insane. So smooth and agile, and even though she can, she never sings too much. She's my absolute favorite human to sing with, so when she agreed to join the Live In Floyds Knobs recording effort, I knew we'd be putting out something even more special."
From a creative perspective, "Naughty Girl" is the very first piece of Mike's new, super ambitious project, 21 ROADS, to make it to the light. The project can succinctly be summed up as "5 years, 21 Major Works, 124 component works." Mike explains, "The timeline is downright aggressive, and the challenge to create all of these pieces for y'all will test me in every way imaginable. This things scares the crap out of me... I wouldn't have it any other way. Road #1 is my forthcoming brand new album, Live in Floyds Knobs."
With that, we leave you with the accompanying live performance video for "Naughty Girl," filmed and recorded live in a small room with 78 enthusiastic humans. Along with Mike Mentz, the video features Serena Isabelli (vocals), Tim Stop (keys), Josh Robinson (percussion), Matt Campbell (bass), with audio by Robert Payne and cameras by John Eiberger and Andy Evans.
While we await the official release of Live In Floyds Knobs on November 11, queue up "Naughty Girl," add it to your playlists and check out Mike's recent album releases (Souvenir, Live In Thailand) on your favorite streaming channels.