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|Birth name||Michael Andrew Sembello|
April 17, 1954 |
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United States
|Genres||Hi-NRG, new wave, synthpop, pop rock, rhythm and blues, world music, jazz|
|Occupation(s)||singer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, composer, producer, engineer.|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards|
|Labels||Warner Bros., EMI, A&M|
|Associated acts||Stevie Wonder, George Benson, Michael Jackson, Donna Summer, Chaka Khan, Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, The Temptations, George Duke, Stanley Clarke, David Sanborn.|
Sembello began his career in music as a session musician, working with increasingly 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 double album that took two years to create. 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 Stevie Wonder (from 1974 to 1979), George Benson, Michael Jackson, Donna Summer, Chaka Khan, Barbara Streisand, Diana Ross, Sérgio Mendes, The Temptations, Stanley Clarke, David Sanborn, Miguel Mateos and New Edition among many others.
Sembello released his first solo album, Bossa Nova Hotel, in 1983. The song "Maniac" from that album, which he co-wrote with his keyboardist Dennis Matkosky, was selected for inclusion in the blockbuster film Flashdance. "Maniac" went on to become the second best charting song from the soundtrack (after the title track) and the ninth biggest single of 1983. 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.
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Sembello produced guitarist Jennifer Batten's first solo album, Above Below and Beyond in 1992. 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 writing songs for movies and film, some of which have achieved blockbuster commercial success. His songs are featured in the films Cocoon, Independence Day, Gremlins, The Monster Squad and Summer Lovers, among many others. His song "Gravity" from the film Cocoon was accompanied by a music video directed by Cocoon director Ron Howard and included an appearance by Howard in a scripted fictional foreword to the video.
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. 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.
|1983||Bossa Nova Hotel||80|
|1992||Caravan of Dreams||–|
|1997||Backwards in Time||–|
|2003||The Lost Years||–|
|1982||"Summer Lovers"||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||Summer Lovers|
|1983||"Maniac"||1||–||–||2||11||6||28||10||7||2||43||Bossa Nova Hotel|
|"Gremlins...Mega Madness" (from Gremlins)||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||Gremlins|
|1985||"Gravity" (from Cocoon)||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||Without Walls|
|1986||"Tear Down the Walls"||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|"Wonder Where You Are"||–||–||79||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|1992||"Heavy Weather"||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||Caravan of Dreams|
|1995||"Reach for the Dream"||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||non-album single|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.|
- Michael Sembello @Discogs.com Retrieved November 8, 2013.
- Pirnia, Garin (May 7, 2012). "Human Nature". Rolling Stone.
- "Jackson Claims 8 Grammys". Times-News. February 29, 1984. Retrieved December 21, 2010.
- Prato, Greg (December 30, 2003), "Jennifer Batten Biography", Allmusic.com, Rovi Corp, retrieved July 26, 2011
- "Billboard > Artists / Michael Sembello > Chart History > Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
- US Billboard Hot 100 peaks:
- "Maniac": "Billboard > Artists / Michael Sembello > Chart History > The Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
- "Automatic Man": "Chart runs for: Michael Sembello (from ukmix.org 'Chart Histories' thread)". Imgur.com. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
- "Billboard > Artists / Michael Sembello > Chart History > Adult Contemporary". Billboard. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
- "Billboard > Artists / Michael Sembello > Chart History > Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Billboard. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
- Australian chart peaks:
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 268. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. N.B. The Kent Report chart was licensed by ARIA between mid-1983 and 19 June 1988.
- "Maniac": "The Countdown (ARIA) Chart – Week Ending 4th September, 1983". Imgur.com (original document published by ARIA). Retrieved April 1, 2017.
- "Automatic Man": "Countdown (ARIA) Chart – Week Ending 4th December, 1983". Imgur.com (original document published by ARIA). Retrieved April 1, 2017.
- "Ultratop > Michael Sembello in Ultratop Vlaanderen" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
- German singles chart peaks:
- "Maniac": "Offizielle Deutsche Charts > Michael Sembello – Maniac (single)" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
- "Automatic Man": "Offizielle Deutsche Charts > Michael Sembello – Automatic Man (single)" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
- "The Irish Charts – All there is to know > Search results for 'Michael Sembello' (from irishcharts.ie)". Imgur.com (original source published by Fireball Media). Retrieved October 1, 2016.
- "dutchcharts.nl > Michael Sembello in Dutch Charts" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
- "charts.org.nz > Michael Sembello in New Zealand Charts". Hung Medien. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
- "hitparade.ch > Michael Sembello in der Schweizer Hitparade" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
- "Official Charts > Michael Sembello". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved October 1, 2016.