SPEECH TITLES AND/OR TOPICS
For as long as he can remember, Michael Cavanaugh has been singing. His professional career began at age 12 in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. Since then he has performed all over the US and Europe. In addition to being an accomplished entertainer, Michael has been the voice of an Emmy Award-winning kids show character, but is best known for his vocal and piano talent. Michael Cavanaugh recently released his first CD, Sounds a Lot Like Me, and has been starring in Movin' Out, the Broadway Musical, since the summer of 2002. In 2003 Michael Cavanaugh was nominated for a Tony Award for his Movin' Out performance.
Michael Cavanaugh is the youngest of four boys, with older brothers who were musicians. When he was 7, his parents bought a piano and Michael's musical destiny began to unfold. He couldn't keep his hands off the piano. Without any formal musical training, he was soon playing popular songs by ear and making up melodies of his own. Michael Cavanaughs' parents decided it was time for Michael to have piano lessons, and a few months later, his piano teacher told Michael that he had the elusive gift of perfect pitch.
By the time Michael Cavanaugh was 10, he had already formed his first band. His professional career began at age 12 when he joined a band started by his older brother, "The Difference." Throughout Michael's teenage years, The Difference played local nightclubs in the Cleveland area. (As Michael well under age, his parents had to be there every night.) By the age of 16, Michael Cavanaugh he had gained a reputation as a local musical phenomenon.
In 1994, Michael Cavanaugh 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. In addition to Michael Cavanaugh'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 Cavanaugh concentrated on his own songwriting and released his first CD of original songs.
In January 1999, Michael Cavanaugh received an offer of a job in Las Vegas, performing nightly at the famed New York New York Hotel and Casino. Michael performed three sets a night and his repertoire got stronger and stronger, but most importantly, Michael Cavanaugh loved performing in the intimate atmosphere of the club.
Michael Cavanaugh knew that there was still more he wanted to accomplish. Michael's talents impressed Dean Gorden of Sunbeat Artists, an artist manager, and when Michael signed a management deal with Sunbeat Artists, things really began to take off. One of the partners in Sunbeat, Max Loubiere, worked with Billy Joel. Max brought Billy Joel to see Michael Cavanaugh perform at New York, New York and Billy Joel was inspired to join Michael Cavanaugh on stage for a couple of songs. Michael describes this as "the highlight of his musical life."
Tommy Byrnes, Billy Joel's longtime musical director and guitar player, 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 Cavanaugh, Tommy Byrnes was sure he had the right guy. Michael's audition went very well and he was offered the musical lead in what later became the smash Broadway hit, Movin' Out. Michael Cavanaugh still finds time to work on his original material and recently recorded some of his original songs with Grammy Award-winning producer, Phil Ramone.