Pianist and composer Mike Strickland has been influenced by many styles of music and has evolved into a one-of-a-kind piano artist. Born and raised in Jackson Mississippi, he grew up listening to the great composers of that time including Henry Mancini, Vince Guaraldi, the Beatles and Burt Bacharach. His performance career started at the age of 9 when his father would encourage him to entertain dinner guests (“Alley Cat” and “Baby Elephant Walk” were the big hits back then).
After turning eighteen, he began to frequent the clubs and listened to great local blues talents including native Mississippian, B.B. King. Formal music studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston and California State University at Northridge continued to expand his musical talents.
After that, Mike moved to Montana and honed his entertaining skills in ski resorts, where his varied and spirited sets included Beatles tunes, romantic film themes, and finger-busting boogie-woogie numbers.
Mike’s next home was Seattle for 26 years where he built a solid career as a performer, composer and recording artist. He started arranging popular music and creating CDs that were a mixture of well-known melodies and some original works. His own works were varied – some lush, orchestral and cinematic, some smooth jazz, some blues and boogie flavored and others almost new age. Sales of these CDs climbed to over 350,000 and are distributed throughout the nation and digitally throughout the world.
In the last 15 years, Mike has concertized as a solo piano artist, with The Mike Strickland Duo, and with The Mike Strickland Trio. He is known for his exceptional musicianship and arrangements, his virtuosic technique, and his unmatched ability to connect with the audience on a personal level. His music outreach, mentoring programs, and master-classes are always enjoyed by up and coming artists in the communities where he concertizes. Mike’s unique and colorful programming of his concerts is always a hit with audiences. Daughter Elizabeth, a fine classical pianist, often joins him as a special guest. He enjoys showcasing other young talent as often as he can.
As a composer, Mike has always been inspired and driven by melody. He also loves to experiment with motion and texture, using the piano as his own orchestra. He has worked hard at developing his own unique style of piano artistry and has racked up some impressive achievements. In addition to his music airing for 7 seasons on CBS Sports PGA Golf, it has also been heard on the NBC, FOX and ABC networks as well as two major motion pictures. Mike’s positive message song/animation “Spread Joy” was also featured on ABC Good Morning America.
Mike continues to perform, teach, arrange, produce and record. His music is currently getting over 1.25 million spins per week on Pandora Internet Radio and he just had his choral piece “Music In My Soul” picked up by Alfred Publishing (the largest music education distributor in the world). In October 2014 Mike celebrated his 22nd CD release titled “Fantasy”.