@ Pigeon Island, St. Lucia Jazz Festival
9 May 2008
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Michael Bolton has sold more than 53 million records, won multiple
Grammy trophies for Best Male Vocalist and countless other honours,
earned a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame and sold out arenas
worldwide. He has sung with Luciano Pavarotti and Ray Charles. He
has written songs for Joe Cocker, Marc Anthony, Kenny G, Peabo Bryson,
Greg Allman, Wynonna Judd and many others. Bolton has written songs
with Bob Dylan, penned hits for Barbra Streisand and KISS, played
guitar with B.B. King and been sampled on a track by hip-hop superstar
Kanye West. He has also collaborated with such hit makers as Diane
Warren, Robert John “Mutt” Lange, Desmond Child and
Babyface. Over the years, he has earned multiple honours in this
field, including BMI’s Songwriter of the Year, Song of the
Year and Million-Air awards, ASCAP’s Writer and Publisher
Awards and a Hitmaker Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
“I got to watch fans lift their lighters to KISS’
last big hit, ‘Forever,’ which I wrote with Paul Stanley,”
Bolton relates with satisfaction.
As well as his musical interests, Bolton is an activist for women’s
rights worldwide. Through MBC, Bolton has also been deeply involved
in, among many other campaigns, the struggle to raise awareness
about domestic violence. To that end, he served as executive producer
for the Lifetime Network’s documentary Terror at Home: Domestic
Violence in America, for which he wrote and recorded the song “Tears
of the Angels,” which was nominated for an Emmy Award, as
in all of his endeavours, Michael Bolton combines heart, soul and
hard work to make a difference in people’s lives.
Through the Michael Bolton Charities organisation, which he founded
in 1993, he created a United Negro College Fund scholarship, as
well as a music class for the Harlem Boys and Girls Choir, who joined
him in singing Bill Withers’ classic “Lean on Me”
during a post-9/11 tribute to fire-fighters and police at Yankee
Stadium. On a more personal level, his work as a Democratic political
activist cultivated in Bolton a spiritual kinship with the burgeoning
Civil Rights Movement. “One thing I grew up with was this:
Don’t ever judge people based on their ethnicity or background,”
“Martin Luther King, Jr., was a heroic figure in our
house. Many years later I met the late Coretta Scott King, and we
became friends. When she invited me to sing to her at the Recording
Academy’s Heroes Awards earlier this year, I thought about
what a rock she was for him, standing behind him through all these
historic, dangerous times, and that’s what inspired me to
write ‘The Courage in Your Eyes.”
Though patrons appeared to enjoy Bolton’s performance, many
made it clear that this was not actually the case after the event.
Many individuals questioned his choice of material, and felt his
performance overall was somewhat ‘detached’.
Personally I felt that Bolton used this stage to promote his heavily
criticised “Bolton Swings Sinatra” album. Or perhaps
he was just desperate to prove there was more to him than “Sitting
at the Dock Of the Bay” and “To Love Somebody”.
Bolton also had more wardrobe changes than Elton John and Liberace
put together. He seemed reluctant to physically touch members of
the audience who reached out to him. Even when he did eventually
shake a hand or two, it seemed to be a strategic affair.
However, despite the above criticisms I did enjoy Bolton’s
performance overall. I just believe Bolton needed to loosen up a
bit. After all this was the glorious Caribbean, not the stiff
military confines of the Barbican, or the Royal Festival Hall in
© Michael Valentine Studio Ltd.