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For as long as he can remember, Michael Cavanaugh has been
singing. Growing up outside Cleveland, Ohio, Michael recalls being shy about
singing before an audience. As young as four years of age, he would shut himself
away in the bathroom and belt out songs when he thought no one could hear him.
But his Mom heard every note and realized that her son had a special gift. With
her loving encouragement, Michael was convinced to take his act out of the
bathroom. His first “public” singing experiences were entertaining at family
Michael is the youngest of four boys. His older brothers were all musical and
played instruments. Having so much music in the house inspired Michael to want
to learn to play an instrument of his own. His earliest inclination was to take
up the drums, but his parent’s vetoed the idea citing the obvious noise factor.
They did, however, provide an alternative. When he was 7, his parents bought a
piano and Michael’s musical destiny began to unfold. It was love at first sight.
He couldn’t keep his hands off the piano. Although he had yet to have any formal
musical training, he was soon playing popular songs by ear and making up
melodies of his own. Michaels’ parents wisely decided it was time for their
youngest son to have piano lessons. A few months later, Michael was told by his
piano teacher that he had perfect pitch, a gift elusive to many of the world’s
most talented musicians.
His performing career began early. By the time Michael was 10, he had already
formed his first band. They performed “Jumping Jack Flash” on stage at the 5th
Grade talent show and from that moment on, Michael was hooked. His professional
career began at age 12 when he joined a band started by his older brother, Tom,
called “The Difference.” Throughout Michael’s teenage years, The Difference
played local nightclubs in the Cleveland area. As Michael was well under age,
his parents had to be there every night. By the time he was 16, he had already
gained a reputation as a local phenomenon.
When Michael was 18 he met the love of his life Karin. After dating for a few
years, Michael and Karin married in 1993. In 1994, Michael was offered a job in
Orlando, Florida at a piano bar called Blazing Pianos. It was an opportunity for
Michael to make a fulltime living doing what he loved best and he and Karin
packed up and made the move to Florida. In addition to Michael’s solo gig, he
performed in a unique 3-piece piano group called “Jammin Pianos.” They performed
at events for the PGA, Senior PGA, and NASCAR as well as many others. During
this period, Michael also concentrated on his own songwriting and released his
first CD of original songs. All in all Florida turned out to be a great time for
Michael. His constant performing helped him develop killer chops and an
extensive repertoire. It was also where he and Karin celebrated the birth of
their son, Matthew, born on July 20 1996.
In January 1999, Michael received an offer he couldn’t refuse – a job in Las
Vegas, performing nightly at the famed “New York New York” Hotel and Casino.
Michael performed 3 sets a night and his repertoire got stronger and stronger,
but most importantly, Michael loved performing in the intimate atmosphere of the
Michael was enjoying great success in Las Vegas, but knew that there was still
more he wanted to accomplish. Michael’s talents impressed Dean Gorden of Sunbeat
Artists, an artist manager and Michael signed a management deal with Sunbeat
Artists and things really began to take off. One of the partners in Sunbeat, Max
Loubiere also worked with Billy Joel and still does. Max brought Billy to see
Michael perform at New York, New York and, after an hour of listening, Billy was
inspired to join him on stage for a couple of songs. Michael describes this as
the highlight of his musical life.
Things really started to move quickly after that. Max introduced Michael to
Tommy Byrnes, Billy Joel’s longtime musical director and guitar player for 13
years. Tommy was in the process of assembling the band for a new musical based
on the songs of Billy Joel and was looking for a musician to front the band.
After hearing Michael, Tommy was sure he had the right guy and flew Michael to
New York to audition. The audition went very well and Michael was offered the
musical lead in what later became the smash Broadway hit, “Movin' Out.” Michael
has received wonderful reviews for his work.
Somehow, through all the major life and career changes, Michael still finds time
to work on his original material and recently recorded some of his original
songs with Grammy Award winning producer, Phil Ramone.
Michael Cavanaugh Song List (PDF Format)
Michael Cavanaugh Review 3/22/07 (PDF Format)
Michael Cavanaugh Video Clip
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