Michael Sembello

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Michael Sembello
Born (1954-04-17) April 17, 1954 (age 60)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United States
Genres Hi-NRG, new wave, synthpop, pop rock, rhythm and blues
Occupations Musician, songwriter, producer
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards
Years active 1975–present
Labels Warner Bros., EMI, Motown
Associated acts Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Chaka Khan, George Benson, Barbra Streisand, Stanley Clarke, David Sanborn, Donna Summer
Website michaelsembello.com

Michael Andrew Sembello[1] (born April 17, 1954) is an American musician and songwriter from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Career[edit]

Sembello was born and raised in Philadelphia. He studied with jazz great Pat Martino and began his career in music as a session musician, working increasingly with high-profile artists as a guitarist. By age 17 he was working professionally with Stevie Wonder on electric and acoustic guitar as a studio player on Wonder's Fulfillingness' First Finale. He continued the same year, chosen as one of the core artists who worked on Songs in the Key of Life, an ambitious concept album that took two years in the making. He was credited as lead and rhythm guitarist on most of the tracks, and shares songwriting credit with Wonder on the song "Saturn". The list of pop music personalities he worked with, or wrote for, includes Wonder (from 1974 to 1979), The Temptations, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Chaka Khan, George Benson, Barbra Streisand, Stanley Clarke, David Sanborn, Donna Summer, Miguel Mateos and New Edition among many others.[citation needed]

He released his first solo album, Bossa Nova Hotel, in 1983, and the song "Maniac" was selected for inclusion in the blockbuster film Flashdance. This song went on to become the third highest grossing song from a soundtrack.[when?] That soundtrack was rewarded with a Grammy Award in 1983 for Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special.[2]

A sample of "Maniac", Sembello's biggest hit. The song was released in 1983 and reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Sembello produced guitarist Jennifer Batten's first solo album, Above Below and Beyond in 1992.[3] In 1994, he produced Argentine singer Valeria Lynch's album Caravana de Sueños (1994), and co-wrote the title song with Puerto Rican Wilkins Vélez.

Sembello has spent much of his career scoring music to soundtracks for movies and film, some of which have achieved blockbuster commercial success. They are featured on such movies as Cocoon, Gremlins, Summer Lovers, The Monster Squad and Independence Day, among many others.

In 2008, Michael Sembello worked with saxophonist Michael Lington on his album Heat, which was nominated as Jazztrax Album of the Year for 2008. Michael and his brother Danny Sembello penned three songs with Lington for the project. Sembello travels to Brazil frequently and is good friends with Daniel Jobim, the grandson of legendary composer Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Sembello has recorded his vocals in six languages and is continually writing, producing and releasing albums.[citation needed] In May 2009 the album "Moon Island" was released on EMI Japan. The album consists of American pop songs given new arrangements with a strong Brazilian influence.

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Year Album US Top 200
1983 Bossa Nova Hotel 80
1986 Without Walls -
1992 Caravan of Dreams -
1997 Backwards in Time -
2002 Ancient Future -
2003 The Lost Years -

Singles[edit]

Year Song US Hot 100 UK Singles
1983 "Maniac" 1 43
"Automatic Man" 34 -
1984 "Gremlins...Mega Madness" (from Gremlins) - -
1985 "Gravity" (from Cocoon) - -
"Talk" - -
1986 "Tear Down the Walls" - -
"Wonder Where You Are" - -
1992 "Heavy Weather" - -

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Michael Sembello @Discogs.com Retrieved 8-11-2013.
  2. ^ "Jackson Claims 8 Grammys". Times-News. February 29, 1984. Retrieved December 21, 2010. 
  3. ^ Prato, Greg (December 30, 2003), "Jennifer Batten Biography", Allmusic.com (Rovi Corp), retrieved July 26, 2011 

External links[edit]