The Story

Michael Tiernan Michael Tiernan


Surviving cancer at age 16… At 18, traveling the country in a van with a group of wacky Catholic hippies giving retreats to young people… Criss-crossing through Europe with his guitar… Hanging with monks deep in desert monasteries… Living in the Vatican as a seminarian in his 20’s on the way to becoming a priest, yet preferring to play gigs in local Roman pubs, or studying Buddhism in the piazza when he should’ve been in class…now a seasoned songwriter, performer, father of two babies and four albums…

What would a person like this have to say about life?  Plenty, especially when magnified through the prism of a song.

Meet Michael Tiernan. Through the experiences of what could be ten lifetimes, Michael is an artist who has plunged into and explored the deep spaces of personal and worldly conflict, the beauty of love and nature, the joy of new life and the pain of losing loved ones, as well as the meaning of suffering and pervasive unhappiness that threatens our human experience on all sides. In his music, he resurfaces from these depths beaming with a positive outlook for all of us.

The Music

Michael Tiernan’s new album, “L.A. Can Wait“, is a pop gem.  It is Jack Johnson meets Coldplay, Karouac meets Confuscious.

But why can L.A. wait?  Mostly because of a few calls San Diego singer/songwriter Michael Tiernan has received the past couple of years.  One went like this: “Don’t worry Mike, I am Strong”. Tiernan hung up the phone and couldn’t believe it.  Stage 4 cancer, his own brother.  2 years later, as Tiernan was recording tracks in the studio for “Strong”, the very song he had written about his brother Joe’s battle with the terrible disease, he received another call, this time from the hospital.  Three days later, his brother had passed away.  Tiernan played the song for his brother on the last morning of his life. That song, “Strong” is the swirling center of Michael’s emotional and inspiring new album, “LA Can Wait”.

Yet “LA Can Wait” is not about death, and is certainly not a downer.  “L.A. Can Wait” is actually an incredibly celebratory album that reveres each unique color in the spectrum of life, from birth to death, with the over-arching mandate to appreciate and enjoy every moment in between.

In fact, a cancer-survivor himself, Tiernan penned two of the most tender of love songs, inspired by a couple other calls he got, the ones where his wife said, “I’m pregnant”.  These are songs about the unexpected miracle of new life.  Tiernan has produced two children since his last album release, “Spaces”, in 2007.

“L.A. Can Wait” is Tiernan’s 4th studio album and was produced by L.A.’s rising talent Andre de Santanna, who learned a lot of his production chops from multi-platinum producer, Roy Thomas Baker, and has production and performance credits with an array of top  artists including Jason Mraz.  Michael’s past three albums are all award-winners (two-time Los Angeles Award winner for Male Singer-Songwriter of the Year and Triple-A Album of the Year, International Acoustic Music Awards Male Artist of the Year Runner-Up, Great American Song Contest finalist).  “L.A. Can Wait” is an album for both the goal-driven workaholic and the free-spirited contemplative.  It takes you from the beach to the city, from the temple to the tavern, and leaves a little bit of your heart in each place.

The Community

Tiernan also gives back to the community through his participation in local and national cancer-support foundations and through organizing music events to showcase up-and-coming artists in his native San Diego, known as “San Diego’s New Acoustic Generation”.


  • L.A. Can Wait” 11 song album to officially release October, 2010
  • Spaces” 14 song album released April 2007
  • “Allied Gardens” – 12 song live acoustic album side-project with songwriters Sven-Erik Seaholm and Peter Bolland
  • Jumping In” 12 song album released in March of 2005
  • Still Listening“, 14-song album released February of 2004
  • “Two Weeks (with Nothing to Do)” 14-song solo album released March of 2000
  • “Beatnik”, 13-song album released with the alternative rock band, ScrapApple, in 1994

Awards / Notables

  • 2011 International Songwriting Competition Finalist – AAA Category
  • 2011 Great American Song Contest Top 5 Award Winner
  • 2008 Great American Song Contest Finalist
  • 2008 Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist
  • Best of 2008 – Singer/Songwriter, San Diego Magazine
  • 2007 International Acoustic Music Awards Male Artist of the Year Runner-up
  • 2007 Songwriter of the Year, Pacific Songwriting Competition
  • 2006 Kerrville New Folk Songwriting Finalist
  • 2006 Official Endorsement by the Independent Artist Registry
  • 2005 Winner of the Triple-A Album of the Year, Los Angeles Music Awards
  • 2004 Winner of Male Singer/Songwriter of the Year, Los Angeles Music Awards