Micki Free

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Micki Free
Micki Free At Kitchener Bluesfest 2018.jpg
Free performing at the Kitchener Bluesfest in 2018
Background information
Born (1955-05-20) May 20, 1955 (age 63)
Genres Rock, blues, electric blues, blues rock
Occupation(s) 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 guitarist and singer of Native American descent. He won a Grammy Award for his contribution to the Beverly Hills Cop (1984) movie soundtrack and has won two Native American Music Awards.[1] He is the director of Promotions and Special Events for the Seminole Tribe of Florida, owners of Hard Rock International.[2][3]


Micki Free, a "mixed-blood" Native American, was born in West Texas and moved to Europe soon afterward. He claims Irish, Comanche, and Cherokee descent. His stepfather, a U.S. 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 Free formed a rock band, Smokehouse. When he was 17, 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 (1984) soundtrack in 1985.[7] With Shalamar, he was nominated for a Grammy three times.

Micki Free also has a son, Talon Free and a wife, Britt Free.

After Shalamar, Free and Jean Beauvoir (of The Plasmatics) founded an AOR band, Crown of Thorns. Free 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, designed to give Native American musicians an opportunity to tour alongside Micki and his band, American Horse Trio. The band features Cindy Blackman-Santana, former drummer for Lenny Kravitz, and David Santos on bass. Free was 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, known as Native Rocks, at the American Indian Inaugural Ball in Arlington, Virginia, on the occasion of president Barack Obama's inauguration. He performed with Native Rocks at a related event at the Hard Rock Cafe prior to performing at the Inaugural Ball.[11]

Tattoo Burn (2012), is a blues-rock style album written, produced, arranged, and performed by Free.[12]


Free's manner of dress and appearance during the early 1980s (and that of Prince) was parodied in the Chappelle's Show sketch Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories: "Prince - Uncensored" (February 18, 2004).[13]


  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.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Micki Free Biography". Mickifree.com. Archived from the original on 2012-07-12. 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. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  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.). Archived from the original on 2010-02-03. Retrieved 2009-01-18.
  10. ^ Bureau, Diné (2008-12-29). "Farmer, Plateros heading to D.C." Independent (Gallup, N.M.). Archived from the original on 2009-01-31. Retrieved 2009-01-18.
  11. ^ Ruckman, S.E. (2009). "Tribes turn out for Obama Inauguration." Tuesday January 27, 2009. Indianz. Retrieved 5-17-2015.
  12. ^ "Micki Free Biography". Mickifree.com. Archived from the original on 2012-07-12. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
  13. ^ "Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories - Prince - Uncensored True Hollywood Stories: Prince & Red Balls Energy Drink Season 2, Ep 5". Chappelle's Show. Comedy Central. February 18, 2004.

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