Michael Bolton. BIOGRAPHY.
Over the course of his extraordinary career, Michael Bolton-singer, songwriter, and social activist- has sold over 53 million albums and singles worldwide, and has won two Grammys for best male vocalist, and six American Music Awards among many other accolades.
In his album BOLTON SWINGS SINATRA, Bolton performs twelve of the songs Frank Sinatra made famous under his own point of view. One of them: "The Second Time Around" is performed on a duet with actress Nicollette Sheridan.
A prolific songwriter, Bolton has penned songs for legendary artists including Barbra Streisand, KISS, Kenny Rogers, Kenny G., Cher, Peabo Bryson, Patti Labelle, among many others. He has also co-written songs with a host of gifted songwriters including Bob Dylan, BabyFace and Diane Warren, and performed with Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Renee Fleming, Patti Labelle, Ray Charles, Percy Sledge, Wynonna Judd, and BB King.
In 1993, he established the Michael Bolton Foundation, now the Michael Bolton Charities, Inc (MBC), to provide assistance, education and shelter to children and women at risk from poverty, as well as physical, emotional and sexual abuse. In partnership with Connecticut Governor John Rowland, the MBC created "Safe Space," a danger-free environment for youths, to foster self-esteem, leadership skills, job training, and awareness of social issues. Since its inception, MBC has granted well over $3.7 million in funding to local and national charities.
Bolton also serves as the Honorary Chairman of Prevent Child Abuse America, National Chairman for This Close for Cancer Research and Board Member for the National Mentoring Partnership and the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital.
Most recently, Bolton joined forces with Lifetime Television, Verizon Wireless and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), the national leading advocacy group dedicated to the empowerment of battered women and their children. On behalf of NCADV, Bolton along with Lifetime, Verizon Wireless and many others participated in a weeklong lobbying effort in March 2003, urging legislation to provide more assistance-including affordable housing options-for victims of domestic violence.
Among the awards Bolton has received are the Lewis Hine Award by the National Child Labor Committee, the Martin Luther King Award by the Congress of Racial Equality and the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations for his philanthropic work. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce also recently recognized Bolton with a star on the legendary "Walk of Fame" for his musical and charitable contributions. He also won the Connecticut's Finest Award in 2.005.
Michael Bolton was born in
the city of New Haven, in the state of Connecticut, North East of the United
States of America, on February, 26th 1.953.
His real name is Michael Bolotin. The surname has a Russian origin and he changed it at the beginning of the eighties because people found very difficult to pronounce it well and, besides, “Bolton” sounded better. His father, George, died when Michael was only 13 years old. His mother, Helen shows a marvelous appearance. She supports Michael in everything he does. The fact that his parents were divorced when he was very young has marked Michael someway. He always shows his adoration for his father (to his memory he dedicated his first solo album with his new name: “MICHAEL BOLTON”), because he was who made him feel interested in sports, while his mother showed him the beautiful path of music. Helen Bolotin was born in the city of Leeds, in the United Kingdom.
Michael has a brother, Orrin (who took Michael into the world of music bands when they both were still kids) and a sister, Sandra, both older than him, who was the “Benjamin” of the family. He divorced Maureen Mc Guire in 1.991 after 16 years of marriage. With her he had three daughters: Isa, Holly and Taryn. The girls were born, respectively: on August, 3rd 1.975; July, 7th 1.977 and October, 3rd 1.979. Michael was already a father of three at 26 years of age!. On March, 2.006 Michael announced his engagement with actress Nicollette Sheridan, now famous for his appearance on "Desperate Housewives". The couple had already dated between 1.993 and 1.995. On August, 26th 2008 they announced the end of their relationship.
Michael's first incursion in
the world of music was being a member of the group called “The Nomads”. His
parents rented him a saxophone when he was 7 years old, but the fact was that he
didn’t learn how to play it. What he did was to emulate its sound with his voice.
He began composing his own songs at twelve, when his mother gifted him his first
guitar, and at fifteen years of age he was already recording for the first time
in a studio. During his adolescence he played with his brother on a small group
which used to be around the clubs and pubs near his home to become well known,
although Michael was not still allowed into those places, at least in theory.
Soon he would record, under his real name, two
albums which were not very appreciated then, although today they are pieces of a
great value for any fan or collector. They are: "Michael Bolotin" and "Everyday Of My Life".Later he became a member as a soloist in a hard rock
group called "Black Jack" (one of which members would finish belonging to the
famous group "Kiss").
He began to be recognized as
a composer when he was quite young. He wrote songs for all kinds of singers and
groups, like for example: Cher (“I Found Someone”), Joe Cocker (“Living Without
Your Love”), Barbra Streisand (“We’re Not Makin’ Love Anymore”), Kenny Rogers ("Just
The Thought Of Losing You"), Laura Branigan ("How Am I Supposed To Live Without
You")... and many more. It is calculated that the total number of Michael Bolton
compositions is over 200 songs for other artists. Some years later he decided to
perform his own songs, reaching with many of them the success that for so long
he had been looking for and which he deserved with all honors.
In 1983, “Fools Game”, from his album “Michael Bolton”, was the first song that began to enter the music charts. The song “Everybody’s Crazy”, from the same title album released in 1.985, was used for the soundtrack of the movie: “Back To School”. In 1987, with “The Hunger”, he began to establish as a singer, and it was in 1989 with “Soul Provider” when he started to be considered as an artist, composer and singer with an enormous talent. “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You”, which he composed for Laura Branigan in 1983 and he recorded for this album, was the spark which caused that Michael Bolton’s success was, at last, recognized all around the planet.
“The Hunger” is mainly represented by the song “That's What Love Is All About”, its first single, (it was his big success as a solo artist) and (“Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay”, that was also a number one. One of the most precious possessions that Michael has is a letter of Zelma Redding (Otis widow) where she congratulates him for the incredible version he made of her husband’s classic.
“Soul Provider” sold more than 7 million albums worldwide. “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You”, on this album, won him his first Grammy for “Best Male Pop Vocal Performance”. He received the award in February of 1.990.
In 1991, Michael recorded “Time, Love And Tenderness”, which catapulted him to the international super stardom. This record made him win many prizes and musical honors:
· It sold more than 11 million copies.
· Second Grammy for “Best Male Pop Vocal Performance” with his number one hit “When A Man Loves A Woman”; a performance of Percy Sledge’s classic that has made history. He received the Grammy on February of 1.992.
· “Favorite Male Artist”.
· “Favorite Album” in the pop/rock category of the American Music Awards.
· “Best Male Pop Vocalist” on the New York Music Awards.
· “Best Male Pop Vocalist” on the “Readers Poll” magazine, in 1.992.
“Time, Love And Tenderness” was followed by “Timeless (The Classics)”, a collection of versions of rhythm and blues classics, his favorites. This album was number one on the Billboard charts. Michael Bolton considered it as a “bridge” in his career. He never imagined he would be so successful.
Some time later we could listen to “The One Thing”, which was multi platinum in 1993. “Said I Loved You… But I Lied” was also a multi platinum single. The video for this song was very commented, because Michael used the beautiful spots near the Great Canyon of Colorado, and he didn’t doubt to get wet into almost frozen waters, or to climb an astonishing height, by helicopter, so, the video transmits an immense sensation of freedom and greatness.
The next album was “Greatest Hits 1985-1995”, which celebrated a valuable decade for the music that took part in the lives of people all around the world. This collection included, not only some of the most popular songs of the 80’s and 90’s, but also five new songs, recorded specially for this album. Its titles are: “Can I Touch You… There?” (the beginning of a change for Bolton, towards a purer rhythm and blues, towards more African rhythms and a more European direction), “I Found Someone” (song that years before Michael had composed for Cher). “This River”, “A Love So Beautiful” (fantastic version of the song initially performed by Roy Orbison) and “I Promise You”.
As a gift for all his fans, in 1996 Christmas Michael compiled some traditional carols –not other- together with a new song “Love Is The Power”, composed by Michael, with Diane Warren, and produced by Walter Afanasieff. This album is called “This Is The Time”. A pure luxury was the duet with Plácido Domingo: “Ave María”, included in the compilation.
November, 3rd 1997 was released in Europe (a week later than in North America)
“All That Matters”, an authentic treasure where we find a wide repertoire of
songs which express Michael’s point of view. His way of understanding life and
music. For this album he counted with genius like Lamont Dozier, Babyface or
Tony Rich. “The Best Of Love” helped him enter the charts taking good places.
The next work was “My Secret Passion”. This is a precious collection of opera arias released in February 1998. With this album Michael reached number one on Billboard Charts of Classic Music, and it continued there for seven consecutive weeks. Never a pop singer had reached such a deed. In this record we can discover his “secret passion” and his new hidden talent. Even those who are not very interested in opera will be able to appreciate the work and effort that Michael dedicated to this album.
The reason for Michael's interest in opera appeared at the end of 1995, when Luciano Pavarotti invited him to take part on an annual concert celebrated in his native town: Módena, in Italy, to raise funds. In that occasion it was for the children of Bosnia. Michael, generous par excellence, didn't doubt it, although when he was beside Pavarotti he confessed his knees were trembling. He performed two themes: “Vesti la giubba” from I Pagliacci, with Luciano, and “Nessun Dorma”, from Turandot, with all the other guests to the concert and the host. Michael also performed his song, just released then: “Can I Touch You… There?”. He had to learn the arias and to get ready to be able to sing correctly in Italian in just five days, but his performance was fabulous. Even Pavarotti declared, after their performance together, that Michael was a “bravo tenore”.
His following albums have been: “Timeless. The Classics. Vol. 2”, in 1.999, “Only A Woman Like You” in 2.002 (with Spanish, French and Italian versions of some of the hits, with Latin sound), “Vintage” in 2.003, "Til The End Of Forever" in 2.005 and "Bolton Swings Sinatra" in May, 2.006. At the end of 2006 launched "Swingin' Christmas", which was re-edited in 2007, almost with the same title: "A Swingin' Christmas" and two new songs included: "Silent Night" and "Joy To The World". On September, 21st 2009, Michael released (first in the UK) his album "One World One Love", a fantastic and optimistic lesson of good art with collaborations with Lady Gaga, The Jam or Ne-Yo. In 2011 Michael gifted us the album "Gems: The Duets Collection", which includes several collaborations with Chris Botti, Seal, Delta Goodrem, Orianthi, and many more. The production of this album (with David Foster) is simply perfect.
At the beginning of 2013, exactly the same day he celebrated his 60th anniversary (February, 26th), Michael launched his record dedicated to the Motown sound. It is titled "Ain't No Mountain High Enough. A Tribute to Hitsville USA" and there he pays compliment to the music he loves the most and that has become a fundamental part of his musical and personal roots. There are two duets, with Melanie Fiona and Kelly Rowland, and songs like "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)" or "Nowhere to Run". Besides, on January, 29th 2013 he published his official biography, titled: "The Soul Of It All, My Music, My Life".
Michael has received during the past years several honors, not only for his big success in the music, but also for his charitable labor, which he develops for different benefit causes, raising funds, for example, in the past, with his softball team “The Bolton Bombers”, now with his passion for golf. As Michael says, softball was and now golf is his second job. Both sports thrill him, and he spends part of his free time practicing golf and attending charitable events.
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