Michael Winkle

Michael WinkleGrowing up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 60’s, Michael Winkle was surrounded by an incredible music scene that offered such a diversity of musical genres that on any given weekend, one could see artists such as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Tower Of Power, and Miles Davis, to name a few. Early on, he 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 him on to a radio station broadcasting from Oakland.
He thinks the station was KSOL or something like that. It was all soul all the time and it just turned him inside out! He 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 he 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, and Lenny Williams singing ‘SoulMichael Winkle Vaccination’, so smooth! Al Green and Donny Hathaway were a couple of other singers that really impacted him.
It was during the 80’s that he first really listened to Frank Sinatra. It was like a revelation! Michael had heard all those songs before, but hadn’t really paid attention. Of course, he went through his Sinatra phase just like a million other singers, and found out quickly that he wasn’t ever going to be Frank Sinatra. Michael discovered Chet Baker about 15 years ago and dubbed him the ‘Anti Sinatra’; He really loves his phrasing, wonderful pitch and the horn like quality of his voice. Another singer that he really enjoys is Johnny Hartman. As far as ballad singing goes, Johnny Hartman is it! As for contemporary artists he is a huge fan of Dianne Reeves, Kurt Elling, Shirley Horn and a Portland native, Rebecca Kilgore, who he thinks is as good as anyone! Portland is blessed with many amazing vocalists and to be mentioned in the same breath as some of them is humbling!
After nearly 30 years of performing with his dance band, Pressure Point, playing cover tunes and performing for private events, he started to find his own voice and style. That is really just a synthesis of Woodbridgeeverything that he’s listened to and loved. Some vocalists are fortunate enough to discover who they are early in their careers, and bypass the stage of trying to imitate others. It took him many years to develop the confidence to present himself as an artist and not just another “band guy” trying to get over with someone else’s sound. Michael plans to continue to record and performs for as long as humanly possible. He has been fortunate to perform in many of the clubs here in Portland and enjoys the heck out of that!
He would love to tour a bit away from his home base and sees how the “act” plays outside of his comfort zone of familiar faces and places.

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