Saturday, June 26, 2021


June 14, 2021
Trippin N Rhythm Records

After two decades of non-stop hit making as a writer/producer for R&B/jazz legends and smooth jazz icons and upstarts, multi-talented veteran keyboardist/composer Michael Broening is ready to “Shine a Light” on a more personal side of his artistry with the highly anticipated release of his debut single as an artist on June 14.

Showcasing his vibrant acoustic piano over a hipster pocket groove and colorful synth textures, “Shine a Light” – featuring bassist Mel Brown and the song’s co-writer, rhythm guitarist Thano Sahnas - offers a master class in picture perfect elegantly played adventurous urban jazz/funk, laying the foundation for not only Broening’s upcoming debut smooth jazz album but a dynamic new chapter in his illustrious, multi-faceted career.

Since 2006, Broening has scored 11 #1 airplay hits, including the Grammy-winning “Mornin’” with George Benson and Al Jarreau, four with Cindy Bradley and others for Althea Rene, Lin Rountree, Kayla Waters and Randy Scott. He has also written or co-written and produced hits for saxophonists Marion Meadows, Michael Lington and Lebron, guitarists Tim Bowman and Steve Oliver, keyboardist Brian Simpson and vocalist and labelmate Catie Waters.

Over the years, Broening penned numerous songs he felt would sound great with a piano lead but wouldn’t be quite right for the vibes of his other artists. After years of keeping crazy-busy in the service of other artists, with the encouragement of Jeff Lunt and Les Cutmore of Trippin ‘N’ Rhythm, he felt now was the time to develop some of these tracks and launch his long in the making solo career.

“I think part of the reason I’ve lasted so long working behind the scenes is that I always felt that I was happy in that role and never felt like I was missing anything,” says Broening, whose journey in instrumental music began by forming the popular rock-jazz band Turning Point with Sahnas and Sahnas’ brother Demitri in the early 90s right after graduating from Arizona State University.

“When I’d hear a song I wrote and produced for one of my artists on Watercolors or saw that someone had hit #1, I shared in the joy of that achievement, but for a long time didn’t have the yearning for being out in front and having my name be better known by fans of this music. I suppose along the way, when I was with Turning Point or working early on with Marion that I would one day become a solo artist, but I got so caught up in the cycle of writing a song and giving it to other artists that I set those thoughts aside for a long time. I joke that up till now I’ve been the 40-year-old virgin of smooth jazz – it just never happened!”

Broening cites Randy Scott’s #1 Billboard chart success with “Joyride,” the track he produced in 2020 for the veteran saxophonist, as further inspiration for his decision to focus on a solo project. “I’m really proud of the work I did with Randy,” he says. “He’s been dedicating his passion for this for a long time, and then out of the blue he’s got a huge hit that everyone’s listening to and talking about. You never know where the next hit’s coming from. If you’ve got a melody you can’t get out of your head, that’s where the magic is.”