Mike Doughty (born June 10 1970) is an American singer and songwriter. He led the band Soul Coughing in the 1990s; in the 2000s he became a solo artist. His most famous songs include "Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well" and "I Hear the Bells," both of which gained prominence from being featured on popular television shows.
The son of a military family, he moved around the country and Europe, and spent his teenage years living on the grounds of the United States Military Academy at West Pointwhere he attende James I. Oneill high school in Highland Falls,NY. From there he attended Bard College at Simon's Rock. He eventually moved to New York City to study poetry at the New School University, where singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco was one of his classmates in Sekou Sundiata's poetry course, "The Shape and Nature of Things to Come.
In 1992, Doughty, then a doorman at the New York avant-garde club The Knitting Factory founded Soul Coughing (billing himself then as M. Doughty), and enjoyed the minor hit singles "Super Bon Bon" and "Circles".
Wearying of the band and addicted to heroin, Doughty broke up Soul Coughing in 2000, and was promptly dropped by Warner Brothers. A few years later, he beat his addiction and started touring as a solo artist. He drove around the country in a rental car, covering 9000 miles on his first tour, playing acoustic shows, often to crowds of Soul Coughing fans. After the shows, he would sit at the front of the stage and sell copies of his acoustic album Skittish — then on CD-Rs in plain white sleeves — a record that he had recorded for , and which was rejected by, Warner Brothers in 1996.
He sold 20,000 copies of Skittish over three years, and gradually developed a following independent of Soul Coughing. At the Bonnaroo music festival in 2004, Doughty and Dave Matthews — a longtime Soul Coughing supporter, who had the band open for him on two US tours, including shows at Madison Square Garden — bumped into each other. Matthews professed to be a fan of Doughty's solo record Rockity Roll, in particular the song "27 Jennifers," so Doughty gave him a CD of rough mixes of an album he had been working on in Minneapolis with former Semisonic singer Dan Wilson. This album was to become Haughty Melodic, an anagram for 'Michael Doughty', which Matthews released on his ATO label. Haughty Melodic's hit single, "Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well," was heavily played on the radio in 2005; Doughty made a video for the song with director/photographer Danny Clinch, opened for DMB at Madison Square Garden, and appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman.
He founded Mike Doughty's Band, featuring Dan Chen (keyboard and synthesizer), Pete McNeal (drums), and Andrew "Scrap" Livingston (upright bass) and toured extensively that year. In the summer of 2006 Dan Chen left the group, and was replaced by John Kirby.
In February 2008, Doughty released his fourth solo album, Golden Delicious. The album features a reworked version of "27 Jennifers" which received some radio attention following the release. Doughty has planned a spring 2008 tour with his band to support the new album.
Doughty is an active blogger (see link below), commenting on pop culture, his life as a musician and his fans, and writing about and photographing his numerous travels, to Cambodia, Laos, Buenos Aires, Shanghai, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Germany, and Mississippi.
In 2002, Doughty recorded four songs for the film EvenHand. "Get Along" was subsequently released as a bonus track on Skittish / Rockity Roll. The other three songs, "Sweet Francis", "Love Theme From Officer Morning", and "The Devilish Verve of the Age Is Like a Man With a Staple Gun", remain unavailable.
In 2003, Doughty released a book of poetry entitled Slanky (ISBN 1-887128-71-9) which received rave reviews from peers such as Dave Matthews and Ben Folds, who contributed enthusiastic blurbs for the book's cover.
Doughty's publicist, Andy Adelewitz, sends out an annual April Fool's Day email with fake Mike Doughty news. Past jokes have said that he was changing his name to Mike "Cougar" Doughty, and had accepted an offer to become the new guitar player in Limp Bizkit. April 2006's message said that Doughty announced he was running for New York State Senate, representing the 7th District (comprising most of northern Nassau County, Long Island), in order to ease tensions between Long Island authorities and soy gluten farmers.
In the fall of 2006, Mike Doughty's Band opened for the Barenaked Ladies.
Doughty is known for being taper-friendly, allowing people to record his concerts and share them on the internet.
"Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well" was on the hit show Grey's Anatomy and also is on the soundtrack. "I Hear the Bells" was also on the show.
"Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well" was also featured on a 2007 episode of the TV show What About Brian
"Down on the River by the Sugar Plant" was featured in the Suicide Girls DVD Suicide Girls - The First Tour during a set by SG London.
His song "I Hear the Bells" is featured prominently in an episode of Veronica Mars called 'Look Who's Stalking' during the second season and also appears on the show's soundtrack.
He appears on the 808 State song "Bond" (1996) from the album Don Solaris.