|Birth name||Michele Diane Pillar|
|Born||July 26, 1955|
|Origin||Long Beach, California|
Michele Diane Pillar (born July 26, 1955) is a contemporary Christian music singer, songwriter and occasional actress. Despite recording only a handful of studio albums, her music has made a lasting influence in the genre having earned three Grammy Award nominations.
In 1987, aged 32, she married the jazz guitarist and composer Larry Carlton. She has worked with such leading figures in her field of music as Phil Keaggy and Erick Nelson, beginning in 1979. The attention of legendary Christian singer Billy Ray Hearn led her to sign a contract in 1981 with Sparrow Records, where she released three albums, before taking a hiatus from solo work in 1984. Her 1991 studio album Love Makes All the Difference was her return to recording as a solo artist after working on her husband's music and a variety of other projects.
Pillar's album Reign On Me and her project with Erick Nelson, The Misfit, are now considered classics of the CCM genre. The Misfit has recently been re-issued on compact disc. Outside of her solo work, she teamed up with Steve Camp on the song "Love's Not a Feeling" (from Camp's 1983 album, Fire and Ice). She also appeared with Camp on the charity single "Do Something Now" in 1985, and also served as the background vocalist for Camp's 1987 album, After God's Own Heart.
In 1988 her career came to a standstill when her husband, the session guitarist Larry Carlton, was nearly killed in a random gang-related shooting in front of their Los Angeles house just a few months after their marriage. Though Carlton had to learn to play the guitar all over again, doctors removed the .357 magnum bullet in his neck, narrowly missed his spinal cord, that nearly paralyzed him. After a successful 1991 comeback, Pillar recorded again in 2007 with the Christmas album, I Hear Angels Calling, released through 335 Records. The title track, by Pillar, Nathan East and Jeff Babko, is a spin on Nashville's No. 1 AC Pop station, Mix 92.9 during the Holidays. In 2008 she signed with a book agent to write an autobiography. Pillar and Carlton divorced in 2013.
Closer to Home is a Charity started by Pillar and Larry Carlton in late 2000 that benefits residents of Williamson County, Tennessee. Fund-raising shows have been headlined by Vince Gill, Jo Dee Messina, Steve Winwood, Michael McDonald, Wynonna, Ricky Skaggs, Phil Vassar, and Larry Carlton. These shows have included a variety of other artists and songwriters from many styles of music.
- The Misfit (with Erick Nelson) (1979)
- Michele Pillar (1982)
- Reign On Me (1983)
- Look Who Loves You Now (1984)
- Love Makes All the Difference (1991)
- I Hear Angels Calling (2006)
- Forever Young (2014) (contains previously released material her 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1991 recordings)
- You Untangle Me (2016)
- Untangled 2012