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Michael Lindsey's Deep Connection to Music Enrich His Life

Michael Lindsey

One of the many impressive things about Michael Lindsey, the graduate programs coordinator in Film and Digital Media (FDM), is that he can speak six languages including English, Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Farsi, and Pashto. He even speaks a little Spanish, which he doesn’t count given his lack of fluency. “Code switching with that many languages is kind of difficult sometimes,” says Lindsey.

Though he works in FDM, Lindsey began his life at UC Santa Cruz as a Ph.D. student in the Music Department. After receiving his B.A., which is also in music, he learned there were a limited number of paths in music that would lead to a steady career. “I realized that if you're a musician and you're not pulling in Taylor Swift type revenue it's hard to make a living. One of the places that does support a lot of music is the university setting.”

In the years between undergrad and graduate school Lindsey worked in the South Indian film industry. He found a love of South Asian music while studying in undergrad. “Living in South India, that really gave me the opportunity to completely immerse myself,” says Lindsey. “I started learning instruments, languages, and whatever I could in my free time.”

When Lindsey returned to the U.S. to pursue his Ph.D., his time spent here was minimal. He spent years living and studying in North and Western India as well as Kabul, and Afghanistan. His time in Afghanistan was particularly inspiring. He now helps run an organization that helps get musicians out of the area, since the Taliban outlawed music in 2021.

Lindsey fell in love with music as a child growing up in Central Indiana. His parents signed him and his older brother up for music programs throughout their childhood as an extracurricular activity. “My summers were seven hours in the Midwestern heat and humidity,” he says. “Marching band practice was out on the tarmac parking lot.”

His parents also encouraged Lindsey and his brother to pursue athletics, and he is still a competitive athlete. Lindsey started running triathlons in the 2010s. After COVID started he switched to just biking. In March he won 6th place in the 55th Santa Cruz Classic Criterium, and he has other races he’s looking forward to like next month's Pescadero Road Race. 

Ultimately, Lindsey’s goal is to get into teaching. He used to teach a few classes in music but his role in the Film Department offered a steadier lifestyle. Though he is not teaching at the moment he hopes to ultimately find a professorship position. In the meantime, he enjoys spending time with his 14-month-old-Blue Heeler puppy and is looking forward to the upcoming Social Documentary MFA screening taking place at the Del Mar Theater in downtown Santa Cruz on June 12, 2024.

May 2024