Multi-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.
Reviews and Articles
Was that toe-tapping at last night's ProMusica Chamber Orchestra concert?
"Robert Michaels is not only a great musician but a consummate performer and showman. He will have your audience on their feet cheering from the first chord to the final encore. Rob is easy going yet is a total professional focused on making sure the detail is right. He is a delight to work with and puts everyone at ease. After the concert, all I heard was “when is he coming back?” Stephen Eva Musical Director Chagrin Studio Orchestra
It was my great joy, pleasure and privilege to collaborate with the astonishing virtuoso guitarist Robert Michaels. He is an artist of the highest caliber - a unique voice in the world of music both as a composer and a most enthralling performer who magnificently blends several captivating styles. He shares all of his being with electric energy and heartfelt enthusiasm. He connects with his audience at the deepest levels, whether elementary school students during a community engagement concert or with sophisticated classical music lovers at an orchestral gala. And he does all of this with a wonderful kindness and sense of humanity. Engage him . . . you'll be glad that you did. In the world of orchestras always looking for innovative programming, I can guarantee you that Robert Michaels and his colleagues put on one heck of a show! Timothy Russell, Music Director ProMusica Chamber Orchestra of Columbus, Ohio.
As the Executive Director of the Regina Symphony Orchestra, I would like to strongly recommend Robert Michaels and his stage show to other orchestras. Robert Michaels and his trio are talented and crowd-pleasing performers that the patrons of the Regina Symphony Orchestra had the opportunity to experience during our October 10th, concert, Flamenco Fire. With beautiful orchestral arrangements, Michaels and his trio took the audience on an exotic musical journey far from the cold autumn prairies. The addition of Flamenco dancing, performed by Michaels’ own daughter, made this fiery evening even more authentic and visually-engaging. Michaels’ is easy to work with, professional, and a pleasure to have around. Regina Symphony Orchestra Victor Sawa, Music Director
I'm writing to say how pleased everyone was with your performance with the Danville Symphony Orchestra.As was obvious by the reaction of our audience, your arrangements and playing as well as singing were a huge hit. To be honest, I had a few reservations about how the charts and the style of music would be received by our somewhat typical older audience. But as you promised, they totally loved it and stood up to show you. Your educational presentation to our high school Spanish students was also a tremendous success. I do think that other orchestras and audiences will find your show highly satisfying and that Flamenco Fire fits an important niche in pop and light classical programming. I encourage music directors, executive directors and arts administrators to seriously consider the show for their seasons. If I can be of help in answering any questions that might come up, please feel free to have anyone contact me. Sincerely, Jeremy Swerling, Music Director Danville Symphony Orchestra (IL)
Just wanted you to know the show was fantastic last night! Robert is a fabulous musician and entertainer, and really a joy to work with. He made a great connection with the audience. All day people kept coming up to him and the band to say how much they enjoyed the show. The dancing was a real bonus for the show and Melanie did a great job too. Robert also did extra teasers at the school to make sure he performed for every kid in the school. And to top it off...we had a full house! Thomas Heywood. Haines Arts Council, Haines, AK
We were extremely pleased with Mr. Michaels performance and cannot recommend him highly enough. His performance was "over the top." We have a particularly good sound system in addition to stellar natural acoustics in this old theatre and Robert's performance maximized the use of both. How one person on one instrument could have produced the beauty and heart-thumping delight that evening, amazed everyone. I personally was delighted that he played so many types of music, showcasing both his instrument and his talents in such an optimal manner. Our audience was extremely enthusiastic and even more so when he gifted them with a substantial encore. The music filled our house and thrilled everyone. His CD sales were strong bespeaking how much everyone loved the performance. By the way, Mr. Michaels and his group were all thoughtful, tolerant, accommodating performers. There were no "prima donna" personalities, just eager, warm, receptive, nice men. That was a special delight for all of us here on staff and crew, because as you can imagine, that's not always the case. Feel free to use my name recommending Robert and his side musicians. I would happily endorse him to anyone who inquires. His performance was unique and much talked-about for days afterwards. Sincerely, Marcy O'Brien Executive Director Struthers Library Theatre
On January 27, 2010 The University of Wisconsin—Parkside hosted Robert Michaels as part of our Arts Alive! Series. Robert kept us warm on a very snowy evening with his amazing talent as a musician and songwriter. Robert connects with the audience making them feel part of the performance. He even came down off the stage and played in the seats! Robert is also very approachable and took time to talk to our patrons as they were leaving and purchasing CDs. Many had their CDs signed and it looked to me like the ladies in the crowd were especially impressed with Mr. Michaels’ performance. Our theatre manager felt that the tech was very manageable and that this show was very professional and easy to work with. We would love to see Mr. Michaels return to be part of a future series. Sincerely, Donna Minkley UW-Parkside Special Events
Robert's repertoire was excellent and it was enjoyed by the entire audience. He certainly is an accomplished guitarist and his accompanist are also very entertaining. Robert interacted with the audience well and the people like the experience when an entertainer moves into the seating area. Would we consider having Robert back in the future? Absolutely! I don't know if Robert received a copy of his bi-fold brochure for the show so; I've included attachments of it. Duane Strack Staples Motley (MN)