MICHAEL HEYMAN was born in Galveston, Texas and raised in Houston. He grew up listening primarily to his parents' collection of classical and opera music. His first instrument was the violin, which he began playing at the age of eight.
Having been introduced by a babysitter at an early age to records by Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, the Beatles and the Beach Boys, Michael soon discovered artists such as Buddy Holly, Gene Vincent, the Animals, the Yardbirds, the Who, the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. However, it was when he heard “Fresh Cream” for the first time that Michael decided that what he really wanted to do was play the guitar.
He got his first guitar â€" a steel string acoustic with painfully high action â€" together with a Mel Bay instruction book and pitch pipe when he was eleven.
Determined to learn the instrument, Michael taught himself a few chords and started taking guitar lessons at the age of twelve. Although his initial repertoire consisted mainly of songs by artists such as Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul & Mary and Simon & Garfunkel, he was enamored with the heavier side of rock music and set his sights on acquiring an electric guitar. He eventually purchased a Gibson Melody Maker and Harmony amp from a family friend and joined his first band, the Optical Illusion, featuring future Houston television news celebrity Wayne Dolcefino on drums.
Within a year, he completely immersed himself in music and began learning how to play electric lead guitar. Before long, his playing had achieved a maturity well beyond most of his peers. Perhaps more than anything else, it was this seminal period of woodshedding that determined the course Michael would later take with his life and music.
A turning point happened several years later when an older neighborhood friend introduced him to “Layla and other Assorted Love Songs” by Derek & the Dominos as well as recordings by Jimi Hendrix and blues artists such as Robert Johnson, B.B. King, Freddie King, Otis Rush, T-Bone-Walker, Muddy Waters, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Magic Sam, Memphis Slim, John Mayall and Fleetwood Mac. It is in these recordings that the foundation of his style was laid.
After graduating from high school, Michael traveled to Europe where he had the opportunity to play with musicians in England and Denmark. Inspired by the deep love of the blues he found on the part of these European musicians, Michael began to focus more on the blues. This led to the formation in 1980 of the Blues Union with bassist Calvin Hall (Carolyn Wonderland, Hightailers) , Patrick Forster and Jay Landry. The group appeared in concert with artists such as the Cobras and Lou Ann Barton and released an LP that year on the small Houston label Lunar # 2 Records. Due to artistic differences among the members, the Blues Union disbanded in late 1981.
Following numerous musical projects on and off the road, Michael decided to step up front in 1983 with the Michael Heyman Group - a blues trio that sometimes featured jazz saxophonist Bruce Harrison. This outfit featured Bob Armour (Dave Nevling) on drums with Calvin Hall and later Myron King followed by Little Screamin’ Kenny on bass. In fact, Michael played guitar in Kenny’s band while Kenny played bass for him â€" a cooperative arrangement that served both well in 1984-86. A highlight during this time was his association with noted British musicians Ronnie Lane and Ian McLagan of the Faces for the highly successful “RONNIE LANE APPEAL FOR A.R.M.S.” concert in 1985. Later that year, Michael also had the honor of participating in an all-star jazz/blues concert with legendary saxophonist Arnett Cobb. It was during this time that he began to be recognized as an up and coming guitarist in his own right.
Following excursions into pop and arena rock, Michael returned from the road in 1986 to front a power trio called Nick Young & the Powerhouse. With Calvin Hall again on bass and Angelo Giovanni (né Hernandez) on drums, Nick Young & the Powerhouse earned a reputation in both blues and rock circles as an exciting and dynamic blues-rock ensemble in the long Texas tradition of guitarists fronting blues trios. This was largely the result of concerts with artists such as Buddy Guy and Junior Wells, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers with Mick Taylor (and later with Coco Montoya and Walter Trout), Albert Collins, James Cotton, Eric Burdon, Alvin Lee, Leslie West, Pat Travers, Nils Lofgren, Nick Lowe, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Omar & the Howlers and Marcia Ball. Nick Young & the Powerhouse were in fact the only blues act in Houston to have successfully crossed over to hard rock and metal venues during that time. Other highlights of this period were the band's association with blues great Joe "Guitar" Hughes as his back-up band in 1986 and being selected to represent Texas rhythm & blues at the Willie Nelson/Wrangler Jeans Invitational in Austin, Texas.
In 1987, Michael returned to Europe, where he spent 14 months performing with an ensemble that often featured drummer Colin Allen, known for his work with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Bob Dylan and Rod Stewart, as well as members of Sweden's premier blues/rock act Sky High. Michael also often played guitar with American blues artist Big Walker. Upon returning to the United States in 1988, he retired from performing to spend time with his family.
In late 2003, Michael unexpectedly found his heart leading him back into music with a passion that he thought was long dead. An extended period of soul searching followed, during which time he discovered a new depth in his playing, singing and writing. He resumed songwriting and returned to the stage in 2004 fronting a series of blues outfits that often featured a horn section, keys and double bass. With the intention of recording a demo of new and earlier material, he purchased a block of studio time in February 2004. It was not until eight months later in October 2004, however, that he felt confident enough to begin recording. What began as a demo session quickly developed into the sessions for "Heart Full of Blues."
Produced by Rock Romano, "Heart Full of Blues" features eight original songs as well as covers of "Three Hours Past Midnight" by Johnny “Guitar” Watson, "My Sweet Little Honey Dripper" by Jimmy “T-99” Nelson and the instrumental guitar showcase "Steppin' Out" by James Bracken. In addition to guitar artistry reminiscent of the early work of T-Bone Walker, B.B. King, Freddie King, Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton and Mick Taylor, the CD features guest performances by internationally acclaimed harmonica virtuoso Sonny Boy Terry, Houston's First Lady of Soul Trudy Lynn and the incomparable Tommie Lee Bradley.
Since the release of "Heart Full of Blues" in June 2005, the passion and artistry of Michael's playing has attracted the attention of blues afficiandos both in the United States and around the world.