Someone You Should Know: California-based musician makes his way back to his roots

Local News

The sounds coming from the 14-acres that Michael Cartwright lives on and tends to… sound a lot closer to home on the range than they do of the waves crashing in Long Beach, California, where he comes from.

“Little ole’ Center, North Dakota,” he said with a smile. “It’s an amazing place to live. “

He moved around a lot as a kid, but where he lives now is pretty close to what he’s considered home his whole life.

“This is where I would come and visit my grandparents for the holidays and for the summers I remember hammering a couple nails in the house back in the early 80s when they built it and it’s kind of amazing to know and think that now I live here.”

Cartwright moved to Center about a year and a half ago.

Little did he know his time in North Dakota would be amid a global pandemic.

That being said, unlike many other musicians, it hasn’t stopped him from working.

Locally, he bartends, and although he’s used to boarding a plane more than 30 times a year for traveling gigs, he’s still able to pursue his music career. Just on a much smaller scale, for the time being.

He still travels all over the world with his trumpet case and a carry on bag, thanks to opportunities through a private entertainment company.

“I kind of equate myself to like, a musical special forces guy where I don’t know exactly where I’m going or who I’ll see when I get there but I have a target and I’m going to give them my music,” he said.

But his journey has been a long one.

He’s been playing the trumpet since the sixth grade and kept up with music.. eventually joining a non-profit performance group called the Young Americans.

He then took a bit of a non-traditional path to earn a Bachelor’s degree, and says thanks to living on his family’s land, he looks forward to soon being student loan debt-free.

And that’s not the only thing he loves about ‘little ole Center’

“There’s a higher sense of community here. People look out for each other. No one’s trying to be famous here in Center, North Dakota,” he said. “But people are definitely taking care of each other, and they love big.”

Plus, his time in North Dakota has allowed him to rediscover who he is as a musician.

He says living in a more remote part of the country, plus it being during a pandemic, made him realize that he forgot what it was like to play without an audience and engage in the sound of music, just for himself.

Well, and for his new barn cat friends.

“Now I’m finding the balance between going out and traveling, getting that rush of performing for people, and them coming home and working on my own stuff again.”

And, he’s finding his path in the Peace Garden State, having gigs at Laughing Sun Brewing and a few appearances on KX News’ very own Studio 701.

So if you don’t know him by now …
Michael Cartwright is Someone You Should Know.

His most recent performance abroad was on the island of Mustique.
So he is getting to experience North Dakota winter, just with a bit of a retreat.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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