GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter Michael Bolton recently participated in an installment of the GRAMMY Museum's An Evening With series. Before an intimate audience at the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, Bolton discussed the secrets behind some of Motown's greatest hits and his latest album, Ain't No Mountain High Enough: A Tribute To Hitsville U.S.A., among other topics. Bolton also performed the Motown classic "Ain't Nothin Like The Real Thing" with Melanie Fiona and his GRAMMY-winning hit "When A Man Loves A Woman."
"There are some tricks, there's some magic that happened in the [Motown] studio that wasn't the studio, it was the individuals and their love and their passion for what they do," said Bolton. "[Motown] created the rules for us and they broke their own rules as well with arrangements."
Born Michael Bolotin in New Haven, Conn., Bolton fronted rock band Blackjack before changing his last name and signing with Columbia Records as a solo artist in 1983. That year his self-titled album peaked at No. 89 on the Billboard 200, but Bolton would take a more R&B- and pop-based approach on subsequent albums, releasing 1987's The Hunger and 1989's Soul Provider. The latter peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 on the strength of the No. 1 hit "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You," and earned Bolton his first career GRAMMY for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male.
In 1991 Bolton released his biggest seller, the eight-times platinum Time, Love & Tenderness, and earned his second GRAMMY for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male for "When A Man Loves A Woman." Bolton scored three more hit albums with Timeless: The Classics (No. 1, 1992), The One Thing (No. 3, 1993) and Greatest Hits 1985–1995 (No. 5, 1995), and picked up a Best Male Pop Vocal Performance GRAMMY nomination for 1994's "Said I Loved You...But I Lied." His subsequent projects include holiday and tribute albums, and collaborations with artists such as comedic trio the Lonely Island, with whom he recorded the viral hit "Jack Sparrow" in 2011.
Released in February Ain't No Mountain High Enough: A Tribute To Hitsville U.S.A. features the new track "Gotta Keep Dreamin" and covers of nine Motown classics such as "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing," featuring GRAMMY winners Kelly Rowland and Fiona, respectively, and "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)." Bolton is currently in the midst of an international tour with dates scheduled through August.
Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include An Evening With Hal Willner (April 10).