In 1988 Michael Hakes met one of his idols, Buzzy Feiten. He began studying with Buzzy in the spring of '88. After two lessons with him, Michael got a call from Brenda Russell's management. They said that Buzzy had decided not to do her tour and had recommended him. He spent his first summer tour playing with Brenda warming up for Billy Ocean coast to coast. While with Brenda, he was featured in her video "Get Here". He continued to work with Brenda until the end of '88. Having been recommended by Buzzy the first time around, Michael was keen to prove that he could earn his next position. In March of 1989 he got his chance. He auditioned for Natalie Cole and was hired. He went into rehearsal that same night. He remained a member of her pop band until the spring 1991 when her big band album "Unforgettable" was released and the 'pop band' was disbanded As a guitarist, sideman, band leader, and composer, Michael Hakes has worked with some of the most talented and successful musicians and artists in the music industry. His touring and recording work with artists like Natalie Cole, Brenda Russell, Cher, Nancy Sinatra, Keiko Matsui, Carl Anderson, The Pointer Sisters, Joshua Kadison, Nia Peeples and Dan Siegel has made him well known among his peers and as a versatile and talented musician. Michael decided early on that music was to be his path. Michael is proficient in many different styles of music and is a sought after studio musician.
Michael Hakes is the latest addition to the Edgar Winter Band. Joining on with the group for the 2002 Tour...Michael has a list of impressive credits as long as your arm! Edgar was looking for someone that would add a funky, jazz sound to his band in support of his upcoming CD, Jazzin' The Blues, expected to be released in spring/summer of 2002. When he learned of Michael and gave him a try at the end of the 2001 New Millenium Tour, that was all it took! Edgar speaks highly of Michael's skills, and of his versatility in musical stylings. Michael will also be a featured musician on the Jazzin' The Blues project, on which Edgar felt he did an outstanding job! Michael's ability to play with an emotional connection in all styles of music is what he prides himself in most. Michael has also lent his talents as a guitarist to many television shows such as 'Melrose Place', 'Roger Ebert at the Movies', 'Ellen', 'The George Carlin Show', 'Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman', 'Battledome' and the cartoons 'Cow and Chicken' and 'Johnny Bravo' ...to name a few. As a composer Michael has written music for television and film. These include 'Mystic Pizza' , 'Police Academy 5' , and 'Josie And The Pussycats (The Movie)'. Michael has also produced music for 'Lizzie Maguire' on the Disney Channel. He's also released a solo project CD, El Nino, which features EW Band road manager Paul Slagle on bass. Being a huge fan of Nat King Cole himself, Edgar was particularly thrilled with Michael's past works with Natalie Cole. He felt it gave him a sort of connection with his late great mentor.