Recommended if You Like
Chet Baker Frank Sinatra Kenny Rankin

Genres You Will Love
Easy Listening: Crooners/Vocals Jazz: Jazz Vocals Moods: Type: Vocal Easy Listening: Adult contemporary Jazz: Cool Jazz

By Location
United States - Oregon Sell your music everywhere

Michael Winkle

“Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 60’s, I was surrounded by an incredible music scene that offered such a diversity of musical genres that on any given week end, you could see artists such as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Tower Of Power, and Miles Davis, to name a few. The Fillmore and Winterland were in their full glory, and I was fortunate to see some of the top bands of the day there. We used to go to high school dances in Oakland to see Santana, Tower Of Power, and Creedence Clearwater Revival before they hit it big. Those were some great times, I think. Well, there are a few blank spots, but I won’t go into that here.”

“Early on, I was absolutely knocked out by many of the British bands, particularly Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Animals, The Zombies, The Hollies, and of course, the Beatles. Around 1968, an older friend turned me on to a radio station broadcasting from Oakland. I think the station was KSOL or something like that. It was all soul all the time and it really grabbed my attention! I couldn’t hear enough Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Jerry Butler, the Impressions, the Drifters, Aretha Franklin, and so many others.”

“In the seventies, Stevie Wonder, Kenny Rankin, and Bobby Caldwell were the guys that I tried to emulate. Stevie Wonder for sure and Bobby Caldwell to a certain extent were soulful, Kenny Rankin was almost folk like, but with a jazzy edge, Lenny Williams, and Al Green, all were serious influences. Marvin Gaye and Donny Hathaway also really inspired me.”

“It was during the eighties that I first really listened to Frank Sinatra. It was like a revelation! Of course, I went through my Sinatra phase just like a million other singers and found out quickly that I wasn’t ever going to be Frank Sinatra. I discovered Chet Baker about 10 years ago and dubbed him the ‘Anti Sinatra’; I really love his phrasing and wonderful pitch, and also Johnny Hartman, what a sound! As far as ballad singing goes, Johnny Hartman is it for me!” “As for contemporary artists, I love Dianne Reeves, Kurt Elling, Shirley Horn and a Portland native, Rebecca Kilgore, who I think is as good as anyone. There is another great singer in Portland, Shirley Nannete, whom I really like too!”

“After nearly 20 years of performing, I think I’ve found my own voice and style that is really just a synthesis of everything that I’ve listened to and loved. Some vocalists are fortunate enough to discover who they are early in their careers, and by pass the stage of trying to imitate others. It has taken me a number of years to develop the confidence to present myself as an artist, and not just another ‘band guy’ trying to get over with someone else’s sound.”

I recently recorded my second CD which draws heavily on some of my really early influences, as well a few of my favorite standards. I have done quite a bit of club work here in Portland and love that! I really enjoy the intimacy with a small audience. A highlight would be my trip to Japan where I performed a couple of dates at a little club in Gifu. The Mamo Club has hosted some jazz greats including Ray Brown, Herb Ellis, Sonny Stitt, and recently Nicholas Peyton. It was a truly remarkable experience that I will always cherish! We were treated like royalty and the performances were well attended. I am having the time of my life as a performer, and feel as though the best is yet to come!”