Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian (B-Man) Fields and Michelle (mi-Shell) Tafoya.
It all started at a parrot head party with margaritas, good friends and some guitars and now the rest is history! Brian Fields & Michelle Tafoya, who go by the band name B-Man & mi-Shell, live the island life in Key West, Florida. Many know them from the previous band called B-Man & The MizzBeeHavens, started by Brian when they lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but now live in Key West of which they refer to as the “The Gateway to the Caribbean”. B-Man & mi-Shell are a husband and wife music duo who write, produce, perform and share their music both nationally and internationally. In an article by “The Florida Weekly”, they stated, “Their chemistry on and off stage looks perfectly natural, just like a proper rock n’ roll couple should, like Sonny and Cher or Johnny and June Cash.
Over the years, Brian “B-Man” & Michelle “mi-Shell” have played around the country, from bars, restaurants, small venues and house concerts in the DC/Maryland/Virginia area, Charleston, South Carolina, Atlanta, Memphis, Las Vegas just to name a few. Being “Parrotheads” and Jimmy Buffett fans, one of their highlights as musicians was when they were allowed to be the opening band at the Jimmy Buffett Tailgate Party in October 2015 when Jimmy made his concert stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Over the years, B-Man & mi-Shell have headlined such Trop Rock venues as Phins to the West in Mesquite, Arizona. Six String Music Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana and numerous Music Pit Stop Parties on their way to the annual Meeting of the Minds in Key West, Florida. After coming to Key West for so many years, Brian & Michelle decided it was time they finally made the move and call it home. They have been living the Conch life now for three years with their four cats. They enjoy going around town playing at different establishments to include the Tiki House, The Salty Angler, Key West Smuggler Co. Tasting Room, Old Stone Coffee House, American Legion, Rum Row and Paradise Tattoo just to name a few. On occasion, they play private events around Key West and up the Keys, which they say they enjoy the most. It’s an opportunity to share our original music, tell the story of how our original song came to life and interact with the audience more personally than you can at a bar. In addition, B-Man & mi-Shell give back to the community and play at numerous fundraising events when their schedule allows. It’s our way of helping those who need help and it makes us feel part of the community where we live now.
B-Man & mi-Shell are lovers of many musical styles from many eras and genres and their songwriting reflects these varied influences. They call their music “Nautical Americana” style music. Their current CD “Key West Bound” actually lived up to their dream of living that Key West life and sharing their music throughout the Keys. Their song “Sail Away” hit the Trop Rock Charts at Number 1 in April 2016, only a few months after being released and their song “Key West Bound” was adopted by the “Conchfish Nation” as their anthem song when they all head to Key West for their annual reunion. Since moving to Key West and forming B-Man & mi-Shell, they continue to perform, write and produce music. Most recently their song “Drinkin’ Down in Mexico” went Number 1 on the Tropical Americana Trop 40 and is currently still in the Top 20 on the same charts since January 2019.
For the last three years, B-Man & mi-Shell have partnered with Tiki Man Radio, an internet radio station, and the Tiki House in Key West and host a songwriters showcase during the annual Meeting of the Minds (MOTM) songwriter event. Their event, the Tiki Man Radio Songwriters Showcase “Key West Bound” is a four-day event that highlights the talents of so many local and visiting musicians during the MOTM week. This event has grown from hosting 32 musicians to this year’s event welcoming 50 musicians. Most important is this event helps raise money for our selected charities which have included Reef Relief, Sister Season and Surfriders of the Florida Keys. It’s just another way for us to help the community and offer a venue for all those musicians, local and visiting, an opportunity to share their talents, which is live broadcasted across the globe on internet radio.
Brian “B-Man” Fields – Lead Singer, Songwriter, Producer, Guitar, Mandolin, Banjo and Ukulele.
B-Man, Brian Fields, originally from Marion, Ohio, has been playing acoustic guitar since he was 13 years old. Though mostly self-taught, Brian (B-Man) has had blue grass influence during the early years. B-Man also plays the mandolin and has played the banjo in previous years with different groups. While serving in the Air Force, he earned the nickname “B-Man” and the name has stuck over time. After serving 20 years in the Air Force and serving around the world, Brian’s last military assignment landed him in the DC area where he finished his military career and began to find his roots again in music.
Brian started a band called the “Garage Boys” in Waldorf, Maryland and eventually started playing in the Jim Seymour Band with gigs throughout the DC, Maryland and Virginia areas. During the same time frame, Brian started B-Man Productions in the DC area and managed a few bands finding them locations to play throughout the DC, Maryland and Virginia. In 2005, Brian relocated to Albuquerque with his wife Michelle (who is also an Air Force Retiree) and started B-Sting Ventures, LLC (Emergency Management company) and played in a band called “Jus4Fun”. Following the Jus4Fun Band, Brian started the music group “B-Man and the MizzBeeHavens” where they played throughout the Albuquerque area and across the US and making many stops here in the Florida Keys. In July 2016, Brian & Michelle sold their home, loaded up the RV with their four cats and made the trip to Key West where they now call home and go by the Performing Duo “B-Man & mi-Shell”.
Michelle Tafoya “mi-Shell” – Singer, Guitar, Guitalele, & Percussion.
Michelle Tafoya, or mi-Shell as she likes to be called, is originally from Pueblo, Colorado. She has been playing music since she was a young child. She first took guitar lessons in the 4th Grade at Spann Elementary School in the 4th and 5th grade. While in middle school, she also was taught guitar and vocals by her older cousin, Sheela. Michelle played guitar and sang with her church Folk Group at St. Leander Parish in Pueblo for seven years, from 6th grade until her graduation from high school.
Michelle took a break from music for about twenty-five years while serving in the US Air Force. During her time in Albuquerque, she decided to get back into the music, picked up the guitar again and started performing. First playing in the band B-Man & the MizzBeeHavens to now with her husband as that Key West Nautical Americana Duo B-Man & mi-Shell. mi-Shell plays the Baby Taylor guitar and the “guitalele” a six-string ukulele. Her talents include playing guitar, guitalele, percussion and vocals. Like B-Man, mi-Shell is an Air Force Retiree and served her country around the world.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
We’ve always been pretty lucky to do the things musically that we do. The challenge for us would be how late in life we started our profession, so it seems we do a bit of catching up to those who have been doing this most of their lives. The music business is very tough. I would say the biggest challenge is finding the time to work on new music. The obstacle we see is how busy the daily/weekly schedule takes away from the creative time required to work on new songs. We have a lot of music ideas but finding the time to carve out of your daily/weekly schedule can be difficult. The goal we have set is to put more control into our schedules and make that time strictly for a creative song writer and producing.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
We are a music duo here in Key West. A husband and wife team. We specialize in entertaining which is a full time job. Not only to entertain but to keep up with new music as well as playing the old music and from time to time slipping in your own original music.
We are most proud of how we perform. We take pride and sharing our music, making our audience happy in hopes they come back time and time again. We try to engage the audience as well as gauge the type of music they might want to hear. That can be tough, but once you find it, you got them.
What sets us apart from others is we try to attempt in mixing up our music for each show. We try not to play the same thing over and over again, which happens a lot down here in Key West. We attempt to introduce new cover songs as well as new original songs where and when we can.
One fun event we have introduced to our followers is a live Facebook show every Tuesday. We call it Tuesday on the Island. It’s a one hour show we do each Tuesday from 3 pm – 4 pm. It’s a song request show as well as information about upcoming events, things to do in Key West and up the Keys and any additional information that may be of interest to the listener. You can watch us live on our Facebook link. We are also lucky to have a sponsor. The Key West Smuggler Co. sponsors our band and for the past six months our Tuesday on the Island Show comes live from their tasting room and we call it Tuesday on the Island “The Whiskey Sessions”.
What were you like growing up?
Brian (B-Man): Growing up in Marion, Ohio I was just your average kid who likes to hang out with friends, ride bikes, and just goof off. I was interested in many things playing golf, airplanes, music, board games, movies and the list goes on. My favorite interest was flying and when I was in the Air Force I did achieve and receive my private pilot license.
I really didn’t get into wanting to play a musical instrument until I was about 13. I had a friend who played, it looked fun, I bought a guitar and he would teach me chords and strum patterns. I would play all day. Find different songs to learn and figure out different chord structures and write a few songs. I never really did much as I didn’t have the confidence to move forward. After going into the Air Force I pretty much didn’t do much with it. I would take it with me at every new location I was stationed at, but just didn’t start performing.
Performing didn’t happen until I moved to the DC/Maryland/Virginia area and met up with a few friends who played music. We would practice in my garage and before you knew it we called ourselves the “Garage Boys”. We didn’t do much with that band, but from that, it turned into another band which the rest is history. I’ve played in the following bands – Garage Boys, Jim Seymour Band, Jus4Fun Band, B-Man & the MizzBeeHavens and now the Duo Band B-Man & mi-Shell.
Michelle (mi-Shell): Originally from Pueblo, Colorado. Michelle was the baby of the family. Her Brother and Sister were 18 years older than her. She says she was a very “precocious” child. As a young child, she always loved to climb around on things. She uses to climb out of her crib which kept her parents very busy. Michelle always loved dancing, singing, making up plays for family (cousins and Aunts/Uncles). Michelle started dancing when she was five and in first grade, she started taking gymnastics which led to her competing in events when she was 7 years old. After graduating high school, she was accepted in the Air Force Academy where she continued to compete as a gymnast during her freshman year and a member of the basketball cheerleader squad.
She has been playing music since she was a young child. She first took guitar lessons in the 4th Grade at Spann Elementary School in the 4th and 5th grade. While in middle school, she also was taught guitar and vocals by her older cousin, Sheela. Michelle played guitar and sang with her church Folk Group at St. Leander Parish in Pueblo for seven years, from 6th grade until her graduation from high school.
Michelle took a break from music for about twenty-five years while serving in the US Air Force. During her time in Albuquerque, she decided to get back into the music, picked up the guitar again and started performing.
Michelle says her biggest interests are 1. Sleeping; 2 eating; and 3 shopping….all in that order! Michelle is a lover of animals. She calls herself the “Crazy Cat Lady” as we have four cats that tell us what to do and she’s always looking out for all the other cats that live in and around Key West.
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Ralph DePalma Photography
Mickey A. Foster