Michaela Thompson: Acoustic Lounge recap

Jill O'Brien

As far as Iowa music scenes go, Michaela Thompson seems to have made something out of nothing after breaking into the Ames music scene her first semester at Iowa State.

Thompson started playing piano when she was 8 years old and started getting serious about guitar a year ago. A native of Carroll, Iowa, Thompson said Carroll did not have a music scene at all. But she found an entry into the Ames music scene when, and where, she least expected it — in one of downtown Ames’ most beloved venues.

“I found Vinyl Cafe when I was on my campus visit,” Thompson said. “I went and talked to Blake, [the owner], who told me to come to the open mic nights that they have on Sundays. I wasn’t looking for it at all.”

Throughout the first semester, Thompson performed at open mic nights but managed a good balance between school and music during her first semester at Iowa State with her musical passion.

“It’s kind of hard sometimes — on a Monday night there’s lots of homework and things to do,” Thompson said. “It’s a struggle but it’s like having any other hobby. The beginning of both semesters was hard, but once you get into the flow of it, you find a routine.”

Thompson described the first time she wrote a song as a good feeling.

“You don’t really get the same satisfaction with covers — it’s a nice form of expression,” Thompson said.


When writing songs, Thompson focuses on “finding pieces of my own life that relate to other people. If you throw in your own life, people relate more.”

After performances at Vinyl’s open mic nights, Michaela performed in the Ames Intergenerational Song Circle at the sixth annual Maximum Ames Music Festival and is currently working on an extended playlist. But at the heart of her musical journey is the importance of going out and performing for yourself.

“I sat in my room for the longest time and was like, “Why am I not discovered?” And it was because I didn’t go anywhere. So get out and go places. The more you go places, you’ll find places and things to do.”