When Micki Free picked up the guitar for the first time as a young teenager after seeing Jimi Hendrix play live in Germany, he set a multi-faceted course with musical destiny that would alternately embrace and conquer the distinct worlds of rock and roll, pop/R&B and – drawing inspiration from his heritage as a mixed blood Cherokee/Comanche - Native American flute music. Over the past four decades, the GRAMMY® Award winner and five-time Native American Music Award winner’s eclectic muse has inspired him to find an artful cultural balance between the rock world and new age music as a renowned guitarist and flutist.
Discovered by Gene Simmons when his Illinois based band Smokehouse opened for KISS, Ted Nugent and REO Speedwagon, Free joined funk-soul group Shalamar in 1984, the year they reached the Top 20 with “Dancing In The Sheets” from the Footloose soundtrack; the following year, they won a Grammy (Best Album of an Original Score Written For a Motion Picture) for “Don’t Get Stopped in Beverly Hills,” from the multi-platinum Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack.
After an eight-year run with Shalamar, Free hooked up with Jean Beauvoir and formed Crown of Thorns, which was managed by Amazing Management (Simmons and fellow KISS member Paul Stanley). Launching his solo career in the early 2000s, he earned recognition from the Native American Music Awards, where he won Top Male Artist (2002) and Pop Rock Artist (2004). In 2002, Free created the Micki Free Electric Blues Experience and also worked with LA & Babyface, Queen's Roger Taylor, Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin, and others.
Over the years, Free has performed and/or recorded with Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones, Diana Ross (who also managed his career), Janet Jackson, Little Steven Van Zandt (Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band), Prince, Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Carlos Santana, Cindy Blackman-Santana, Cheap Trick, Sam Moore (Sam & Dave), and many others. In 2004, the Seminole Tribe purchased Hard Rock Café International and invited him to be a worldwide ambassador and Director of Promotions and special events. Free appeared each year from 2007-2010 at the massive Hard Rock Calling Festival in London’s Hyde Park in front of 100,000 fans.
Free also became known to a younger audience in 2004, when his manner of dress and appearance during the late ’80s (and that of Prince) was parodied by Dave Chappelle in his Chappelle’s Show sketch “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories: Prince: Uncensored.” The skit is included in many “Top 10 Best” comedy lists, and according to BILLBOARD (4/25/16) it was viewed over 600,000 within days of Prince’s passing, generating new interest in the long-term friendship between Free and Prince.
Currently, Free is focused on a new recording, The Native American Flute as Therapy, set for release on the Mysterium Music label in October 2016. The collection will feature among its spiritually-uplifting song titles “Candle Light,” “Scented Oil,” “Positive Energy” and “Pressure Points.” He recorded “The Lavender Touch” on the day Prince passed away, and renamed it “Lavender Kiss” as a lament for his friend, in the legend’s honor. The album also contains a soulful Native American flute cover of Neil Young's hit "Down by The River" re-mixed by Niko Bolas, long-time producer for Neil Young.
This new project is the latest addition to an instrumental music catalog that includes The Sun Chase, Free’s first love song flute CD written about his trials, hopes and loves through his travels on Native American Flutes; Sedona Free, written about the “sacred spiritual red earth” and Native American ancestors/peoples of Sedona, Arizona; and Comanche, which he dedicated to his family and the Comanche tribe.
Find more info at www.mickifreenativeamericanflute.com