Hey, My name is Zak Mahoney. I sing in a band called Like Mike.

#FBTFAM anecdote life experiences

Zak Mahoney Reflection FBT Entertainment

Hey, My name is Zak Mahoney. I sing in a band called Like Mike.

I was told I could write about pretty much whatever I wanted so I decided to kind of write about how I took every opportunity I could in music, no matter how scary or hard they were, and how those decisions turned 2018 from one of the absolute worst years of my life and into one of the best years of my life.

Zak Mahoney, performing with his band Like Mike at Connect Live in Acworth, Georgia
Photo courtesy of Edward Tumulty

Early on in the year, my mental health was an absolute mess.

I was depressed and miserable pretty much 24 hours a day. I was waking up at 3am most mornings to make it into a job at 4:30am for a company that I was trying to move up in, but that I also knew that it wasn’t truly what I wanted for my life. On top of being depressed and feeling completely lost, my girlfriend at the time broke things off with me. Needless to say, I wasn’t coping with any of these things well at all. 2018 started off as a complete shit show for me.

Around the middle of March, my band Like Mike played a show in Atlanta with tour package that the bands’ booking agent had asked us to play. I spent a decent portion of this night drinking at the bar and catching up with their booking agent who was also tour managing the tour. I told him about how I had been depressed, my girlfriend dumped me (ya know the whole sob story). He responded by saying:

“Well, we have an extra spot in the van, if you want to come on this rest of this tour.”

I initially declined because it was so last second, and I was already behind on paying bills. The next day, I woke up and thought about the offer and decided I was just going to go on the tour. I felt like I had nothing to lose other than the last of my money at this point in my life. I might as well just go do something I enjoy. My friend Ty from the band American Boyfriend gave me a ride all the way out to Statesboro, GA to meet up with the tour package down there. I had a blast on that tour. Getting to watch those two bands play every single night in exchange for sitting at a table to sell merch for one of them was such a great way to spend two and a half weeks.

Like Mike Mariette Georgia

Photo courtesy of Edward Tumulty

Shortly after I got back from this tour, I was still a little depressed but making that impromptu decision to tour ended up being a positive move for myself and my mental health. My band, Like Mike ended up striking up a booking and management deal with the same agency that had invited us to play that same show in March. That was kind of that defining moment for the rest of my year. It was the “oh fuck, I’m all in now whether I’m ready or not” moment of my year. I could already tell it was about to be full speed ahead for the rest of the year. I was nervous but also excited. Like Mike had been a fully functioning ship for years. We just needed a good captain.

Like Mike at Connect Live

Photo courtesy of Edward Tumulty

Like Mike and Drop The Girl at Connect Live

Our decision to work with this management led to over 40 days of touring for us split amongst two separate tours. After all of the touring, there wasn’t much time to rest. We also had two weeks of studio time booked in Rhode Island at No Boundaries Studios with Chris Piquette. The whole experience was something completely new to me. We came into the studio halfway prepared so that we could work with Chris on building these song ideas as opposed to having entire songs already completely written and ready to record. We wrote and recorded nine songs with Chris during those two weeks and it ended up being the best material that we had ever written as a band.

Zak Mahoney of Like Mike at No Boundaries Studios

Zak Mahoney, recording vocals for Like Mike's upcoming release

Like Mike with Christ Piquette at No Boundaries Studios in Providence, Rhode Island

Like Mike with Christ Piquette at No Boundaries Studios, Providence Rhode Island

Something I think that really helped was being out of town for two weeks and being too broke to do anything other than sit in a studio to write and record with your closest friends and Chris who knows how to bring any band’s music to the next level. I had never left a studio feeling more creatively satisfied and I still listen to these rough mixes almost every day just because I enjoy these songs so much. Writing and recording these songs was such a great way to end the year for Like Mike.

And I finally felt like I had a grasp on my own mental health by constantly working towards accomplishing things that I could be proud of.

While the year was over for Like Mike, it wasn’t quite over for my own personal moves in music. I took an offer to wait tables at a local music venue called Connect Live that was hosting a jazz show with a VIP Dinner package on new year’s eve. It was also the same venue that had allowed Like Mike to play our final hometown show of the year. I was speaking with the owner, Luke on one of my smoke breaks about looking for a new job for 2019. We ended up working out a deal to allow me to book shows through Connect Live. It’s a lot of work but I’m glad I get to spend several hours a day doing something that I really enjoy when I’m home from tour.

Like Mike and Drop The Girl Fall Tour 2019 in Norfolk Virginia

Long story short, 2018 was an absolute whirlwind.

I took every opportunity thrown at me that would challenge me. I took back control over my own happiness and set myself up to succeed with my band and in my own personal life in 2019. If I want anyone to take anything from this, it’s to take risks and face every challenge head on even when it gets fucking difficult.


Zak Mahoney

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