Pianist and composer Mike Strickland presents a hybrid of jazz and popular music. Born and raised in Jackson Mississippi, he grew up listening to 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). Mike discovered his love for the Great American Songbook (Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and Duke Ellington) while singing in musicals and school choirs. 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.
It was during this time Mike started composing and arranging his own original music. Mike developed his unique performance style playing in ski resorts, where his eclectic sets might include Beatles tunes, romantic Film themes, and piano-busting boogie-woogie numbers.
Residing in Seattle, Washington since 1981, Mike has built a solid career as a performer, composer, arranger and recording artist. In 1987, he formed Mike Strickland Productions, Inc. and recorded “Floating”, his first album of original music. This upbeat, creative album attracted the attention of CBS Sports PGA Golf producer, Frank Chirkinian, and Mike continued to write music for CBS Sports PGA Golf telecasts for the next 7 years.
In the last 20 years, Mike has performed extensively all over the United States as a solo artist and with various groups. To date, he has recorded 20 albums on his own label including his new 2007 release “Have Yourself a Jazzy Little Christmas” and currently tours as a soloist, with The Mike Strickland Trio, and with his 15 year old daughter, Elizabeth, a fine classical pianist. He has sold over 300,000 CDs in the USA alone.
Mike’s all original solo piano CD “Touch The Sky” won the Just Plain Folks Music Award for Best Solo Piano Album of 2006. His piano composition “Dream Waltz” was used in the PBS production of “America’s Ballroom Challenge” finals. Mike’s recordings have aired nationally on radio and television programs and his music is broadcast through Muzak and DMX Music via satellite to 40,000 businesses internationally. His work has been distributed commercially throughout the USA, including gift and specialty store markets such as DisneyWorld gift properties, Hallmark stores and The Sharper Image.