In an era of cultural and musical diversity, few artists can exhibit the mesmerizing caliber of musical talent as Michael Sembello. As a Grammy Award Winning Writer, Producer and Performer, Michael has achieved countless milestones in his career. He has perfected many genres of music throughout his life, and his ability to sing in over seven languages is recognized as a unique gift that allows him to share the emotion and message of his music globally. Few artists have been able to accomplish this magnitude of success. There are no cultural boundaries for Michael Sembello, because music is his universal language.
Michael Sembello began playing the guitar when he was just nine years old. "My goal was to follow in the footsteps of my jazz mentors." At age 14, he was studying with guitar legends Pat Martino and Chuck Anderson. A week before graduating from High School at the young age of seventeen, Michael auditioned for, and was hired on the spot by Stevie Wonder. Michael was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 17, 1954. He left his hometown of Ardmore, Pennsylvania, and went on the road with Stevie for seven years as his lead guitarist and featured vocalist. During this time, Michael worked with Stevie on his most ambitious album "Songs in the Key of Life," co-writing the song "Saturn."
Michael's solo career began in 1983 when he released his first record "Bossa Nova Hotel." Immediately following its release, Michael scored a huge chart-thundering success writing and performing the Grammy Award winning song "Maniac" from the movie Flashdance. The soundtrack has gone platinum six times, with "Maniac" being the third-top grossing song from a movie soundtrack to date.
Through the years, Michael Sembello has gone on to write, play, produce and perform with the music industry's most legendary artists. They include David Sanborn, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Jeffrey Osborne, Chaka Khan, The Jackson 5, George Benson, Seals & Crofts, New Edition, Julian Lennon, Donna Summer, Pebbles, Minnie Riperton, Stephanie Mills, Barbara Streisand, The Temptations, Philip Bailey, Denise Williams, Melissa Manchester, Angela Bofill, Sergio Mendez, Gerardo, Art Garfunkel, Stanley Clarke, George Duke, Wilkins, and Michael Lington.
Michael is also recognized for his noteworthy writing and production of hit movie soundtracks such as Ron Howard's "Cocoon," and Steven Spielberg's "Gremlins." Other soundtracks include "Summer Lovers," "Salsa," "Campus Man," "Monster Squad," "Rocky IV," "Blank Check," "The Mighty Ducks 3," "Corrina Corrina," "Losing Isaiah," "Independence Day," "Flipper," "The Big Green," "House Arrest," "McHale's Navy," "The Pest," "Suicide Kings," "Senior Prom," "Gladiator," and "The Last Don."
In 1986, Michael recorded the album "Without Walls," and in 1992 he first entered the global market with his East meets West album "Caravan of Dreams." This release captured the hearts of Asia, and Michael made his mark in Japan with his West Coast sound infused with Malaysian and Indonesian mystical grooves.
In 1996, Michael recorded "Backwards in Time," following up with "The Bridge," his most precious project. Michael joined forces with Daniel Jobim (the grandson of Antonio Carlos Jobim), long-time friend Stevie Wonder, Vinnie Colaiuta (Sting's drummer), Paulinho De Costa (world-famous percussionist), Edu Falcao (Brazilian writer and vocalist), as well as American musicians Nathan Watts and Lionel Cole to create the multi-lingual, world beat production.
By 2003, "The Bridge" laid the foundation for Michael's commitment to be a "Global Artist." He, already singing in seven languages, set the framework to travel to different countries to perform and record in their native language with their country's legendary artists. For the past few years, his desire to interact with artists from other countries is a continuation of Michael's "One Planet, One People" concept.
Michael Sembello continues to break down cultural barriers through his pioneering efforts to bring people together through the universal language of music.
Michael has an enduring commitment towards education and philanthropic efforts to assist musicians from around the world in understanding and developing their vocal abilities. He has developed the "Vocal Stylistics"© program to educate aspiring performers, which will also be released in several languages.
From 2005 through today, Michael has been focusing on producing multi-lingual artists from around the globe. Over the past year, he has penned three songs with Michael Lington on his album "Heat," which was released to strong reviews and nominated as Jazztrax Album of the Year for 2008. They include the up-tempo and summery "Ocean Drive" (think South Beach fun in the sun), the hauntingly beautiful ballad "Nostalgia," and breezy, Brazilian-flavored "Chuva" (meaning 'rain' in Portuguese).
Michael Sembello travels to Brazil frequently, and is good friends with Daniel Jobim. "Chuva"'s composition began on the vintage piano where elder Jobim composed his classic, "The Girl from Ipanema."
Within the next few months, Michael will begin touring live throughout the United States and Japan. In mid-2009, EMI is scheduled to release "Bossa Nova Hotel" in Japan. This remarkable work is a fusion of Brazilian, Bossa Nova and Samba blended with R&B soul. Michael is working together with Bruce Gaitsch and Janey Clewer to create the Bossa Noval Hotel. The three have known each other since 1985 and have worked together with their friend Randy Waldman and Michael's brother Danny Sembello for years. Their first trip to Japan was in 1986 with a Japanese group named Shonen-Tai.
Today as always, you can expect magic from Michael Sembello, as he has introduced a brilliant and inspiring genre of music called "Bossa-Soul." Michael Sembello is considered to be among an elite group of musicians comprising the West Coast Blue-Eyed Soul sound.