Michael Bolton Biography
Last updated: 12/19/2012 11:28:52 AM
One of the music industry's most successful singer/songwriters, Michael Bolton has also gained recognition as an author and human rights activist. Most recently, he authored his first children's book (The Secret Of The Lost Kingdom, published by Hyperion/Disney Press in the fall of 1997) and recorded "Go The Distance" -- the theme song for the Disney animated film, Hercules. Michael brings the same passion, devotion, and commitment to his other major projects that have made him -- with sales of more than 40 million albums -- one of the world's most popular singers.
His new album of pop songs, All That Matters, appeared in the fall of 1997, and an album of opera arias, My Secret Passion, was released in 1998 (SK 63077).
In 1993, Michael established the Michael Bolton Foundation, which provides assistance, through local and national charities and "safe house" shelters, to children and women at risk from poverty, as well as from emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. He's the honorary chairman of the National Committee To Prevent Child Abuse and National Chairman for This Close For Cancer Research. In 1994, he received the prestigious Lewis Hine Award from the National Child Labor Committee. In 1995, he was named a Hendon Fellow at Yale University. In January 1996, Michael became the recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr./C.O.R.E. Award. He is currently serving on the Board of Directors for One-To-One, a youth mentoring program and the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital.
Michael's predilection for good works dovetailed with his developing love of opera recently when he joined Luciano Pavarotti on stage in Modena, Italy, at the "Luciano & Friends Together For The Children of Bosnia" benefit concert. "The experience was indescribable," he remembers.
"There's something incredibly fulfilling in singing beautiful classical music."
Michael Bolton, arguably America's premier pop singer and songwriter, grew up idolizing such pioneers of R&B as Ray Charles and Otis Redding.
Blessed with an incomparable voice and a keen songwriting ability, he began hitting radio playlists in 1983 with "Fool's Game," from his self-titled Columbia Records album debut. After the release of The Hunger (1987), fans and critics began to take notice of this fast-emerging talent, but it was 1989's multi-platinum Soul Provider, with hit singles like the Grammy-winning "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You" (which has been played more than four million times on the radio) and the title track, that catapulted Michael to the upper echelon of pop music luminaries.
With the release of #1 Time, Love & Tenderness in 1991, Michael Bolton became an international superstar. The album sold more than 11 million copies worldwide and earned him a second Best Pop Vocal, Male, Grammy for the #1 Pop/AC smash "When A Man Loves A Woman." He also earned two American Music Awards, including Favorite Male Artist and Favorite Male Album, and was named Best Pop Male Vocalist at the New York Music Awards.
Michael followed Time, Love & Tenderness with the #1 Timeless (The Classics), a collection of the singer's best-loved R&B and pop standards.
Then, in 1993, came the multi-platinum The One Thing, which included the multi-platinum single, "Said I Loved You... But I Lied."
Having begun his career as a songwriter, it's no surprise that Bolton's songs have been recorded by an astonishing array of artists. Michael has written songs for Barbra Streisand ("We're Not Making Love Anymore"); KISS ("Forever"); Joe Cocker ("Living Without Your Love"); Kenny Rogers ("Just The Thought Of Losing You"); Cher ("I Found Someone"); and Kenny G and Peabo Bryson (the 1993 BMI Pop Award-winning "By The Time This Night Is Over"). Other noted artists, such as Patti LaBelle, the Pointer Sisters, Gregg Allman, Lee Greenwood and Conway Twitty have also covered Bolton songs. Michael is among the scant handful of songwriters to have collaborated with Bob Dylan; their song "Steel Bars" is a highlight of both Time, Love & Tenderness and Bolton's Greatest Hits album.
The music industry honored Bolton's songwriting with the 1995 Hitmaker's Award, from the National Songwriter's Hall of Fame, and the prestigious "Million Performance Song Award" five times. (A "million performance" song is one which has received at least 50,000 hours -- more than 5.7 years! -- of airplay.)
"Between writing, performing, recording, and everything else, far and away, performing before my audience is the best," Michael says. From 1991 through 1995, Michael embarked on a series of international marathon concert tours including the 1991-1992 Time, Love & Tenderness Tour and the 1994-1995 The One Thing Tour. He has appeared at hundreds of concerts and performed for millions of fans; Michael's many memorable concert experiences included several visits to the White House at the invitation of President Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Despite his full plate of activities, Michael wouldn't have it any other way: "I'm working on enjoying each moment a bit more. It feels like it's always time to move onward and upward; at the same time, that means moving deeper into the gift of music. That will always take me where I want to go."