NYC musician Mike Tedesco builds livestream following from lounge of AKA Times Square

AKA Mike 1
Mike Tedesco
Photo courtesy of Mike Tedesco

Originally from Connecticut, Mike Tedesco grew up in a family of musicians and music lovers. He started to take piano lessons when he was 9 years old, but Tedesco thought that baseball was more on the horizon for him.

“It was never something that was ever forced on me. I was fascinated by it,” said Tedesco. “I took lessons when I was 9, but I had a one-track mind and wanted to play baseball. I wasn’t excited about it until I was 15 when I started singing and writing music. It sparked something that baseball never gave me.”

After finishing college at Hofstra University, Tedesco moved out to New York City, where he currently lives with his girlfriend. Tedesco finds inspiration from artists such as Marvin Gaye, Billy Joel, Freddie Mercury, Tom Odell and Jeff Buckley.

“What all of these artists have in common is basically this sense of originality. Nothing about them feels manufactured, that’s what I love about these artists — they are passionate and raw in their recording and songwriting,” said Tedesco. “Nothing they do feels fake to me. They inspire me to do the exact same time and be as honest as possible. I want people to feel how these artists made me feel when I listen to their music.”

Tedesco has gone on to release his own music, including his two EPs “Hardly Recognizable” and “Put To Rest.” Like many musicians in New York City, when COVID-19 shut down the city Tedesco found himself to be out of work with live shows canceled. As a musician, Tedesco’s main source of income came through his live shows and tours, both of which he had planned during 2020 and were ultimately canceled as well. 

“A few months into COVID, I started getting asked to play on livestream,” said Tedesco. “I had realized this is going to be it, I knew that I needed to adapt, I need better equipment because I might be doing this for a while.”

Photo courtesy of Mike Tedesco

During the pandemic, Tedesco and his girlfriend took on a lease at AKA Times Square. He initially started doing the livestream shows from his room, but received a fair amount of noise complaints as a result, which Tedesco completely understood.

What Tedesco didn’t expect was that the AKA Times Square Hotel was going to help make his livestream shows better — and with no noise complaints.

“The staff here, I cannot express how kind they are. They had spoken with management and they allowed me to use the lounge on the top floor to play music and livestream,” said Tedesco. “No one can hear me up there. All of my performing is done up there, I’ve recorded music up there. If they hadn’t have been so kind and accommodating, I would have had to leave. I cannot express how thankful I am for them.”

Tedesco has been able to build a following on Twitch, a platform that was originally made for video game players to stream their gameplay but has since grown to include a pocket of musicians. He currently streams four times a week from the AKA Times Square Hotel lounge, playing original music as well as song requests from his viewers.

“I started doing all of my livestream performances and came across Twitch, which has been a saving grace for me,” said Tedesco. “I hopped in and haven’t looked back, I’m able to reach so many people around the world. I’ve met this incredible music community on Twitch and developed a following.”

Tedesco is incredibly thankful for Twitch during the pandemic because not only does it help him perform live, but also because he can do his part to spread a bit of happiness in these dark times.

“I’m so thankful for it, it has exposed my music to a whole group of people that I never would have reached prior,” said Tedesco. “There is so much love and there are people who are spending hours in their day listening to and appreciating music. It helps a lot of people not feel alone.”

For more information about Tedesco’s music, visit miketedescomusic.com.