Michael Clifford is a treasure that outside of the 5SOS fandom, isn’t discussed all that much. Sure, he gets mentioned collectively within news about the band, but it feels like the world is truly missing out on something special. We are forever looking for the good people in the world in hopes to balance out or even demolish those who aren’t so good, but Michael Clifford is right under our noses and yet it feels like he’s missed by many.
We all know that music is like a medication that is self prescribed. It heals.
But behind the music is often an artist who you can create an unbreakable connection with. Back at the tender age of 18, Michael Clifford once famously tweeted the quote: “Real bands save fans. Real fans save bands.” While it’s up to him to justify how the latter works for him, we can certainly discuss how he proves that real bands do in fact save fans.
Besides their phenomenal talent, a big selling point for the 5SOS brand is just them. Who they are as people. Four incredible guys who want their music to speak when words fail. They want to connect to people who feel things they do or for them to interpret the band’s words into their own situations.
Speaking to Billboard, Michael said: “We just make the music we make, and we have the fans we have. They listen to it because they like it. It doesn’t matter what genre we are.
“Whatever music you listen to that comes out your speakers, that’s all that matters.”
Fans started to feel their connection strengthen through the band and Michael soon became their go-to person in terms of mental health. ‘The New Broken Scene’ could arguably be a huge part in linking the band as a whole into sparking the discussion of tackling the taboo subject, since it was an entire campaign for their sophomore album, ‘Sounds Good Feels Good’ which openly explores the band’s personal experience battling with their mental well-being. ‘Jet Black Heart’ – where Michael takes the lead vocals – soon became the fan anthem for accepting that not being okay all the time isn’t such a bad thing. Every night on the ‘Sounds Live Feels Live’ tour, fans would erupt into screams for what ended up being minutes that lasted longer each and every show as the spotlight came down onto Clifford and he prepared to sing his opening solo. They knew how important the song was to him and he knew it meant just as much to them.
Every year since 2017, Michael has made sure he acknowledged ‘World Mental Health Day,’ encouraging fans to speak out if they needed to.
my DMs are open to all for the next hour, if anybody needs to talk please send me a message and I’ll try and respond. #WorldMentalHealthDay— pingu (@Michael5SOS) October 11, 2017
Speaking about being the fan-elected mental health advocate, he says: “I’m so lucky as a person now to even be regarded as someone who could be an advocate. It’s pretty surreal to think one person could make such a difference.”
He feels that if he can make just one fan get through a dark patch, he’s succeeded.
“We’ve had so many people who support this band and I’m sure a lot of them struggle with mental health issues. If I can help one person, then this is all worth it. I know that’s really cheesy and everyone has said that, but everyone says that for a reason. Because, well it’s true.”
Of course, while mental health is a huge topic, it’s not something Michael is restricted to.
He is also quite the charitable man. Speaking about the band’s charity organization ‘Friends of Friends’, he spoke about the importance of giving back now that they’re in such a privileged position.
“I mean, you know, we’ve had, we’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel the world so many times and see so many different people around the world. And I think it really, for us, brings a sense of perspective on what’s really important in your life and how to – I dunno – just viewing the world as like humans. And everyone has their own problems and everyone has their own issues that feel just as big as what an issue that we would feel.”
Other incredible charitable acts by Clifford include a charity giveaway – in which one lucky fan won a 5SOS jacket he donned for a year, as well as a signed copy of his favorite video games, visiting the Bali Foundation to hang out with the kids, and speaking up for the likes of different causes including the #EndItMovement
Michael often uses his platform for social justice.
He’s rocked a shirt that spoke volumes in terms of fighting against sexism, racism, homophobia, and transphobia. He supported and participated in a LGBTQIA+ fan movement. He’s openly spoken about supporting his queer fans. He’s spoken about women’s rights. Amongst his meme-like content, you can always find something important that fights in the corner of his fans and minorities.
happy women’s day. if you’re a dude, don’t be a dickMarch 9, 2015
BRO I GOT A CLIP OF MICHAEL WITH A PRIDE FLAG KCKSKVLLS pic.twitter.com/ZSw0ABC285— sophia♡ (@sophia_darlings) October 4, 2018
Michael is also someone who ensures that every single fan he meets and interacts with feels seen. Just search “I met Michael” on Twitter and your heart will soar with the wonderful experiences the 5SOSFam have had with the guitarist. He gets so psyched whenever a fan gives him a gift – heck, he wore a number of bracelets on his arms for years purely because fans kept gifting them to him. He still has them, by the way.
He also excitedly offered to let fans to play his guitar during the ‘Rock Out With Your Socks Out’ tour, a once in a lifetime experience that people would pay through the nose for. Everything Michael does is always about the fans. They can always look to him in times of need or a place to escape.
Michael Clifford is one of the most wonderful people in existence and maybe the world needs to just open its eyes, extend its arms, and pull him into a warm embrace.
We need to protect and appreciate the Michael Cliffords of the world because they do so much and yet don’t get nearly as much gratitude as they rightfully deserve.
Why do you love Michael? Do you have a Michael Clifford moment that the world needs to know about? Tell us all about it in the comments below or by tweeting us @TheHoneyPOP
Featured Image Source: Photo by Andy Deluca, edit by Andreea Farcas
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Creative Director of The Honey POP. Disney and pop culture enthusiast.