Estella Benedetti & Michael G.
Blues, rock, folk and Americana sung with an unmistakable voice and combined with virtuoso guitar playing, a unique sound and international credentials – this is what Estella Benedetti & Michael G are all about.
Even John J.R. Robinson (Michael Jackson), Neil Stubenhaus (Joe Cocker) and Randy Kerber (Ray Charles) insisted on recording an album in LA with the exceptional Swiss vocalist and the professional guitarist. “THAT WAS SMOKIN” is the actual name of the title, which includes a combination of both songs they wrote themselves and their own take on some originals.
Estella’s first love was the drums, which her father – an accomplished jazz drummer – taught her to play at the tender age of 8. She was also fascinated by the piano until her singing talents were discovered on a tour with a gospel choir. Her curiosity led her to classical music, in which she learned a strong classical vocal technique through German songs and Italian arias. Training at the Conservatoire and the Academy of contemporary music shortly followed.
Through various bands, Estella matured into a high-caliber, memorable singer; she attracted her first students and taught as part of the “Female Funk Project” in Zurich. Two years later, Estella founded her own voice studio in Lucerne, which she has been successfully managing ever since. Despite the heavy workload her teaching demands, Estella still found the time to continue her career as an active musician. She even managed to cram in some time to train to be a qualified singing teacher (SMPV), achieving top marks in singing.
Following a number of projects, the time was ripe to embark upon the “Estella Benedetti Band” project. Together with her guitarist Michael Giger, she wrote the album “Naked Soul,” a fusion of soul, Americana and blues. This was followed by appearances at Festival da Jazz in St. Moritz, Voices on top and as a support act for Maceo Parker. Together with producer Urs Wiesendanger (including DJ Bobo), an exceptionally gifted musician with a golden ear, she recorded the single “Returning Back Home“. The drumming in the ballad was performed by John J.R. Robinson, the legendary house drummer from Quincy Jones.
He approached Estella with an offer to work together again, as he really liked the track. Who could pass up an opportunity like that? And performing live as well, just like the good old days! So armed with their songs and guitar, Estella and Michael headed to L.A. where they soon started recording their new album in Hollywood with John JR Robinson (Chaka Khan), Neil Stubenhaus (Elton John) and Randy Kerber.
Growing up in the eighties, young Michael traded in his classical guitar for an electric guitar quite early on so he could follow in the footsteps of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Hendrix and Al di Meola. He didn’t have to wait long to achieve success with his instrument and even gained stature as a songwriter for the rock band Infinite Dreams.
The young band soon landed its first record deal and recorded the album “Touch my skin” for a German label, opening the door to the rock world. Michael had a real love for jazz though and, fascinated by George Benson, Pat Martino and Wes Montgomery, trained at the Lucerne School of Music, where he was taught by Kurt Rosenwinkel and Christy Doran. As a music director, teacher and active musician, he’s been on the Swiss music scene ever since.
Over the past few years he has also developed a real passion for the steel-string acoustic guitar (western guitar), traditionally typical of American music (delta blues, ragtime, folk, bluegrass and country). With its sharp sound, hot rhythm and virtuoso solos, the Texas blues also has its place in Michael’s electric guitar playing, as does sentimental sheet music with subtle phrasing. He owes the rich diversity of his harmonies and love for spontaneity to his jazz training.
As a songwriter and singer, he found inspiration in Bob Dylan, classic blues and the Great American Songbook. As a guitarist, Michael has already appeared on stage with the likes of Kirk Fletcher, Bob Stroger and Joseph Bowie. With Estella Benedetti, he brings together both a personal and artistic long-term partnership. The pair wrote the album “Naked Soul” together in 2010.
Style of music: Blues, rock, pop
Released on NiRo Sounds:
Promotion: Claudia Boggio das office