Artist Spotlight: Michael Powers

Seattle guitarist Michael Powers’ career began as the result of an accident. At fifteen, a skateboarding mishap left him with a broken wrist. While recuperating, he saw a documentary about Jimi Hendrix. He thought he would love to play the guitar and his doctor agreed it would be excellent therapy.

Initially inspired by Hendrix, Powers was also influenced by B.B. King, Carlos Santana, George Benson, and Lee Ritenour. He “worked on being a chameleon musically,’ being able to pick up a lot of styles and emulate them.”

His debut album was released in 1988. With his distinctive guitar and the unique sounds that are created, he has toured all over the world.

How do you measure success?

I think success is really a function of being able to live your life well, being creative, and being a contributor to society. I don’t necessarily measure that in monetary terms.

I had an experience where a woman came to me at one of my shows and said, “I just wanted to thank you. I was in Harborview at the Trauma Center when you and your group came to play. They brought out all the patients, some in traction, some in comas. I was in a coma and they didn’t have a lot of hope that I would recover, but just a day or two after hearing your concert, I woke up and they said it was because of musical stimulation.” What else can you ask for if you can make that kind of an impact on somebody and touch their lives in a positive way?

Who do you admire most?

Bobby McFerrin as a musical artist because he can really do anything, genre-wise. He can emulate instruments with his voice. It’s funny because, on the other side, I’m doing everything I can to make my guitar resemble a voice. I’m a mirror image. He’s someone I really look up to.

Tell me about your new CD

It’s coming out in the beginning of June and it’s called “Soul Man”. It’s a collection of soul classics done in my style, in an instrumental style, a really nice combination of tunes. I’m really excited about it.

For information about performances and purchasing CDs, please go to

Janae Colombini