ulti-gold and platinum recording artist, Robert Michaels, has won the esteem of critics worldwide with award-winning performances that bring audiences to their feet every time.
The Toronto Sun hails him, “Every inch a dazzling guitarist”, the Toronto Sun exclaims, “He is incomparable. And you simply must see him.”, while the Ottawa Sun states simply, Michaels is an “Axe God”.
His impressive sales figures and winner of a Juno Award (Canadian Grammy) for “Best Instrumental Album” Robert received Best Vocalist, Instrumentalist and Album nominations for his self-titled fifth album, a 2-CD set. Besides his own vocal performances, the album featured contributions from acclaimed vocalist Grammy winner Jennifer Warnes; three-time Juno Award winner as Female Vocalist of the Year, Luba; Tony Award-nominated Broadway star, Louis Pitre.
Sterling accolades and impressive figures aside, Robert is well-known as an intuitive musician with an electric energy and a captivating blend of styles. He has engaged concert goers across the globe with his heartfelt enthusiasm, leaving all with memories they won’t soon forget.
Robert’s instrumental music crosses over into samples and tastes from many genres, including flamenco guitar numbers. Michaels started his musical career in Canada, though his parents aren’t Canadian natives, but immigrated there from Italy. As a child, and than as a teen, Michaels was raised on a varied musical diet that found him being influenced by many different kinds of musicians and styles along the way, like Jimmy Page, Carlos Santana, and Wes Montgomery, and everything from rock, to tango, to jazz.
In 1994, without befit of a label, Michaels completed and released a debut album titled Paradiso. Surprisingly, his first full-length outing sold better than he could have hoped becoming a platinum seller. It was soon followed by a second recording, Arizona. The sophomore album earned him a nomination for a coveted Juno Award for Best Instrumental Artist of the Year. Reviews and press from his popular albums and from his Juno nomination, drew enough interest toward Michaels that when he went to work on a third album, Utopia, he did so working under the major Warner Music Canada label.
“Over the years, I’ve had experience playing so many other styles that I merely incorporated all of the influences,” notes Robert. “My style was never planned. I arrived at it spontaneously while playing in front of audiences.”
Those live performances have taken Robert further afield than perhaps he had ever imagined at the outset of his career. Besides the many dates he has played in Canada, US, Europe and Asia. over the years, in the early ’90s, he spent time in Cuba soaking up the music and culture and playing with local musicians, he released the album Cubamenco, a fusion of Flamenco and Cuban music.
“In my travels, I have had the pleasure of performing with some of the best Cuban musicians in the world, one being the legendary Compay Segundo from the Buena Vista Social Club band,” says Robert. “I dedicated the song ‘Compay’ to his memory. We were about to record a track together just before he became ill and passed away in 2003 at the age of 95. I’m thankful to have shared the stage with him.”
Robert Michaels’ latest project, VIA ITALIA, promises another memorable musical journey, this time to his ancestral home and the music of Italy as you have never heard, or seen it, before.
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