The 25-year-old Palm Coast native takes the stage on May 4.
Michael Scerbo, who will be performing in the local showcase at the Palm Coast Songwriters Festival, got his first guitar at age 13. Mostly, the guitar sat there, silent. His friends chipped in and got him a new guitar years later, and that one also didn’t get much use. He graduated from Flagler Palm Coast High School in 2011, and then, one summer day when he was home for a break from classes at Florida Atlantic University, he saw his guitar and picked it up.
“I started playing it, and I started getting it,” he recalls in an interview outside Moonrise Brewing Co., on a rainy day in April. “Chords started coming naturally to me. It felt like something I wanted to do. It was something I was looking for.”
Guitar quickly became a passion for Scerbo, who had been looking for that one thing he was really good at.
“It’s how I knew I wanted to do it for my life,” he says. “Basically, make it a career.”
Scerbo has played sets of cover songs at Finn’s, Break-Awayz, Hammock Wine and Cheese, The Brown Dog — even at an assisted living facility, Sabal Palms. Every now and then, he also includes an original, some of which he wrote with his brother, Vincent.
“I met a beauty from South Alabama,” Scerbo sings outside Moonrise, in European Village. “I’m always gonna go her way.” He uses his voice as another instrument, harmonizing with his guitar in a way that has impressed some audience members recently.
Scerbo says it’s been difficult to find collaborators locally, which is one reason he’s excited to participate May 4 in the local showcase, at the second-annual Palm Coast Songwriters Festival, at the Daytona State College Amphitheater. He said he’s never performed in a venue like that before.
Scerbo likes to make people happy by playing, but he also uses music to respond to his own life.
“Just recently, my grandpa passed, and sometimes I turn to music when I have a lot of emotions and I don’t know how to deal them,” he says. “Playing music calms me down and makes me think about things in a better point of view.”
So far, he says, he thinks he has written three or four songs that could be hits. “Not to be overconfident,” he says with a smile, “but I think they could be.”