City of Michael: The Story of an LA Influencer

Michael Korte continues to dominate the social stratosphere with his hit YouTube channel City of Michael


A self portrait of Michael Korte captured by @scotlondon on Instagram

Frontline: When did you start your YouTube channel ‘City of Michael’?
Michael Korte: I started my Youtube channel when I moved to Los Angeles two years ago. With the most pure of intentions, I wanted to be creating original, creative content…it started with just one subscriber…whom most likely was a family member.

FL: What was the inspiration behind your channel?
MK: I saw too many other young YouTuber’s doing mediocre work. But, perhaps most importantly, the birth of my Youtube channel was the opportunity for me to reinvest in my childhood dreams. I always wanted to be in front of the camera. Before I moved to LA, I was living in Chicago, and tried for 3 years to get a job with Oprah at her studio in Chicago. After a handful of interviews that went nowhere, it only made sense for me to stop begging for a job from Oprah and attempt to be my own Oprah. Not surprisingly, we both REALLY love bread.

FL: What guest star had the most compelling interview?
MK: I’ll never forget interviewing MYA and Jasmine from Hamilton. Both had this compelling, near mesmerizing glow that hypnotized me. To this day, I think that’s where their star power might emanate from. Their incredible success must not be built on luck, it’s most definitely built on their gift and their glow.

FL: How do you get such a plethora of influencers on your channel?
MK: It’s always a fight to ‘book’ people for an interview or a project for my channel. I am a one-man-army. Sometimes I beg, sometimes I plead, sometimes I send 200 emails between myself and some star’s 5 person time and on the 201st email they decide to pull out. I’m also picky- just because someone has 400,000 Instargarm followers doesn’t mean I want them on my Channel. I work hard to curate a group of diverse, conscience, worldly, genuinely talented creative people. But it’s hard work! I spend hours a day trying to get other creative people to even CONSIDER collaborating.

FL: How did you come up with the idea for Ham4Bey?
MK: Ham4Bey had been living inside my heart & soul for about a year. I was convinced there was a way to mash these two titans together into one harmonious, kick ass piece. Beyonce is in my blood, Hamilton is wicked genius and I knew IF it could be pulled off then the product would be killer. Of course, they are both rooted and hip-hop and R&B and pop thus I knew technically, certain meldoies could line up. It took a village to bring that all together. It’s my wish for everyone that they get to work with a group as creative and mind-blowinlgy talented as I go to work with for HAM4bey.

FL: How did you react to such positive feedback from the video Ham4Bey?
MK: The feedback has been BEYOND humbling, and beyond my wildest dreams. CNN just named it the best video/mash of 2016. TIME magazine said it might be the ‘most glorious pop culture pairing ever’. SOOOOOOO ya… I’m not worthy. Most importantly, the private messages and tweets I have received from people all over the world saying it lift their spirits or got them out of bed or made them dance… that is priceless. I’m blown aways. And counting my blessings everyday.

FL: What’s the overall goal for your channel?
MK: The overall goal is to continue making creative, authentic, meaningful, intelligent dope content. To push myself, to push my friends, to introduce the world to talented people and give a platform to those who deserve it. I don’t want to be put in a box as just a ‘host’ or just a ‘music producer’. It’s 2017. We can do it all, we can dream as obscurely and wildly as we want and not have to apologize for something that comes pure from the heart. I want to stand alongside young LGBT and POC creatives and push the world forward through cool stuff.

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