||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2008)|
Michael Kiske at Rockwave Festival (2012)
January 24, 1968 |
|Genres||Heavy metal, power metal, symphonic metal, speed metal, hard rock, rock, pop rock, AOR, acoustic|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, keyboards|
|Associated acts||Unisonic, Helloween,
Place Vendome, Avantasia, Kiske/Somerville, SupaRed, Revolution Renaissance
Michael Kiske (born January 24, 1968 in Hamburg, Germany) is a singer best known as the lead vocalist for the German power metal band Helloween, from 1986 to 1993. Between 1996 and 2009, Kiske recorded four solo albums, participated on various metal and rock related projects, such as Avantasia and Place Vendome, while he also performed with numerous bands as a guest vocalist. In late 2009, he formed the rock band Unisonic and began touring again after 17 years.
Early life 
Prior to joining Helloween, Kiske sang with the German band Ill Prophecy at the age of 17. The band recorded a demo, but it was never released commercially.
Helloween (1986-1993) 
At the age of eighteen, Kiske was asked to join the German power metal band Helloween, which was fronted by singer/guitarist Kai Hansen. Hansen had some difficulties being both the lead guitarist and lead vocalist, and it was decided that a new vocalist would be needed. Kiske rejected Helloween's first offer, because he disliked the sound of the band's Walls of Jericho album, but accepted the second and joined Helloween in late 1986. Michael's first album with the band was 1987's Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I, widely considered to be one of Helloween's best albums and a milestone in the creation of the power metal genre. The band went on to release Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II in 1988, whose worldwide success enabled them to embark on a world tour and perform at famous festivals such as Monsters Of Rock. The Keeper of the Seven Keys albums proved to be highly influential and aided in the formation of a new wave of European power metal bands, such as Blind Guardian, Stratovarius, HammerFall and Edguy.
After the completion of the band's 1988 headlining tour, the album Live in the UK was released, while Kai Hansen left the band and was replaced by guitarist Roland Grapow. Legal disputes with their record company, prevented Helloween from releasing new material until 1991's Pink Bubbles Go Ape, which was followed by 1993's Chameleon. These two albums saw the band moving away from their power metal roots and experimenting with different sounds. Both Pink Bubbles Go Ape and Chameleon were commercial failures and resulted in Kiske leaving Helloween. Michael was fired from the band in 1993, reportedly for personal reasons and musical differences. He was replaced by Andi Deris, who has remained with Helloween ever since.
Solo work (1996-2008) 
On August 16, 1996, three years after leaving Helloween, Kiske released his first solo album, Instant Clarity. The album featured guest appearances by Kai Hansen, Ciriaco Taraxes and Adrian Smith of Iron Maiden and contained songs in a wide variety of styles. A music video for the ballad Always, dedicated to deceased Helloween drummer Ingo Schwichtenberg, was filmed and produced in New York City. Instant Clarity was reissued in 2006 with the addition of 4 bonus tracks. During the same year he also wrote a book, 'Kunst Und Materialismus', which is only available in German.
His second solo album, Readiness to Sacrifice, was released in Korea and Japan in 1999, and in Europe in 2001. The music on the album featured Michael moving completely away from his heavy metal roots and even contained two symphonic songs.
In 2003, out of desire to make rock music again, Kiske formed a project, named SupaRed. They released a self-titled album in January 2003. This album had a modern rock sound and a song structure, distinct from both his solo albums and the heavy metal sound of Helloween. The project was under promoted and unsuccessful and he dissolved the band.
In 2006, Michael Kiske released his third full-length solo album under the name of Kiske. The album contained songs in a mellow, acoustic singer-songwriter style and was a step away from the sound of his previous solo albums. According to Michael "It's a healthy-careless and musically free album. I am very proud of this record because it is a true statement from myself".
In 2008, Kiske released his fourth solo work, entitled Past in Different Ways. The album contained acoustic re-arrangements of his old Helloween material and one new song. According to Kiske the album "on one hand shows that I don't reject my past just because I'm a different person today, and on the other hand it can maybe give people who were part of that past a different view at those songs".
Avantasia (2000-2013) 
In 2000, Tobias Sammet (vocalist of the band Edguy) asked Kiske to participate in the rock opera project Avantasia. Michael agreed to sing on the project, in the role of Lugaid Vandroiy, but only under the nickname of Ernie. The nickname was printed on the back of the first Avantasia release, The Metal Opera, but not on the sequel, The Metal Opera Part II, where he was featured under his real name. Michael said in interviews that, at that time, he did not want people to link him to heavy metal anymore. He had a main role in the concept of the Metal Opera albums and performed on the songs "Reach Out For The Light", "Breaking Away", "Farewell", "Avantasia", "The Tower", "The Seven Angels" and "No Return".
During 2007, he recorded guest vocals for two Avantasia tracks; "Promised Land" and "Lost In Space [Extended Version]", both of which appeared on the Lost in Space Part I & II compilation album ("Promised Land" was also featured on the EP Lost in Space Part II).
During 2010, Kiske performed on the Avantasia albums The Wicked Symphony and Angel of Babylon, singing on the tracks "Wastelands", "Runaway Train" and "Stargazers". Between November and December, he also took part in "The Metal Opera Comes to Town Tour", sharing the stage with Tobias Sammet, Kai Hansen, Jorn Lande, Bob Catley, Amanda Somerville, Sascha Paeth, and Oliver Hartmann among others.
On August 6, 2011 Michael performed with Avantasia at the Wacken Open Air festival.
During 2013, Kiske took part in the Avantasia album The Mystery of Time, singing on the songs "Where Clock Hands Freeze", "Savior In The Clockwork" and "Dweller In A Dream". Between April and August, he will also participate on "The Mystery World Tour", which includes 8 European festival appearances and three hour long shows in South America, Japan, Russia and Europe.
Place Vendome (2005-2013) 
In 2005, Kiske took part in the Place Vendome project, on Frontiers Records. Place Vendome was composed of members from the German band Pink Cream 69, the keyboard player from the band Vanden Plas and Kiske on vocals. The project's debut album, Place Vendome, was a blend of melodic hard rock and AOR (comparable to the sound of bands such as Foreigner or Journey) and the majority of the songwriting was provided by Dennis Ward.
In 2009, the Place Vendome project released its second album entitled Streets of Fire. A video was filmed for the song My Guardian Angel, marking Michael's visual return since 1996. The songwriting for the second album was provided by musicians Magnus Karlsson, Torsti Spoof, Ronny Milianowicz and Robert Sall
In 2012, it was announced by Frontiers Records that Michael Kiske and Dennis Ward agreed to make a new Place Vendome album, during Unisonic's 2013 break and that it will be tracked for a tentative late summer/early fall 2013 release.
Kiske/Somerville (2009) 
In late 2009, Kiske collaborated with female vocalist Amanda Somerville in a duet project, put together by Frontiers Records. The project was named Kiske/Somerville and it marked the contribution of musicians Mat Sinner, Magnus Karlsson, Sander Gommans, Martin Schmidt and Jimmy Kresic. Two videos were filmed for the songs Silence and If I Had A Wish, enabling most of the participants to actually meet in person. The album was released on September 24, 2010, under the name Kiske/Somerville.
Unisonic (since 2009) 
On November 10, 2009, Michael formed the band Unisonic together with Dennis Ward, Kosta Zafiriou and Mandy Meyer. Unisonic began their first tour in June 2010, playing some warm-up shows in Germany and performing at Sweden Rock Festival and Masters Of Rock Festival as well. In March 2011, Kai Hansen joined the band and on October 15 the new line-up performed its first show at Loud Park Festival (Japan).
Unisonic released the EP Ignition, together with their first video for the song Unisonic in January 2012, through EarMusic (Edel AG). The release of their self-titled debut album followed on 30 March 2012. The debut album, Unisonic, entered several international music charts, scoring the highest points on the Finnish albums chart, Japanese albums chart, German albums chart and Swedish albums chart.
Unisonic embarked on their first world tour in May 2012 performing in South America  and in various European music festivals, such as Rock Hard Festival, Hellfest, Gods of Metal and Masters of Rock among others. The second half of the tour included concerts in Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Russia, Spain and Germany.
Collaborations and guest appearances 
In 1995, Kiske participated as a guest on Gamma Ray's (Kai Hansen's band, formed after his departure from Helloween in late 1988) Land of the Free album, singing lead vocals on the song "Time To Break Free" and additional vocals on the title track.
During 2002, Michael sang the song "Key to the Universe", which was featured on Timo Tolkki's (guitarist of the band Stratovarius) solo album Hymn to Life. In the same year, Michael also sang the duet "Heroes" (together with Jorn Lande), featured on Masterplan's self titled debut album.
In 2004, he sang the duet "The Encounter", together with the female vocalist of the band Thalion on their debut album Another Sun.
During 2005, Kiske was a guest on the heavy metal album Execution by the band Tribuzy, singing on the duet "Absolution". Following this participation Kiske also sang the duet "Judas At The Opera" (together with Tobias Sammet), which was featured on Edguy's Superheroes EP.
During 2008, Timo Tolkki departed from Stratovarius and formed the band Revolution Renaissance. The band's debut album, New Era, was recorded by session musicians and Kiske on the role of the main singer, performing vocals for the tracks "I Did It My Way", "Angel", "Keep The Flame Alive", "Last Night On Earth" and "Revolution Renaissance".
In 2011, Kiske appeared as a special guest in Gamma Ray's concert in Pratteln (Switzerland). The full show was released in both CD and DVD under the name Skeletons & Majesties Live in 2012. Michael sings on the songs "Time To Break Free, "A While In Dreamland" and "Future World".
In 2012, Michael sang the song "The Ethereal Dream (Reprise)", featured on the album 34613 by the project Tomorrow's Outlook.
Singing style 
In comparison to Kai Hansen, Kiske had a more vibrant and clean voice. Some fans and critics have likened his singing style and range to that of Geoff Tate or a young Samson-era Bruce Dickinson, with shades of Rob Halford. He has a tenor type voice and possesses an almost 4 octave vocal range, as he is capable of reaching extremely high notes (A5) and low baritone notes (C2) as well. Kiske's time in Helloween has proved to be highly influential and many singers cite him as a major influence.
Recognition and honors 
Solo albums 
- Instant Clarity (1996)
- Always (EP) (1996)
- The Calling (EP) (1996)
- Readiness to Sacrifice (1999)
- Kiske (2006)
- Past In Different Ways (2008)
As a participant 
- Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 1 (1987)
- Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 2 (1988)
- Live in the UK (1989)
- Pink Bubbles Go Ape (1991)
- Chameleon (1993)
- Avantasia (Single) (2001)
- The Metal Opera (2001)
- The Metal Opera Part II (2002)
- Lost in Space Part II (EP) (2007)
- Lost in Space Part I & II (2008)
- The Scarecrow (2008)
- The Wicked Symphony & Angel of Babylon (2010)
- The Mystery of Time (2013)
- SupaRed (2003)
Place Vendome 
- Kiske/Somerville (2010)
Guest appearances 
- Gamma Ray - Land of the Free (1995)
- Timo Tolkki - Hymn to Life (2002)
- Masterplan - Masterplan (2003)
- Aina - Days of Rising Doom (2004)
- Thalion - Another Sun (2004)
- Tribuzy - Execution (2005)
- Edguy - Superheroes (2005)
- Helloween - Keeper of the Seven Keys: The Legacy (2005)(sampled)
- Indigo Dying - Indigo Dying (2007)
- Revolution Renaissance - New Era (2008)
- Trick or Treat - Tin Soldiers (2009)
- Gamma Ray - To The Metal (2010)
- Tomorrow's Outlook - 34613 (2012)
- Gamma Ray - Skeletons & Majesties Live (2012)
- Avalon - The Land of New Hope (2013)
- "Official Michael Kiske website - Novidades". Michael-kiske.de. 2006-05-01. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- "The Band". Creatorx.com. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- Vedat Kamer. "Interview with Hansi Kursch". Blindguardian.fisek.com.tr. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- "Interviews: Finland's Stratovarius : More Power - Than Prog-Metal - Sea of Tranquility". Sea of Tranquility. 2003-11-01. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- "Metal Rules!! Interviews - Oscar Dronjak, Hammerfall". Metal-rules.com. 1998-09-28. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- Michael Kiske exclusive interview Uberrock. 2010-11-13. Retrieved 2011-009-15.
- "Frontiers". Frontiers.it. 2006-05-19. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- "Official Michael Kiske website - Past In Different Ways". Michael-kiske.de. 2008-03-13. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- "Official Michael Kiske website - Past In Different Ways". Michael-kiske.de. 2008-03-13. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- "Tobias Sammet's Avantasia". Metal Metropolis. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- "Official Michael Kiske website - Interviews". Michael-kiske.de. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- "Avantasia - Official web". Tobias Sammet. 2009-08-30. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- "AVANTASIA - The Wicked Symphony". Nuclearblast.de. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- "Avantasia - Official web". Tobias Sammet. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- "Metal Rules". Metal Rules. 2006-01-16. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- "Frontiers". Frontiers.it. 2009-02-20. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- "Place Vendome to Release Streets of Fire in February". Hardrockhideout.com. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- "Kai Hansen Joins Forces With Michael Kiske In Unisonic". Roadrunnerrecords.com. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- "UNISONIC | Gratis muziek". Myspace.com. 2010-06-17. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- "The official T R I B U Z Y website". Tribuzy.com. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- "Indigo Dying :: All Access Magazine". All Access Magazine. 2008-01-24. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- "Frontiers". Frontiers.it. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- "TRICK OR TREAT". Myspace.com. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- "To the Metal: Gamma Ray: Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- "Modern vocal training - Michael Kiske". Modernvocaltraining.webs.com. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- "Maintenance Mode". The Vocalist Studio Workshop. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBy2IVGjKXY The Vocal Range of Michael Kiske
- Ramirez, Carlos. "Top 10 High-Pitch Metal Singers". Noisecreep. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- "Maelstrom - Complete Issue :: Magazine on Rock, Heavy Metal :: Issue No 13". Maelstrom.nu. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- http://www.ytsejam.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=6972"Interview With Luca Turilli of Rhapsody". Metal Rules!!. 2001-01-26. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- "de beste bron van informatie over basement bar. Deze website is te koop!". basementbar.com. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Michael Kiske|
- Official website
- Official fan club site
- Official Unisonic site
- Unisonic Official fan club site
- Official Bulgarian fan site
- Michael Kiske exclusive interview