Micki Free

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Micki Free
Born (1955-05-20) May 20, 1955 (age 59)
Genres Rock, blues, electric blues, blues rock
Occupations Entertainer, musician, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, Singing, Native American Flute, Harmonica,
Associated acts Micki Free American Horse, Shalamar
Website The Official Website of Micki Free

Micki Free (born May 20, 1955) is a Native American guitarist and singer. He won a Grammy Award for his contribution to the Beverly Hills Cop movie soundtrack and has won two Native American Music Awards.[1] He is the director of Promotions & Special Events for the Seminole Tribe of Florida, owners of Hard Rock International.[2][3]

Biography[edit]

Micki Free, a "mixed-blood" (Irish, Comanche and Cherokee) Native American, was born in West Texas and moved to Europe soon after. His stepfather, an Army sergeant, was stationed in Germany and Free was introduced to rock 'n' roll there as a child when one of his five sisters received tickets to a Jimi Hendrix concert and took him along to the show. "It just blew my mind," Free remembered.[4]

His family later moved to Illinois where he formed a rock band, Smokehouse. When he was seventeen years-old, he was discovered by Gene Simmons of KISS during a concert at which Smokehouse was the opening act for KISS, Ted Nugent and REO Speedwagon. After Simmons' encouragement, Free joined Shalamar in 1984,[5][6] just in time for the band's big successes, including a #17 position in U.S. Top 20 in 1984 with "Dancing In The Sheets" from the Footloose soundtrack, and a Grammy for "Don't Get Stopped In Beverly Hills" from the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack in 1985.[7] With Shalamar, he was nominated for a Grammy three times.

After Shalamar, Free and Jean Beauvoir (of The Plasmatics) founded an AOR band, Crown of Thorns. He later founded (and still tours with) The Micki Free Electric Blues Experience, with Jon Brant (formerly of Cheap Trick) on bass, and Curly Smith (formerly of Boston) on drums. Recognition for his musical career after Shalamar came from the Native American Music Awards, where he won in the categories of Male Artist in 2002 and Pop Rock artist in 2004.[8]

Micki Free has recorded with Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and the DVD/CD/EP release Micki Free Live in Hyde Park featured Bill Wyman, formerly of The Rolling Stones. In 2002, he was cast to play Tonto in a new production of The Lone Ranger.[9]

Native Music Rocks is a music program created by Micki Free. It was designed to give Native American musicians an opportunity to tour alongside Micki and his band, American Horse Trio, featuring Cindy Blackman-Santana, former drummer for Lenny Kravitz, and David Santos on bass. Free was the Director of the Native Music Rocks program and went on to create the first Native American Record company, Native Music Rocks Records, distributed by Fontana/Universal Music. He was a recording artist on the label as well as Chief Creative officer/VP. The event was sponsored by Hard Rock International and the Seminole Tribe of Florida.[10]

Free was invited to appear as part of an all-star cast of Native American musicians at the American Indian Inaugural Ball in Arlington, Virginia on the occasion of president Barack Obama's inauguration. However, he declined because he is a registered Republican.[citation needed]

His manner of dress and appearance during the late 1980s was parodied in the Chappelle's Show sketch Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories: Prince. His CD Tattoo Burn was scheduled for release in 2012. It is a blues-rock style album written, produced, arranged and performed by Micki Free.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Native American Music Awards: Previous Award Winners". Native American Music Awards. 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-17. 
  2. ^ Sandra Hale Schulman (2002). "Rock Star "Micki Free" Joins The Seminole Tribe as "Deputy Director of Promotions"". News from Indian Country: The Independent Native Journal. Retrieved 2009-01-17. 
  3. ^ Felix DoBosz (2008-05-30). "Three Winners Announced at Star Search Finale". The Seminole Tribune. Retrieved 2009-01-17. 
  4. ^ "Micki Free Biography". Mickifree.com. Retrieved July 8, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Shalamar, biography". MyWire. 2007-02-01. Retrieved 2009-01-18. 
  6. ^ Russel Smith (1985-03-29). "Shalamar Recruits New Voices in Evolution of Funk Sound". Dallas Morning News. 
  7. ^ Grammy Winners Search results for "Micki Free." Retrieved 17 January 2009.
  8. ^ "Winners Directory". Nativeamericanmusicawards.com. Retrieved 2014-07-03. 
  9. ^ Bill Donovan (2002-09-14). "Native Artist Picked for 'Tonto'". Gallup Independent (N.M.). Retrieved 2009-01-18. 
  10. ^ Bureau, Diné (2008-12-29). "Farmer, Plateros heading to D.C.". Independent (Gallup, N.M.). Retrieved 2009-01-18. 
  11. ^ "Micki Free Biography". Mickifree.com. Retrieved July 8, 2012. 

External links[edit]