Michael’s official start as a composer/songwriter came in the summer of 1977, when he notated two instrumental piano works instead of practicing for his next piano lesson. He played those two pieces for his piano teacher. She encouraged his creativity and the spark was ignited. He was 11.
Fast forward to the age of the Casiotone MT-70 keyboard and a cassette recorder he received on Christmas years later and there was no turning back. Rummaging through the many cassette “master” tapes in a box recently, he discovered that he had written/recorded well over 500 songs and instrumentals from 1977 to 1989 alone.
He attended East Carolina University’s School of Music and received a BM in theory/composition (electronic music & music business emphasis) followed by a MM in Music (theory/composition). They hired him out of grad school to initially continue his work as recording engineer and provide faculty support with education technology. It’s also where he met his wife, Tracy. He spent the next 21 years at ECU, teaching various courses including an online popular music course he designed and serving under the dean of the College of Fine Arts & Communication as instructional designer/coordinator of technology & distance education. In 2011, he received a second masters degree, this time in instructional design/technology, also from ECU. In 2015, he took a position at the University of Richmond, returning to his home state of Virginia, serving as assistant director for UR’s Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology. Michael is a realist: he knows making music for a living is very tough these days, so the “day job” keeps the bills paid while he toils away in the studio…working up new (hopefully) gems.
Michael did take a hiatus from creating music from 1999-2007, with a few exceptions when the need arose. During that time, he and his wife Tracy welcomed their daughter, Abigail. Abigail has even helped her dad write and record a few songs.
In 2008, Michael stumbled on the poetry of Sara Teasdale and was incredibly moved by her lyrical prose. He decided to pick 10 poems and set them in today’s electronic pop genre. To do that, he updated his studio, learned a bunch of new software and acquired new hardware, and has been creating music non-stop ever since. Not everything sees the light of day, but he likes the indie musician’s pace. The Teasdale project is a long-term project, so no release date is known. However, he released a compilation album “Songs Through Time” in June 2016, comprised of brand-new songs and remastered or re-recorded tracks from the past 20+ years! There is something for everyone, guaranteed. Availability is via digital download stores and popular streaming services throughout the world.
Michael is primarily a studio composer/songwriter. It’s been over 22 years since he last played live, and due to the vast amount of gear he uses to create his music, live would be challenging (he doesn’t want to just push “play”). Once he releases more songs and gains more friends and fans, he might come out of his shell, and his new home of Richmond, VA has more opportunities to do so. Until then, enjoy the ride!