Michael Cristiano was born into a house of music. His father would pick up the guitar after dinner and play and sing songs from the famous operas, or folk songs from the Southern Italian village of his birth.
Michael started classical guitar lessons at six and hasn’t put the guitar down since. His natural gift saw him progress rapidly and by his early teens was already an accomplished musician.
He continued his studies and progressed to rock, fusion and jazz under the tuition of renowned Melbourne guitarist and teacher, Ray Smith. He then undertook further studies in composition and arrangement, even though he was writing “little songs” (as he calls them) from the day he could hold a pen.
A multi-instrumentalist, he also plays piano, drums and as he says “anything that has strings on it, except the violin.
At 14 he was already “filling in” for many dance bands on a Saturday night and usually singing the whole evening, as well as fronting his own bands and eventually building his own studio and assisting in production of many recordings.
In the mid-80s he joined the show band “Koco” playing guitar and fronting the band as its lead singer (along with various female vocalists) and this led to many engagements playing with the leading Australian and international touring acts of the day including Helen Shapiro, Johnny Ray, The Coasters, The Platters, The Drifters, Al Martino, Ricky May, Colleen Hewitt, Normie Rowe, Marcia Hines and Johnny Chester just to name a few, as well as opening for such artists as Dionne Warwick, Blood Sweat & Tears, Diana Ross and Tom Jones.
He has also worked as the musical director for Judith Durham and the Seekers, performing sell-out shows across Australia and London’s Wembley Stadium and Royal Albert Hall as well as producing albums for the group and its members as solo artists.
In the mid-90s he teamed up with country music star and close friend Donna Fisk as Fisk & Cristian, Australia’s premiere Country Music duo. Together they wrote, recorded and released three albums, spawning numerous hits and earning them a swag of industry awards, including Vocal Duo Of The Year and Album Of The Year and Artists Of The Year.
Today he performs with artists such as Joe Camilleri, Ross Wilson, Lisa Edwards, Paul Norton, Wilbur Wilde, Judith Durham, Russell Morris, Wendy Stapleton and…the list goes on.
He continues to be one of the brightest and dynamic stars of the Australian music scene, dedicating his time and unique skills to both his own projects and those of emerging artists and established veterans alike.
Michael travels from Melbourne