|Born||November 26, 1945|
|Origin||Evanston, Illinois, U.S.|
|Genres||Contemporary Christian, pop, rock, R&B|
|Occupation(s)||Composer, musician, record producer|
|Instruments||Piano, organ, synthesizers|
|Associated acts||Steely Dan, Rhythm Heritage, Stormie Omartian, 2nd Chapter of Acts|
Michael Omartian (born November 26, 1945) is an American singer-songwriter, arranger, keyboardist, and music producer. He has been a participant in numerous albums during a career that has spanned more than four decades. As a producer, he has had number-one records in three consecutive decades. He is a multiple Grammy Award winner, including for Keyboardist of the Year and Producer of the Year. He spent five years on the A&R staff of ABC/Dunhill Records as a producer, artist, and arranger. He was subsequently hired by Warner Bros. Records as an in-house producer and A&R staff member. Omartian moved from Los Angeles to Nashville in 1993, where he served on the Board of Governors of the Recording Academy, and has helped to shape the curriculum for the first master's degree program in the field of Music Business at Belmont University.
Omartian has produced albums for many artists including Clint Black, Michael Bolton, Dolly Parton, Debby Boone, Steve Camp, Peter Cetera, Christopher Cross, Joe "Bean" Esposito, Amy Grant, Benny Hester, Whitney Houston, The Imperials, The Jacksons, Cliff Richard, Rod Stewart, Donna Summer, Wayne Watson, and Trisha Yearwood.
Life and career
In the late 1960s, Omartian helped launch Campus Crusade for Christ's music outreach group The New Folk, arranging much of the music and helping to train the singers.
He was a founding member of the 1970s disco-funk band Rhythm Heritage. He played as a session musician for artists including Koinonia, Steely Dan, The Four Tops, Johnny Rivers, Seals and Crofts, Al Jarreau, and Loggins & Messina. In 1973, Omartian arranged and played accordion on Billy Joel's song "Piano Man".
Omartian has recorded a number of highly polished contemporary Christian music albums under his own name, including White Horse, Mainstream, Adam Again, and Conversations (an instrumental album). Virtually all of his solo albums are now out of print. Omartian has also produced several Christian albums for others, most notably The Imperials' award-winning albums One More Song for You (1979) and Priority (1980).
In 2003, Omartian scored an audio book rendition of the biblical gospels, called Gospels Come to Life. The audio Bible was read by fellow CCM writer/musician Michael W. Smith, based on musical ideas by Smith. The Spanish-language version of this audio Bible was narrated by CCM artist Jaci Velasquez.
Toward the end of 2006 Omartian contributed to an album with Annie Herring (of 2nd Chapter of Acts) called One on One; he plays piano as the solo instrument throughout with Herring providing vocals. One on One was his second collaboration with Herring, the first being the 1983 album Together Live, a collaborative, in-concert effort with Herring's family trio, 2nd Chapter of Acts, and Omartian's wife Stormie. The live double-LP album was recorded in 1982 at The Church on the Way in Van Nuys, California. The album was also released in video format.
Omartian is the first producer to have number-one records in three separate decades: the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. He was nominated for Producer of the Year in 1980, 1984, and 1986. In 1991, he was nominated for Album of the Year for Heart in Motion by Amy Grant. In 1995, he was nominated for Country Song of the Year for "When Love Finds You," with Vince Gill, and for Gospel Album of the Year for The Light Inside, with Gary Chapman. In 1994, Omartian produced One Voice, an album for the Summer Olympic Games. His song "Atlanta Reel" was used as the theme for the swimming events.
- White Horse (1974)
- Adam Again (1977)
- Seasons of the Soul (1979)
- Mainstream (1982)
- Conversations (1986)
- The Race (1991)
Grammy Awards In 1980, he was nominated for ten Grammy Awards, three of which he won for producing and arranging on Christopher Cross' debut album:
- 1980: Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) for "Sailing" (with Christopher Cross)
- 1980: Record of the Year for "Sailing"
- 1980: Album of the Year for Christopher Cross
GMA Dove Awards
- 1981: Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year for One More Song for You (The Imperials)
- 1982: Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year for Priority (The Imperials)
- 1997: Instrumental Album of the Year for The Players (with Dann Huff, Tommy Sims, Tom Hemby, Terry McMillan, Chris Rodriguez, Shane Keister, Mark Douthit, Eric Darken)
- Kaufman, Gil (April 22, 2009). "Kris Allen's 'She Works Hard For The Money': The Story Behind The Cover – Music, Celebrity, Artist News". MTV.com. Retrieved July 22, 2012.
- Artist Biography by Jason Ankeny (November 26, 1945). "Michael Omartian | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
- "53. Adam Again – Michael Omartian | CCM's 500 Best Albums Of All Time". Ccms500bestalbums.wordpress.com. June 7, 2011. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
- "Michael Omartian". Ccmclassic.com. November 26, 1945. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
- "Billy Joel, "Piano Man," credits". AllMusic. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
- "Michael Omartian | Yamaha Artists". Yamaha.com. November 26, 1945. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
- "Performers From USA For Africa's "We Are The World"". In The 80s. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
- Herring, Buck. "One on One (Annie's newest release 2006)". Archived from the original on August 7, 2011. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
- "2nd Chapter Of Acts And Michael And Stormie Omartian – Together Live". Discogs]. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
- "Artist Michael Omartian". grammy.com. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
- "Michael Omartian | Yamaha Artists". Yamaha.com. June 15, 2019. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
- Ankeny, Jason. "Biography: Michael Omartian". AllMusic. Retrieved June 2, 2010.