Call It a Comeback

After changing course, even changing names, and later calling it quits, Micaiah Walker’s VerseCity is rising up again.

GETTING THE BAND back together might sound like a cliché best left to post-grad party boys looking to reunite for a bender, or The Blues Brothers. But for Micaiah Walker, 26, it’s quite real, and he’s all in. His once renamed and later defunct band, VerseCity, is making a second run at commercial success. “If you don’t have everything invested,” says the handsome, lanky frontman, things start to fade.”


Walker’s journey back to the starting gate began on the high school basketball court, perhaps unsurprisingly, since he stands six-foot-four barefooted. Until 2008 he was set on pursuing a career in basketball. A standout with the state-playoffs-bound Clear Lake Falcons, he had an opportunity to walk on to the UH Cougars basketball team as a freshman. But a couple of chance meetings — on and off the court — diverted his path.

He linked up with Chase Gutierrez, an aspiring music manager he met while playing rec-league basketball, and Marcus Edwards III, who lived in Walker’s dorm. Soon after, the trio formed VerseCity (pronounced “versity,” like “diversity”) and the band — influenced by Incubus, Maroon 5 and Jack Johnson — would share stages with such well known acts as Slim Thug and Lifehouse.

In 2010, VerseCity released a rock-bathed version of Ke$ha’s “TiK ToK,” and the cover tune climbed international radio charts. Eventually, the band signed with Austin-based Foundation Recordings, which coaxed them into changing their name, among other things. They became The Anthem.

Overall, it was quite an accomplishment, given that Walker is largely a self-taught singer and guitarist. He learned some guitar chords from his dad, a professional musician who traveled the country to make a living after Micaiah’s mother died when Micaiah was a toddler. But Walker figured a lot of it out on his own. “Once I realized I wasn’t going to make it to the NBA, that’s when I got really into — falling in love with — music,” remembers Walker, who plays a hybrid acoustic-electronic guitar while belting out vocals, recalling a less-emo and less-tortured Fall Out Boy.

However, the commercial breakthrough wasn’t an entirely gratifying experience for Walker. “The label wanted us to sound more like a boy band,” he says. “Although the record was well produced, it didn’t sound like us. It didn’t become a big radio success like they had hoped. Eventually, the fans went away, our morale was super low, and the band members jumped ship and got full-time jobs.”

VerseCity lead singer Micaiah WalkerVerseCity lead singer Micaiah Walker

Now, four years later, Walker has revived the band — called VerseCity once again — and the new crew is playing shows at venues like House of Blues, and will release a 10-song album early next year. Walker is also making a splash as a solo artist, picking through songs he’s written over the years and adding electronic-centric sounds, hip-hop beats and dubstep bass. In his spare moments, Walker enjoys playing pick-up basketball and watching NBA games. (He can still dunk, by the way.) He also spends his time with his wife of nearly five years, Suzie, a health expert, life coach and Page Parkes model.

One of VerseCity’s newest tunes, “Rise Up Lights,” which will be included on the new record, is a particular favorite of Walker’s. It’s also apropos of his journey, as Walker says his career is back on track after a blow that could have forever crushed the full time musician.

“When you’ve gotten knocked down a bunch of times and you’ve had a hard road and some hard times, you keep pushing,” says Walker. “When your time comes, you have to rise and you have to shine. The idea is you keep working, and you rise up and you take people by surprise.”

Art+Culture

SOUTH FLORIDA-BASED Italian shoe line Concetto Limone will make its Texas debut at a cocktail reception at Valobra Master Jewelers (2150 Westheimer Rd.) on Thursday, April 29 from 5-7pm. The evening of "All Things Italian" will transport guests immediately to the coast of southern Italian as they sip on Italian wines, Aperol Spritzes, Negronis and Limoncellos while feasting on an assortment of Italian hors d'oeuvres from Houston's beloved Tony's. Invited guests will have the first glance in Texas on the Concetto Limone line and the opportunity to purchase unisex styles on Thursday evening and all day Friday at a trunk show at Valobra.

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Abbie Preston Edmonson gives a special presentation this weekend

DESPITE SOME APRIL showers, there's still plenty of fun to be had! From art-centric and Earth Day activities to family-friendly fests, check out a rundown of the weekend's best bets.

LEARN FROM AN ARTIST Tune in tonight for an hour-long talk by ceramicist and Houston Center for Contemporary Craft resident artist Abbie Preston Edmonson about her creative process. She'll give a virtual presentation about her work and a special demonstration in her studio space.

Brennen's exec chef Joey Chavez (photo by Kimberly Park)

TAKE A VIRTUAL PAINTING LESSON OR COOKING CLASS Be inspired by the great state of Texas during a virtual painting lesson hosted by Honey Art Cafe on Friday night. For only $20, stream a two-hour virtual lesson and make a series of stylized mini paintings inspired by West Texas and Big Bend National Park. Honey Art Cafe also has supply kits available for purchase for beginners or artists low on supplies.

And if painting isn't quite your speed, see what you can cook up in the kitchen! Brennen's exec chef Joey Chavez leads a "date night" cooking lesson for couples on Friday at 6:30pm. Hosted at the restaurant, the socially distanced demonstration, which costs $150, includes a reception, followed by an interactive demonstration and seated dinner.

CELEBRATE EARTH DAY! Join the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center from 10am-4pm on Saturday for a fun- and information-filled day! Explore informative booths, nature hikes, fun displays in the Discovery Room, and Earth-friendly take-home activities. Or join Discovery Green on Sunday from 12-5pm, when the park will screen a series of short films about Houston's environment, host a panel about February's freeze, and showcase a live painting demo by local artists working on murals to decorate the park.

GO ON AN OUT-OF-THIS WORLD ADVENTURE Fifty-one years ago, the Apollo 13 crew splashed down safely back on Earth after their famously harrowing mission to the moon and back. Space Center Houston is celebrating that anniversary on Saturday, hosting two livestreamed panel discussions with current NASA experts as well as Apollo-era legends.And now through May 2, local NASA and Apollo 13 fans can check out the center's new spring exhibition, titled "Apollo: When We Went to the Moon," that looks at the legacy of the Apollo era through the lens of the engineers and astronauts who actually lived the experience.

FIND FUN AT THE INTERNATIONAL KIDS FEST Traders Village hosts Kids Fest on Sunday, with games, activities, interactive shows, live music, acrobats, magicians, clowns and more. Parking is $5, but the event itself is free, sure to keep the whole family entertained from 12-4pm.

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