Hometown: Miami, Florida, United States
Web site: http://www.michaelsembello.com/
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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 being a unique gift which 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 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 17, Michael auditioned and was hired on the spot by Stevie Wonder. Born in Philadelphia Pennsylvania on April 17th, 1954, Michael left his hometown of Ardmore, Pennsylvania and went on the road with Stevie for seven years as his lead guitarist.During this time Michael worked with Stevie on his most ambitious album, “Songs in the Key of Life” co-writing the song “Saturn”.
Sembello’s solo career began in 1983 when he released his first record entitled “Bossa Nova Hotel”.Immediately following its release, Michael scored a huge chart thundering success writing and performing the Grammy Award wining song “Maniac” from the movie Flashdance.The soundtrack has since gone six times platinum 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 Ripperton, Stephanie Mills, Barbara Streisand, The Temptations, Philip Bailey, Denise Williams, Melissa Manchester, Angela Bofill, Sergio Mendez, Gerardo, Art Garfunkle, Stanley Clarke, George Duke, Wilkins, and Michael Lington. Michael Sembello is also recognized for his noteworthy writing and production of soundtracks for hit movies 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 he recorded "Without Walls" and in 1992 he first entered the global market with his East meets west album entitled "Caravan of Dreams".This release captured the hearts of Asia and Michael had made his mark on Japan with his West Coast sound infused with Malaysian and Indonesian mystical grooves. In 1996 he recorded “Backwards In Time” following up with his most precious project "The Bridge". 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 and 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 towards being a "Global Artist". Already singing in seven languages, he set the framework to travel to different countries to perform and record in their native language with their 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. Sembello continues to break down cultural barriers through his pioneering efforts to bring people together through the universal language of music. Michael Sembello 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 focused on producing multi-lingual artists from around the globe.
Over the past year, Michael Sembello 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), 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, the grandson of legendary composer Antonio Carlos Jobim. Who in the 1950’s combined Brazilian music with Jazz and Classical creating the traditional Bossa Nova sound. Chuva’s composition began on the vintage piano where the 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.
Today, as always, you can always 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 the elite group of musicians comprising the West Coast Blue Eyed Soul sound.
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